The EDM-focused Sahara tent is twice as tall this year, and much wider and longer too. It's now roughly the size of an airplane hanger. The arched mega-tent is not just a dubstep paradise, but a behemoth of truss and LED panels. The visuals are otherworldly, with kaleidoscopic light and graphic displays built on thousands of precisely orchestrated lasers, strobe lights and ADD graphics. They flash on the hexagonal visual displays hanging over the crowd and comprise a pyramid-shaped structure around the stage.
Forget the music -- the visuals are a show onto themselves, something akin to a lazer light show combined with an IMAX film combined with whatever ODB was smoking. We talked with the dude behind it, and we've got video and more pictures below if you're in the mood for some Sahara tent porn.
During Moby's set
Sahara 2013 was designed and built by AG Lighting and Sound with visual elements (lights! videos! lasers!) implemented by Los Angeles' V Squared Labs, the crew behind blow-your-mind projects including Amon Tobin's ISAM. With a big bump in the amount of LED surface on which to play this year, V Squared executed visuals productions of their own (Moby, Dillon Francis) as well as those from other crews.
Vello Virkhaus at work directing video
"It's increasing the entertainment value for the fans because they expect more," says V Squared's Vello Virkhaus, the Video Director of the Sahara for the past three years. (Virkhaus VJs his light and sound shows live same way the DJs do). "This year's Sahara tent is a sign of the popularity of dance music, and it's going to continue to get bigger."
The Sahara has been packed to the edges nightly with writhing spirithood-sporting bros and ladies who have come to pay homage to the religion of millennial dance music via sets by EDM heavies including Knife Party, Wolfgang Gartner, Baauer and DogBlood.
And unlike this year's new audiophile sophisticate dance space the Yuma Tent, there is nothing subtle about what's happening inside the Sahara. With the tent's expanded scope, the thousands of kids in there fist pumping all the way to the back are clearly feeling it.
Artists lay down their chainsaw orchestras from on top of a wall of LEDs inside this pyramid, leading mass tribal womp womp stomp downs that inspire dancing that feels, basically, primal. It is huge, loud, dusty, sweaty futuristic raver/basshead summit of epic proportions.