When talking about Dusk Fest, Tucson journalists have thrown around the C-word. True, both Dusk Fest and Coachella happen in desert cities, both have huge art installations and both refuse to pigeonhole themselves into a single genre of music, but Dusk Fest is about one percent of the size of Coachella, takes place in the middle of a downtown and reflects a lot more of its local community than the California behemoth ever could. A group of friends with very non-festival day jobs launched the Tucson festival in 2016 in hopes of creating a cultural event that could rival those in Phoenix (and places farther west). Today, the event pulls 15,000 people, many of which travel from outside of Tucson, to attend three stages and two days’ worth of local and national bands. As for the music, like we said, Dusk Fest picks from across the music world, but it does have enough EDM acts to earn coverage in the EDM press. This year, the Arizona desert will welcome 18 artists, including Sofi Tukker, GRiZ, Young the Giant and Alison Wonderland.
While the music portion of Dusk Fest is a classic young-people-in-neon-jumping-and-moshing festival, the festival organizers have created a space for all ages and various predilections. Taken together, the food, art, shopping and weed (yes, weed) setups rival that of the music. Dusk Fest partners with students and faculty at the University of Arizona’s School of Art’s 3D & Extended Media program to engineer huge sculptures, digital art pieces and lighting designs throughout the festival grounds and downtown. Past festivals have had wacky windy men and live spray-painting demonstrations. While the food lineup is still forthcoming, Dusk Fest has worked with Gastronomic Union of Tucson (GUT) and local favorite restaurants to crank out a festival’s worth of curated meals. If none of that sounds fun, you can explore the extra-large lawn games, a 21+ cannabis education space and booths run by local shops.
- 15,000 people attend.
- Tickets come in three levels: General Admission, VIP and Platinum. All are available for single-day or weekend passes. Weekend General Admission passes start at $109.
- Lockers are available for rent.