The Rationale for Global Dance Festival’s 18-Year Reign

Updated: Aug 10, 2019

Tomorrowland continues to suck the air out of the room as it inches ever closer to its opening night. So much so that even details about production build-outs have dance music junkies chomping at the bit. Thus it’s easy to accept the lull in action striking the industry annually around this time. Contrarily, that early summer shortage of EDM isn’t something anyone living within 200 miles of Denver can relate to. The build-out for Global Dance Festival is underway too, and it’s luring some industry heavyweights to Colorado as a result.

Granted, this may be a side effect of organizers opting to avoid the sweltering July heat in favor of hosting spring/fall engagements. While that may be true, the event’s 18-year reign and unequivocal thriving suggest there’s more to the story. As another weekend of GDF approaches, we examine the main reasons why we all keep coming back for more.


Indeed, Global Dance Festival’s place in the annals of CO dance music history is firmly cemented. Longevity aside, their contribution to the growth of the industry in CO can’t be denied. In similar fashion to that of other EDM production companies like Insomniac, Global Dance’s roots are old school. It too was part of a robust Denver underground rave scene which many people can attribute as being the foundation of their affection for the music.

Certainly, it’s remarkable how many people have been affected by the event in its 18-year reign. Likewise, there is an endless number of EDM junkies who credit Global Dance Festival with providing their first exposure to the music. Furthermore, Global Dance has stood the test of time as a purveyor of dance music, delivering consistently when other companies falter. Thus, every year when the lineup drops, we reminisce about falling in love with the music all over again.

The Lineup

Throughout Global Dance Festival’s 18-year reign, lineups have typically stirred up heated discussions. This year is no exception, as the flyer is missing some of the biggest acts tearing up the festival circuit right now. Again, Tomorrowland should bear any brunt of the ire about the bill. Not to mention, Red Rocks gobbles up quite a few of the biggest names of the year as well. With that in mind though, Global Dance and AEG still managed to hammer out a fantastic roster for GDF. If anything, people should be griping about having to decide who to watch and who to skip over during the course of this jam-packed weekend. Diplo, Galantis, Kaskade, BTSM, and Chris Lake alone make this a solid two-day outing.

How does this tie into GDF’s 18-year reign in the region? Specifically, the bill is full of fresh names and some familiar ones who’ll be back for the first time in a while. It’s a departure from the common formula of festivals which is to bring the same heads every year. For example, the Monstercat stage is gonna be bonkers! Dirtyphonics, Riot, and Snavs will be putting on a show no doubt. However, rising stars like Notaker, Case Closed and CloudNone are hungry, and on the grind. It’ll be interesting to see if they channel that energy into a bangin’ set similar to what 1788-L did at Red Rocks last week. Also, no mumble rappers this year.


Newsflash! Anschutz Entertainment Group is everywhere. Anywhere Live Nation isn’t, AEG is. Indeed, Global Dance Festival is a beneficiary of this expansion. The two conglomerates have an ongoing battle for Denver entertainment services supremacy which shows no signs of deescalating. AEG whose ticketing arm AXS currently controls all ticketing for venues owned by the city and county of Denver seems to be gaining the upper hand. Aside from controlling the big four massive area venues, (Fiddler’s Green, Denver Coliseum, Red Rocks, 1st Bank Center) in some capacity, it also holds down several smaller intimate venues as well.

If you want EDM, or any genre of music really, you have to go through them. From this, it’s easy to see where GDF might benefit. With all of the other popular dance music venues locked up, Global Dance Festival faces no major competition. This stretches beyond Colorado borders too as AEG has major holdings in States within the region like Kansas, Texas, and Washington. Regardless of your opinion on the matter, one thing is certain- AEG intends to see Denver continue its rise to the upper echelon of entertainment hubs. The major investment they’re making through building a brand new state-of-the-art venue from scratch is surely a sign they won’t be going anywhere soon either. Therefore, it seems safe to predict that Global Dance Festival will continue far beyond its 18-year reign over the CO EDM scene too.

The Vibes

Above all, Global Dance Festival is Colorado’s celebration of its love for electronic music. It’s a great time of year for the music scene in general. In particular, all of the local performers or DJ’s who rock the decks night in and night out get to shine during the massive event. It’s one of the few times each year where a massive cross-section of the population comes together for the love of a commonality- EDM. Even if you don’t hit up the festival, or one of the numerous after parties, it’s just an all around dope time to be in the city. Truly, if for no other reason, the 18-year reign is a testament to the underlying vibe that is Global Dance Festival.

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***This is an editorial piece written originally for***