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Neon Desert 2016: What to expect from this year’s lineup

Nearly three months away from the sixth annual Neon Desert Music festival and the anticipation has been eating up El Pasoans more than ever. Early bird tickets sold out in the matter of hours, now tickets are on sale for $109, plus service charge fees, on
Disclaimer: in no way is this article an accurate representation of who may or may not come to the festival; it is pure predications made by myself.


Two days instead of three days

Last year, the three-day idea of the music festival seemed like such a great idea, but it caved in the end. Remember back when the lineup came out and you had to map out who to see each day? The first day was almost impossible to plan, going to different artists because the options were limited. While Slightly Stoopid, Cypress Hill and Robert Delong all put out a show that was better than most anticipated, day one of Neon Desert 2K15 was at a lower level than days two and three.


From a general business perspective, Neon Desert can save the money they will spend renting space, hiring security and booking artists for an extra day, and use that money to book high-name artists.


If Neon Desert is not able to book enough caliber artists to fill the span of three days, a two-day festival will suffice. Two days can mean the quality of artists coming could be a lot higher. The only downside is the fact that three-day early bird passes last year started at $65, while this year they are $89.


Who we want to headline: Rappers – Drake, Future, Kendrick Lamar or The Weeknd

Who to expect: Rappers – Big Sean, A$AP Rocky, Snoop Dogg, Wale or Run the Jewels

Getting J Cole in 2015 makes me skeptical that Neon Desert can take a step further and get an even bigger name, like Drizzy or Future; however, the music festival has proved me wrong with their big names year after year. Although they are not Drake-status, A$AP Rocky or Big Sean would be huge for a hip-hop headline.


Who we want to headline: Electronic/Dance – Calvin Harris, Disclosure, Armin van Buren or Above and Beyond

Who to expect: The Chainsmokers, Carnage, Diplo or David Guetta

Every year in its existence, Neon Desert has brought a big name electronic artist. It is evident that El Paso’s rave scene attracts big name DJs, and what a better place for an EDM artist to go in the summer than to Neon Desert. Last year, Kaskade Flume and even Girl Talk attracted enormous crowds. All expressed their love for El Paso and the festival, so this could leave room for a big name artist. It is safe to say that dance music is one of the most popular genres in the city, so it would not be surprising if they brought two big name sets.


Who we want to headline: Indie/Alt. Rock –Twenty One Pilots, Vampire Weekend, The 1975 or Florence + the Machine

Who to expect: Chvrches, Of Monsters and Men, M83, Walk the Moon or Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

For the past two years, Neon Desert has brought two big name indie bands: MGMT (2014) and Passion Pit (2015). Crowds flooded for each of them, but they still were not able to match the large crowd of the EDM or hip-hop headliners. Getting a big name, like The 1975 or Twenty One Pilots, would draw a significant amount of people, but it is more likely to see a band who has not produced a popular album in a while, such as Of Monsters and Men or Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – who would both be highly entertaining.


Hip-hop/Rappers we want to see: Chance the Rapper, Post Malone, Kid Cudi, Travis Scott or Mac Miller

Who to expect: Raury, Vince Staples, Joey Bada$$, Action Bronson, Riff Raff, Vic Mensa, BJ the Chicago Kid, Lil Dicky, Futuristic, or Juicy J

Last year Neon Desert catered heavily to the hip-hop audience with artists like G-Eazy, Big K.R.I.T., Earl Sweatshirt and PartyNextDoor – who coincidently have almost nothing in common. That could mean whomever they may bring this year can stretch past all limits. Seeing an up-and-coming rapper like Post Malone or an artist hot off his freshman album, like Travis Scott or Raury, could prove to be a great show.


Electronic/Dance artists we want to see: Chet Faker, Flosstradamus, Baauer or Flux Pavillion

Who to expect: St. Lucia, Kill the Noise, Crookers, Chromeo or Nosaj Thing

Ranging from Robert Delong to the Bloody Beatroots, there has been a noticeable difference between the alternative electronic and dance DJs that come to Neon Desert. Artists like GTA, Keys ‘N Krates and YACHT have done well at the festival in the past; however, there is no sort of pattern of artists they sign to fill these spots. In the end, it could be any up-and-coming artist or a past-their-prime DJ.


Indie/Alt. Rock artists/bands we want to see: Matt & Kim, Bombay Bicycle Club, Mac Demarco, DIIV or SBTRKT

Who to expect: Little Dragon, Morly, Crystal Fighters, The Internet or Rhye

Expectations are high when it comes to indie lineups, and somehow disappointment is nearly inevitable. But amongst a “bad lineup” emerges a group that turns out to be amazing. STRFKR, Toro Y Moi, The Drums and Tokyo Police Club are all examples of significant sets at Neon Desert. We cannot predict who will come for sure, but as history has shown, it is usually a show worth watching.


Throwback artists/bands we want to see: Biz Markie, Ice Cube, Sublime with Rome or Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Who to expect: Fatboy Slim, Rebelution, Ballyhoo! or At the Drive-In

In the past, Neon Desert has had excellent throwback artists, with Sparta, Method Man & Redman, Antemasque, Slightly Stoopid and Cypress Hill. These groups attract a more mature crowd, and anticipation for these groups often are higher than expected due to their historic past. Imagining the idea of Biz Markie bringing his hilarious hip-hop game to the stage or Ballyhoo! delivering their reggae-punk vibe to the stage is exciting.

Adrian Broaddus may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Adrian Broaddus, Sports Editor
Adrian Broaddus is the sports editor for The Prospector. He is a junior multimedia journalism major with a minor in political science.   Adrian was born and raised in El Paso, TX, and is a graduate of Franklin high school. He entered college in the fall of 2015 in hopes to better his career in journalism.   Along with sports, Adrian enjoys writing music reviews, perspective columns and news stories on politics.   Although he is pursuing his degree in journalism, Adrian would like to go to law school and be an attorney while doing part-time work in journalism.  
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    yaboiiFeb 18, 2016 at 1:26 PM

    What about Logic, fly him out here

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Neon Desert 2016: What to expect from this year’s lineup