With just one look at the headlining artists on the lineup, we already knew Hijinx was out to impress any seasoned raver or EDM fan. With a stacked line-up such as this one, Hijinx 2019 was certainly a way to end the decade, as Skrillex kept reminding the audience. But what could a fan really expect from an indoor festival at a convention center? The answer is simply: Full Send Mode.
Hijinx Festival debuted in December 2018 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. With a lull in the regular festival season during the winter, Hijinx was the answer we all needed to ring in the new year. Selling out its first year, tickets to Hijinx 2019 were hard to come by once December hit, especially with line-up like Philadelphia couldn’t believe.
Upon first walking into the massive space, fans are greeted with inflatable monsters, giant tentacles hanging from the ceiling (you read that right), and even fun photo ops for the entire crew. As if these visuals weren’t enough, Hijinx Festival promised more lasers and a brand-new sound system for this year, which they certainly didn’t skimp out on. The atmosphere was magical and an ever-changing experience depending on the artist on stage. With an astonishing 24,000+ fans packed in to one room, you can only imagine the energy radiating from the space.
Zia was the first artist up on day one, and we were immediately impressed with the sheer amount of energy she packed for such a small crowd. Fans trickled in right as Zia was finishing up, as doors opened a bit late. A few disappointed faces shown as fans realized they had missed the opening artist, which left Sodown and Zion I to ramp up the energy again. Fan after fan ran in to the space, eager to be right up front for the remainder of the show. It was evident on day one that this festival truly had some dedicated fans ready to party.
The crowd was noticeably amped up by the time Griz got on stage. He opened his set with a brand new Lizzo remix, and immediately captured everyone’s attention. For those unfamiliar, Griz is not your average Dj. He brings a unique twist to his performances by playing the saxophone and bringing guests in on vocals. As if he hadn’t already played a set to remember, he closed out his last song with Baby Yoda visuals behind him. Every fan in the building immediately started cheering, even if they were unfamiliar with Griz’s music.
Immediately following Griz’s power-packed set, Bassnectar was up next, and we’re pretty sure all of Philadelphia knew it. With the new sound system in place at the festival, the bass was actually a little bit too much for the set at times. Fans, however, didn’t seem to mind and danced on, the majority of them wearing Bassnectar jerseys and shirts. By the time Bassnectar left the stage, fans were amped up and ready For Zeds Dead who didn’t disappoint. With a line-up this stacked on day one, it would be hard to match the energy on day two.
Let’s be honest, like most fans we had a rough time waking up for day two. The entire night before had blown away any expectations we had for an indoor festival in December, and night two was about to be just as good.
Doors let in at normal time the second day, and fans were already rushing the stage in order to claim their spots up front. Some fans even rolled in with their crews donning coordinated attire. At one point while watching a set, a giant inflatable duck was spotted sailing across the crowd. The duck’s handlers? None other than a group of fans in duck suits. The truly amazing thing about festivals such as Hijinx is that fans can come together over just about anything.
The second day of Hijinx quickly proved to be just as energetic as the first. From the moment Kittens came on stage, fans were amped up and ready to dance for hours. With a name like Kittens, we did expect a few cat visuals, and we sure got them! Visuals as well as lighting was top notch day two, blowing day one out of the water. The lighting coordinated perfectly with each artist to take the stage and set a mood for the fans in the audience.
Porter Robinson’s entire set mesmerized the audience with his captivating visuals and hypnotizing light show. Fan favorite “Sad Machine” had the entire crowd singing and waving their arms in unison as Porter climbed up to lead them. A few times, confetti rained down on the audience, sending cheers throughout the building. Overall, Porter’s set was an experience in itself, bringing together fans new and old through his beautifully curated production.
Admittedly, as a contributor, I have not seen Skrillex live before. Well, as Skrillex that is. As someone who grew up in the early 2000’s, my little emo heart was more than excited to see my middle-school hero play for over 24,000 people. As an artist who took the EDM/dubstep genre by storm in 2010, Skrillex has only gained popularity since then. Fans all across the convention center donned Skrillex and OWSLA attire, highly anticipating his return to Philadelphia. From the moment his set started, not a single fan remained stationary. The entire crowd was in send-it mode and would continue to bring the energy throughout the set.
Overall, Hijinx Festival was the best ending to a year that anyone could ask for. Not a single person in the building left that night without a smile on their face. Groups of fans could be seen banding together hoping that there would be promise of a Hijinx 2020, something we certainly hope to see as well!