After an amazing week in PanamĂˇ City, PanamĂˇ and an incredible time at The Day After PanamĂˇ, I am home. What an experience! Disco Donnie Presents and Showpro PanamĂˇ came together and put on a massive 3-day festival that I will not soon forget.
I was not sure what to expect. Initially, I was still kind of in disbelief that I had gone to PanamĂˇ. But after I picked up my credentials the first day and saw the massive stage as well as the crews setting up I knew I was in for an incredible adventure.
Day one opened with local talent Luis y Prada who did a solid job keeping the energy up as the crowds started to filter in. They seemed to have a nice following and I hope to hear more from them in 2014 — their bootlegs are great and they have some quality original productions.
Next up was the Mixify winner Marc-Oh (not to be confused with the German producer Mark Oh) who really brought some energy and good vibes to the fest. He skilfully shined on the big stage in front of the growing crowd. He trolled them by playing â€śMartin Garrix Had a Farmâ€ť — they didnâ€™t seem too pleased, and some were even confused. (This is a track that the DJ Ookay went viral on when he played it at a club a few weeks back. It goes into the childâ€™s tune Old Macdonald at the drop of the Martin Garrix smash â€śAnimalsâ€ť.) Amusing, but this festival was not really the place, especially with the younger crowd who really enjoyed the origial song every other time it was played.
The beautiful Jack Novak took the decks next and I could definitely tell the crowd fell in love with her and her song selection, especially when she played a remix of Abbaâ€™s â€śDancing Queenâ€ť.
David Solano who the crowd just absolutely went nuts for had one of my favorite sets of the night especially experiencing the whole crowd sing along to his bootleg of â€śIn My Mindâ€ť with â€śTsunamiâ€ť two songs that you will almost always hear at a festival but on this balmy night combined together was incredible. He also played my favorite track of the moment Felix Cartalâ€™s â€śNew Scene.â€ť
Dannic really got the crowd into it having everyone sing along to Nicky Romero and Nervoâ€™s (who both would play on Sunday) â€śLike Homeâ€ť.
Dyro was up next and got everyone read for the headliner and number 1 DJ in the world at the moment, Hardwell, who had a really energetic set and some nice mashups. His track selection offered a lot of what we heard elsewhere at the festival, but to his credit, a good amount of the tracks we were hearing on repeat that weekend were his own. Hardwell also started to play â€śRattleâ€ť by Bingo Players and had a very nice and genuine moment of silence for Paul, who unfortunately passed away in December, losing his fight with cancer.
Overall Day 1 was awesome. In addition to the music, there was a lot to experience that was different from festivals in the US. For one, they sell booze right in the crowd. The crowd was a bit younger than some shows in the states, but they loved every minute, had a ton of positivity, and sang along to so many songs. The only knock on day one was the limited number of bathrooms, but the masters behind the scenes noticed that, and there were many more available the next day. Props to DDP and Showpro for that.
Saturday saw the likes of DJ DaNo who happens to not only make killer tracks and amazing mashups but is one of the nicest DJs I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. I canâ€™t count the times I saw him running around backstage like a little kid with a huge smile on his face. Also had the pleasure of getting stuck on the same flight back to the states with him. But neither of us are now fans of American Airlines — six hours on a hot plane on the runway in Panama is unacceptable! But back to the music — do check out DJ DaNo. Canâ€™t wait to see what this guy does in the year to come! (Here is his Soundcloud.)
[wp-audio url="http://TheMusic.FM/wp-content/uploads/DaNo-Story-Of-My-Zodiac.mp3" text="DaNo - Story Of My Zodiac (Arston's Zodiac x One Direction's Story Of My Life)"] [download]
After DaNoâ€™s great set Anna Lunoe took the stage. She was one of the artists I was most excited to see, she has been crushing it lately and I predict that she’s going to be huge in the next year or so. From the opening where she sampled the 20th Century Fox drum roll into Gregor Saltoâ€™s â€śAzumbaâ€ť until closing with â€śBreathe,â€ť Anna Lunoe was amazing, bringing lots of energy and keeping the crowd jumping the whole time. I got to meet her backstage, too, thanks to chatting via Instagram, and she was such a sweetheart. I look forward to seeing her in Brooklyn next month at Verboten. (More info here.)
The rest of Saturday saw young DJ sensation Martin Garrix play a nice selection of tracks which included cutting in and out of his massive hit â€śAnimalsâ€ť to Carl-Cox-esque sampling of Blur â€śSong 2.â€ť I must say, for a young kid, he definitely pays homage to his roots.
Headliner Afrojack totally blew everyone away by continuously teasing the lead in to â€śTake Over Controlâ€ť before finally dropping it. He also played his remix of Tiestoâ€™s new song â€śRed Lightsâ€ť as well as his remix of Miley Cyrusâ€™ â€śWrecking Ball.â€ť Deorro took over after Afrojack and took us to the 4 am closing time. What else can be said about the man behind PandaFunk Records — he was the perfect closer making the crowd expend all the remaining energy we had for the day.
Sunday, the biggest names â€“Â all headline-worthy in their own right â€“ took the stage to the biggest crowd of the weekend. Nervo, R3hab, Nicky Romero and Calvin Harris were all on Sundayâ€™s bill and all came to Panama to party. Sunday’s set times were pushed back 30 minutes so some of the crowd was a bit nervous that a main act was not able to make it, but thankfully everyone showed up who was on the bill. (It seems at big festivals there’s always a good chance that an artist or two has travel issues and misses their performance.) R3hab played a great set but unfortunately lost his voice so his only way of communicating with the crowd was through his energetic body language and jumping up on the booth, but everyone in PanamĂˇ felt the love he was throwing out there.
Sidney Samson was another highlight of the weekend, opening with his classic banger â€śRiversideâ€ť and playing massive tracks that I didn’t hear anywhere else that weekend, except one: the Alesso and One Republic anthem â€śIf I Lose Myself.â€ť It was such a fun set I couldn’t help but dance with the crowd and forget to take pictures!
The gorgeous and famous Australian twins Nervo took the stage next playing some of their classics as well as leading into a pretty impressive and rare back to back set with R3hab.
Nicky Romero had to follow this, which was would seem to be a tough act, but Nicky put on one of the best sets Iâ€™ve ever seen from him. Playing mashups, live edits that kept the crowd jumping, and perfectly setting the stage for the man of the festival Calvin Harris to take over. I figured by the end of the festival even Calvin may be sick of hearing his remix of â€śEat Sleep Rave Repeatâ€ť but he placed it in his set perfectly as well as his other hits â€śUnder Controlâ€ť and â€śWeâ€™ll Be Coming Back.â€ť And would it be a Calvin Harris show if by the end his voice had turned hoarse as he expressed his gratitude to PanamĂˇ for being such an incredible experience. I agree Calvin, I agree, ÂˇTe amo PanamĂˇ!