It’s crazy to believe that a little over a year ago, the world stopped moving. We were forced to dislocate ourselves and lose our sense of physical connection with each other. With COVID-19 running its course, we all lost almost everything we couldn’t have imagined losing right in front of our very eyes. Some common examples of these enforced COVID-19 policies include schooling and work becoming increasingly distant, non-essential businesses closing, large gatherings becoming unacceptable, and the list goes on. Unfortunately, all of these factors may have made us question our own sanity.
As mental health has been a huge underlying problem throughout the pandemic, most of us music lovers, including myself, find therapy and medicine through attending concerts and festivals. There’s something about live music that hits the soul differently – the crowd, the energy, that vibration running through your entire body as the music flows throughout the crowd. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we were not permitted to gather altogether to continue to experience the magic. As countries across the globe continue to take precautions to stop the COVID-19 spread, countries like and were the first countries that were given the societal “okay” to bring back live music in large gatherings. And now, the United States can join that list as the #firstfestivalback, aka. the made its mark deep in the heart of Texas!
The Ubbi Dubbi Festival is a two-day festival that carries a tremendous amount of courage to carry the title of the #firstfestival back. Hosted by Disco Donnie Presents, the festival took place at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas, and in many ways, was a huge success. Despite the COVID-19 roadblocks, the festival was still able to provide top-tier performances while simultaneously running stellar and remarkable production.
Stages & Festival Setup
As the Ubbi Dubbi Festival was not held exactly inside the Texas Motorplex, it was spread out all over the outside part of the motorplex itself. There were a total of four stages that stood against the festival ground borders, along with water vendors, art installations, and shop vendors centered in the middle of the festival grounds. Another captivating aspect about the setup was the ginormous disco ball that was centered near the main stage, where attendees took advantage of the prime spot for meet-ups.
There were four stages total: Ubbi’s Stage, the main stage; Dubbi’s Stage, the bass stage; Zoom Room, the house/techno stage; and Ubbi Dubbi World, the local’s stage. Ubbi Dubbi’s stage presented a tremendous amount of talent, where and took over headlining duties. Other artists that showcased extremely mesmerizing and beautiful sets at Ubbi’s Stage include Kaivon, Ghastly, JOYRYDE, Seven Lions, Morten, Valentino Khan, and more. Dubbi’s Stage featured some of the best bass producers that are making big moves at the moment. As and closed out Saturday and Sunday, artists like , TVBOO, , Dirt Monkey, LSDream, INZO, and more came and brought out the most monstrous beats one could ever imagine. The Zoom Room provided the house beats for all the house and techno lovers. Artists like , , , , and more raised the (metaphorical) roof with some bonkers sets that included some top-club smashers. Finally, Dallas local talent like SIMBOLiZM, Paragrime, Greed, Mashbit, and more tore Ubbi Dubbi’s World apart in the best way representing the best of the best of Texas.
Noteworthy Performances & Author’s Note
Every artist that played at this year’s Ubbi Dubbi Festival was phenomenal beyond words. There was just something about each set that showcased the hard work these artists have been putting into throughout the pandemic, and they exceeded all of our anticipations.
The first day consisted of pre-festival jitters, delicious brisket sandwiches, and bass in our faces. From the first night, one of my favorites was Ghastly, as he gave attendees the best of both worlds between growling bass and groovy house jams. Not only was the set vibrant, but his energy itself also made his set a memorable one, as he personally shouted out a kite flying in the sky during part of his set.
Another memorable set that I am still having trouble getting over with at the moment is Seven Lions. Seven Lions is that one artist that brings you right back to life whether you are happy, sad, tired, or just in need of a pick-me-up. The best component of his Ubbi Dubbi set was his stage production (lasers, the background, etc.) – the production reached its height when he mixed the remixes of his songs, ‘Known You Before’ with Jason Ross and ‘Another Me’ with Excision together, making the music and production simultaneously iconic to watch and dance to.
My favorite part of the first night, however, was when Kaskade was playing the last ten minutes of his set at Ubbi’s Stage, aka. the main stage. He brought us back to the good ‘ole festival days ranging from his new songs to his classics. I was standing towards the back at that time, so I was able to view the whole stage production and setup from afar, as well as the vibrant fireworks going off behind. To experience that feeling of standing in the back of the festival crowd just taking in everything around you as the beat drops and the fireworks pop is surreal.
I can tell you firsthand I felt that way when he played his encore – he played his classic hit ‘Lessons In Love’ with Neon Trees, which is the first song that got me obsessed with him back in the day. I vividly remember listening to it every single day when I was fourteen, and it was one of the first songs that turned me into an avid EDM listener. Watching this beautiful encore made me deeply look around and realize that I was truly and purely happy to be back at a festival again. Who would’ve ever thought the last song he would play would be one that I have always dreamed of seeing live. That was a festival present in itself.
The 2nd day was full of positive vibrations and experimental wubs. The first artist I got to see was INZO and he set the mood just perfectly right. He is a master of mixing weird bass and dark groovy house as he had attendees moving up and down to each beat. And of course, we all got to hear his most popular hit that we all love, ‘Overthinker’.
Another noteworthy performance that I was jiving to was Valentino Khan. He is the perfect switch-up artist after spending the first few hours at Dubbi’s Stage, aka. The bass stage. He had us shuffling, headbanging, and vibing all in one hour, and that what makes a perfect festival set. He played all of our favorite festival bangers including ‘MFU’ with and the iconic Valentino track, ‘Deep Down Low’.
The best performance has to go to Liquid Stranger, however. There’s something about liquid that makes you want to just feel every sound in your body, no matter what kind of vibe you are feeling. Liquid is a master of mixing, and my favorite part of his set was discovering new songs that are able to mix perfectly with songs you wouldn’t think to mix well. If you ever want to change up your listening taste and discover some new wubs, I highly recommend Liquid Stranger.
At the end of both nights, Disco Donnie talked to all of us attendees after Kaskade and Illenium closed their sets, talking about how the festival was all put together in just SEVEN weeks. He continued to talk about how even through the hard work and stress of putting Ubbi Dubbi together, that we all needed this. We needed this for our mental health – and I couldn’t agree with him more.
As we all have had to struggle in our own ways throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health is a huge factor that seems to keep being pushed under the rug. Speaking from experience, some of us can’t live happily or survive without live music, let alone music in general, and when you take that away from someone, it can lead them to become lost and alone. The Ubbi Dubbi Festival was a cure to all of us to come back together and experience the magic of live music, and we can’t thank Disco Donnie and his team enough for doing this all for us.
Because of this, we are all a part of history. We all attended the #firstfestivalback. I don’t think a lot of people know that…
This content was originally published here.