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Halloween-themed EDM music festival quietly making noise

Prime Social Group, a company that produces concerts in Columbus, is set to bring a Haunted Fest, an EDM Halloween festival to the Greater Columbus Convention Center on Friday. Credit: Courtesy of Prime Social Group

Prime Social Group, a company that produces concerts in Columbus, is set to bring a Haunted Fest, an EDM Halloween festival, to the Greater Columbus Convention Center on Friday.
Credit: Courtesy of Prime Social Group

Quintessential Halloween songs will be remixed into monster mashups when electronic dance music artists and DJs from around the world take the stage at Columbus’ first–ever Haunted Fest music festival.

Presented by Prime Social Group, a Columbus-based concert promotions company, Haunted Fest is scheduled to take place in the Greater Columbus Convention Center’s Battelle Hall on Friday.

“It is not often that you get to go to an entire music festival on the same night as Halloween,” said Mat Herbers, national director of marketing for Prime Social Group. “It felt like Columbus was missing a big Halloween event, and it is always great to infuse the Halloween theme with big productions and music.”

Haunted Fest is set to feature four headlining EDM artists on its main stage, as well as a supporting lineup of local talent, Herbers said.

The festival’s headliners include Audien, a Connecticut-based EDM DJ whose real name is Nate Rathbun, Arty, a DJ hailing from Russia whose real name is Artyom Stolyarov, and French Canadian turntablist A-Trak whose real name is Alain Macklovitch.

Zeds Dead, an EDM duo from Toronto that has spent the summer headlining various music festivals throughout the United States, is set to perform as Haunted Fest’s top headliner.

“We feel like the lineup really caters to a lot of the subgenres of the EDM world,” Herbers said. “(Guests) will get a mix of everything and we hope to give everyone the experience that they want.”

In addition to the music performances on the main stage, Prime Social Group has joined forces with another Columbus-based concert promoter, My Best Friend’s Party, to present a “silent disco” during the festival.

“We have a silent disco that features a lot of local DJs because we always like to have a local tie in to all of the big events that we throw,” Herbers said.

According to the Haunted Fest website, a silent disco is a “typical, multi-stage festival (with) each stage (put) into a pair of headphones.”

At the beginning of the silent disco, participating audience members don a pair of headphones and join a crowd of other headphone-wearing guests. The headphones block out all outside noise and have buttons on them that allow the listener to choose between multiple stations, each featuring a set performed by live DJs.

The result, to an onlooker, is a surreal, silent dance party.

“Silent discos are fun because at festivals and concerts, you usually just have the DJ and the speakers and you just blast (the music) out and everyone hears it … but (at the silent disco), it’s really cool seeing the dynamic of different people listening to different music, dancing all in the same spot,” said Brandon Hoffman, a fourth-year in finance who is scheduled to perform at the Haunted Fest silent disco as “DJ B-Hoff.”

Hoffman said he has been DJing since freshman year of high school, and has been performing at Prime Social Group events since his freshman year at Ohio State. In the past four years, Hoffman said he has seen the Columbus EDM scene grow rapidly, and he believes an event like Haunted Fest will draw a large crowd.

“Coming here (to Columbus), it was really interesting to see the scene at its roots and see how it has expanded and grown,” he said. “Now we are pulling in multiple phenomenal acts (each) semester and we are bringing in Haunted Fest, which is a bunch of really established DJs coming to Columbus. I would have never thought that we would have seen that a couple of years ago.”

Adnane Rhazzal, who graduated from Ohio State last May and is also scheduled to perform as “DJ Sho” during the silent disco, said he is looking forward to the intimate connection that is created between the DJ and the audience once listeners slip on a pair of headphones.

“It is almost like I am sitting here with you and playing my iPod to you. That is exactly how I am approaching it,” he said. “These events make you create something special for 45 minutes. And you know that those 45 minutes are you and them (the audience) time. No one can take away what you have created for those 45 minutes.”

Rhazzal said he hopes that the audience leaves the silent disco excited and ready to enjoy what the Haunted Fest headliners have to offer.

“I hope that when (the audience) gets to Haunted Fest, we set the expectation that it is going to be a great show, and one set after the other, it is going to be high energy to get them going,” he said. “We want them to be energized … It’s Halloween, so let’s have a great party and have a great festival.”

Haunted Fest is also set to include a costume contest, and guests are encouraged to attend in costume, Herbers said. Pre-registration for the contest is not required.

“You will get to party on Halloween with your costumes and with your friends all in one location,” Herbers added. “I think what we try to show is that when you go to an event of ours, it is more than just having an artist up there. (It is) a grand production … that just enhances everything for the experience.”

The Greater Columbus Convention Center is located at 400 N. High St. Doors are set to open at 8 p.m.

Prices for tickets that are still available are $40 or $50 for general admission, with VIP packages available, and they can be purchased through the Haunted Fest website. Guests must be 18 years of age or older to attend.

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