Your Guide to Phoenix Lights Festival 2019

Attendees of last year's Phoenix Lights festival.
Attendees of last year's Phoenix Lights festival. Benjamin Leatherman
When Phoenix Lights first appeared some years ago, it was a monumental occurrence that had a significant impact on local culture — and we're not just referring to now-legendary UFO sighting that occurred over Arizona back in 1997.

Since its first go in 2015, the Phoenix Lights festival has helped give the Valley’s electronic dance music scene a signature event to call it's own. The annual EDM extravaganza returns for its fifth edition this weekend and is just as colorful and otherworldly as ever. The two-day event takes place on Friday, April 5, and Saturday, April 6, at The Park at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler and will offer more than 50 different DJs and EDM artists doing their thing on four different stages.

Want to know what’s in store for this year's Phoenix Lights? Check out the following guide to the event, which includes ticket details, how to get there, and info on where to party both before and after the festival.

When and where is the festival? Phoenix Lights 2019 will take place on Friday, April 5, and Saturday, April 6, at The Park at Wild Horse Pass, which is located at 48th Street and Wild Horse Pass Road in Chandler. The festival runs from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. each night.

How much does it cost? General admission is $99 per day, $169 for the weekend. VIP tickets (which include express entry, access to exclusive lounges and viewing decks, and a souvenir lanyard and badge) are $159 each day or $269 for the entire festival.

Platinum VIP packages are $399 per day and $649 for the whole festival and include all the aforementioned perks, as well as a steakhouse dinner, exclusive gift bag, onstage viewing, and access to the artist hospitality lounge and a festival concierge. (Complete details can be found here.)

Are their wristbands? Yes. Every Phoenix Lights attendee will be issued one and you’ll be required to wear it at all times. (Click here to activate yours.) An RFID tag that's attached to each wristband will be scanned upon entry and is the only thing you can use to purchase stuff at the festival since Phoenix Lights is a cashless event. Don’t worry, it won’t be used to help any aliens track or abduct you.

click to enlarge One of the stages at last year's Phoenix Lights festival. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
One of the stages at last year's Phoenix Lights festival.
Benjamin Leatherman
Are there age limits? Affirmative. The festival is limited to those humans who are 18 and older. You’ll also have to be at least 21 to consume alcohol, including Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters.

How do I get there? Simple. Take Interstate 10 to either Exit 162 for Wild Horse Pass Boulevard or Exit 164 for Queen Creek Road. (Electronic freeway signs may also point you to a specific exit, depending on traffic conditions.) Drive west from there and follow the signs that will direct you to where to park.

How much is it to park? It will run you $10 per vehicle to park each day. If you’d like to get as close to the entrance as possible, premium parking is $30 per vehicle. You can pay for either option with cash or cards.

Are there shuttle buses to the festival? Yes. Party buses will offer round-trip rides from Zuma Grill, 605 South Mill Avenue in Tempe, to the festival each night. There will be pre-parties at Zuma from 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday with buses leaving at 6 p.m. Return rides will depart immediately following the final DJs each night. Fares are $25 each day or $40 for the weekend. (Group rates are also available for parties of three or more people.) Click here for full details and to purchase rides.

Weather: It will be relatively nice both nights with partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 70s and high 60s throughout the evening. Be sure to dress appropriately and hydrate often.

Where can I pick up my tickets? It depends. People purchasing hard tickets or needing will call pickups can go to the off-site box office location at Phoenix Premium Outlets, 4676 Premium Outlets Way in Chandler. (Note: This doesn't apply to those on the guest list or folks with platinum VIP, tables, or Verve pickup.) The space will be available from Thursday, April 4, through Sunday, April 6, and is located at the West Entrance Adidas and Group Arrivals. According to Phoenix Lights' promoters, it's best to park in the "B" lot.

An on-site box office will also be located in the southeast corner of the park (see below).

Courtesy of Relentless Beats
What will be getting inside be like? On par with other Relentless Beats-promoted EDM festivals. Have your ID handy, since you'll need it to get your tickets and wristband. Security will perform pat-downs and bag checks on everyone. Keep in mind, however, there's no re-entry.

What’s the schedule like? It’s going to be busy from open until close, basicaPerformancesances start immediately after gates open at 5 p.m. each night and go up until 2 a.m. Four different stages will be located around the park and are appropriately inspired by aliens and sci-fi (Mothership, Invasion, The Colony, and Fallout). Check out the complete lineup and schedule here.

Will there be food and drinks available? Of course. Various vendors, concession stands, and food trucks will all have eats and soft drinks for sale. If you're 21 or older, there will be multiple bars with adult beverages.

Where can I get water? A free refill station will be available next to the Ranger Station, which is located near The Colony stage. Vendors will also have bottled water available for purchase. Plastic and aluminum bottles and Camelbak-style water bladders are allowed, provided that they're all empty upon entry.

Will there be more than just music at Phoenix Lights? Yes. Several alien-like art displays will be set up throughout the park, including a crashed foo fighter that resembles the famed spacecraft from the Phoenix Lights incident. Walter Productions will also have its UFO-like art car Mona Lisa, which emits jets of flames are regular intervals, at the event.

click to enlarge Strange beings of all types will be at Phoenix Lights. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Strange beings of all types will be at Phoenix Lights.
Benjamin Leatherman
What should I bring? A government-issued ID, as well as a fully charged cellphone, friendly vibes, glow toys, colorful outfits, and kandi. And don’t forget a hat or other sun protection, since it's Arizona and all. You can also bring your awesome totems, but only if they are made from lightweight materials and no bigger than 10 feet in height.

What shouldn't I bring? Any sort of drama or a disruptive attitude. Ditto for drugs, weapons, fireworks, anti-gravity devices, eyedrops, large bags, or anal probes. And as with any concert, forget about bringing any sort of laser device, especially if it's a disruptor cannon.

Are there any pre-parties? El Hefe, 640 South Mill Avenue in Tempe, will host a “Phoenix Lights Sightings” party from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Thursday, April 4. MakJ will be in the mix and admission is free before 11 p.m. if you RSVP online. Details can be found here.

Are there going to be after-parties, too? Two of ‘em, actually. Scottsdale’s Pretty Please Lounge, 4426 North Saddlebag Trail, will be the site of the “Supernova After-Party” on Friday night. Doors open at 9 p.m. and admission is $15. Dirtybird Records founder Claude VonStroke will headline the second night’s after-party on Saturday night/Sunday morning at Rawhide Event Center, which is across the street from Phoenix Lights. The party goes from 1 to 4 a.m. and tickets are $35.
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.