Since it’s 2010 inception, Lights All Night (LAN) has grown into one of the longest-running end-of-the-year parties in Dallas. With an eye for improvements and a drive to be one of the best festivals, Lights All Night has pushed the status quo with unparalleled lineups and unique immersive experiences. Next week, LAN will return to Dallas Market Hall on December 27th-28th to commemorate their 10th anniversary with next-level performances from Skrillex, Virtual Self, Bassnectar, Louis The Child, GG Magree, Herobust, Said The Sky, San Holo, Zomboy and more. To celebrate we’re sitting down with co-founder Scott Osborn to relive some of the highs and lows of the festival as well as preparing for an exclusive giveaway.
One very lucky winner will win 2 VIP tickets with perks including preferred viewing areas, expedited entry, exclusive VIP bars, private restroom facilities, onsite event hosts, plus a special meet and greet with HEROBUST.
Don’t miss out on your chance to meet HEROBUST and party in style, enter to win now
RTT: Over the past 10 years, Lights all night has become known as the largest electronic music festival in all of Texas. What challenges have you faced as an independent producer and talent broker to make that happen?
Scott Osborn, Co-Founder Lights All Night: I would say it’s like any business. It took us a while to get our footing and where we were going to present this show. We moved from the Convention Center to Fair Park back to the Convention Center and then to Dallas Market Hall. Through being an independent producer where my only large event is LAN and the size of it, there’s a lot of learning curves there. It hasn’t been one of those matters where we have some major funding behind us where we can go out and have the luxury of losing a ton of money in any given year. To continue to build a brand, we had to make it profitable so we could pay ourselves and continue doing it. In 2012, we were at Fair Park and we lost a million dollars on the show and we had to figure out a way to come back from that and reinvent the model as well as paying off debt for years. So it’s taken up until this point to really start to reinvest in the experience, the onsite, the art and the production and things like that. It’s exciting, it’s been hard but it’s been worth it. Being in our 10th year and having the opportunity to be presenting such a big show and the response being so positive, it’s really exciting to wake up every day and figure out how to make the event better for the fans.
RTT: This year has been a whirlwind of canceled festivals throughout the US, what steps have you taken to keep LAN as a relevant festival destination in today’s current EDM scene?
SO: I think that we are fortunate in our time period. I think that during the New Year’s Eve time period that we host LAN, you have a big contingency of people that are looking to go out and have a good time. Being in a major market and in the middle of downtown with our venue and the accessibility that we have really help. In addition to that, we work really hard to carve out those really special artists and lineups. We have that methodology… when was the last time they were in the market? What is their trajectory? How does it fit in with the overall trend of what the market is looking for musically this year? I think we’ve been fortunate not only to have an ear for that but we’ve also been fortunate that we’re producing an event in a time period where a lot of those artists are actively looking to tour. It was great that we’ve been able to build a great stop along that NYE tour if you will between the other music festivals and big clubs. Controlling costs and staying true to thinking within the zone of sales and what we want has helped us too. I feel like some of the festivals that may have canceled are definitely in these ultra growth modes and we’ve gotten to a point with the venue that we’re at where we enjoy the size of the show that we’re producing and we’re able to make it economical.
RTT: As more consumers expect an interactive and immersive festival to experience with their friends, how are you able to maintain LAN’s distinct festival identify while curating unique experiences for consumers with shifting musical tastes and demographics?
SO: The experience aspect is something that we put a huge amount of focus into and it’s where we’re pushing LAN moving forward by expanding the production elements, bringing in art, audiovisuals and installations artists from all over the country to set up these different experiential items. That’s where I see LAN moving forward in the future to remain relevant and a destination. If we’re able to bring in all these cool amazing elements to create this unique indoor and outdoor experience by doing that where the DJ, the musicians, and the artists are the soundtrack, it all plays together really nicely. It’s not just a simple focus on booking the talent, it has to be the whole thing.
RTT: What changes have you made across the past 10 years that have set the tone for LAN and what lessons have you learned?
SO: A lot of lessons and things have set the tone. LAN is this specific time of year event that’s a big driver but in Dallas, we don’t have any other events like this. I think that certain types of events that inspire me like Day For Night in Houston, is an inspiration and I think it’s really cool to have this indoor space and in the space around it to create all these different experiences. Setting the tone for us is year after year being able to secure high-quality talent and now moving forward things are going to be about audio experiential experiences that you can’t see anywhere else. As far as things we’ve learned along the way, at some point in time, we were looking to try and follow the trend lines of hip-hop and try to see if we could incorporate that into our event. We looked at it as an opportunity to potentially expand the offerings and open up to a larger demographic beyond electronic dance music fans and I think what we really found this year that has worked well for us is that we are an EDM festival based on our roots and that is our core fanbase and maybe it’s alienating our fanbase to bring in different types of genes. Right now we needed to focus on creating a lineup that is unique, amazing and awesome to the extent that someone who lives in Houston or within a few hundred-miles of Dallas and is an EDM fan feels like they can’t miss this and they have to find a way to get in a car with their friends and make it happen. The goals moving forward are always going to be how do we reinvent ourselves year after year and present ourselves from a marketing and lineup perspective to kind of capture that idea of “I cannot miss this particular event because of the full package that they are offering.”
RTT: What do you feel brings fans back year after year?
SO: I hear this storyline over and over that LAN was my first EDM festival and it’s amazing. I think there are a lot of reasons, obviously, from a regional perspective it makes sense, from a cost perspective it’s something that in comparison to other NYE events in the country we are definitely a cost competitor and I’m going to make it a point to try and be more cost-effective. I also think being centered in a place in Dallas where a ton of affordable hotels really helps when coming from out of town. I think it’s the idea of recreating ourselves year after year and I think it’s interesting that we are a first for a lot of people. I think that the first time has really been special for those people and they’re able to bring their friends back for years to come and they always seem to back their way back which is really exciting.
RTT: What have been your favorite moments from the past 10 years of LAN? Do you have a favorite set?
SO: I could go through the list but the moment that I remember is 2011 MSTRKRFT. I remember that set and it was wild, I just remember that moment and looking around the convention center and seeing 14,000 people and it really hooked me. The year that we lost a million dollars that everyone always brings back as the best lineup and I’m like yes it was and we paid for it. That lineup was insane, we had Avicci play and the moment that I’ll never forget from that year was having Calvin Harris open for Bassnectar. It was incredible because you had this mainstream pop/house artist opening for Bassnectar and the thing we thought that was really cool at that time was that no one left. Everyone that was up there for Calvin Harris stayed for Bassnectar and it was this convergence of genres and dance. It was really cool. I remember having Chainsmokers playing before Odesza in 2014 and that was amazing. Odesza was just blowing up and it was a last-minute booking that we had and it was such an incredible set. You look back at these lineups and it’s kind of wild…because of the way that we’ve had to build this festival and curate it, it’s really cool to see some of these incredible headlining DJs that were playing opening slots on the stage.
RTT: When people walk away from this year’s LIGHTS ALL NIGHT experience, what do you want them to remember?
SO: I want them to leave and feel like they can tell that attention was put into the details and that the production, the crowd flow, the movement and everything it takes to have a successful event. I want people to leave and say that it was fun, that it was wild, that it was a packed, crowded dance party but at the end of the day we had tons of bathrooms, great bar access and it was generally easy to get from room to room. I want people to leave feeling comfortable and like they got their money’s worth. This is something that is here to stay and they can come back and support it year after year.
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