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The Scenestress at Electro Fest

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Genesis Rising onstage at the Sarasota Electro Fest last Sunday. Avid EDM fans and over a dozen artists spent all day and night at the Cabana Inn for the event.

Genesis Rising onstage at the Sarasota Electro Fest last Sunday. Avid EDM fans and over a dozen artists spent all day and night at the Cabana Inn for the event.

So many times I've seen friends shrug shoulders after a particularly debauched evening and say, "It must have been the full moon." Sometimes they use this excuse more than once a month, but that's beside the point -- the last time I heard someone blame it on the moon, I decided I had to get out and do some field research on this phenomenon.

The full moon was high in the sky on Sunday evening, albeit obscured by dense clouds, so I headed to the Cabana Inn (2525 S. Tamiami Trl., Sarasota, FL 34239) for the Sarasota Electro Fest. I figured the combination of strong drink, pounding beats and dazzling lights would surely provide a perfect venue for electronic dance music (EDM) lovers to unleash the primal, bass-loving beast within.

The scene at the Cabana wasn't quite what I expected. I hoped to walk smack into an all-out rave with glowsticks and articles of clothing that don't usually come in neon fuzz. Instead I joined a slender group of guys and girls who milled between the inside and outside stages, respectfully watching the DJs do their thing. A lot of people had that unconscious head-bob going on -- I caught myself doing it, too -- and every once in a while someone would bust a move, perhaps just for something else to do.

Ms Chevious, part of the Dirty Brown Productions crew, cuts through the smoke with heavy bass.

Ms Chevious, part of the Dirty Brown Productions crew, cuts through the haze at the Cabana with blasts of heavy bass.

As I waited on a cocktail, Ms Chevious, a sweet-faced little lady in wide-leg jeans, did her best to wind up the onlookers inside. I sat back and enjoyed the sensation of her performance, like getting hit with an industrial-sized feather pillow at the rate of roughly 130 beats per minute. You really feel EDM as much as you hear it.

Chazz Royall had control of the outside stage. He worked the knobs of his table like he was trying to give a sumo wrestler a purple nurple, and I settled on the concrete edge of the pool to watch. After a few minutes, a hand jutted into my right peripheral vision. It was attached to a guy nearly swallowed by a black button-up shirt, who introduced himself with a Boston accent as Ryan. The festival had begun at high noon, and as we shook hands I asked him if he'd been there all day. Ryan admitted cheerfully that it had been slow, but as a turntable novice he most enjoyed watching and learning from his peers.

Chazz Royall gets up close and personal with his turntables.

Chazz Royall gets up close and personal with his turntables.

All of the names on the line-up were new to me, so Ryan graciously took me on the rounds as a new set of talent got on deck. I chatted at length with Martire, a trance producer who recently opened his own EDM hall in Port Charlotte called RIZE Nightclub. Then I got to meet DJ Richard Hunt, ringleader of Dirty Brown Productions and the mastermind of tonight's entire production.

"Yeah, I'm losing money on this," he grinned a little ruefully, indicating the empty dance floor, "but it's really for the artists. I wanted to bring a bunch of new names together in a live experience. We'll be doing this again," he promised.

I found it oddly relaxing, actually, to lounge with a vodka drink while sonic vibrations massaged my brain, watching a group of guys basically chill out and give each other props all night. It wasn't all wild and crazy, despite the celestial circumstances -- but from my scientific observations, I conclude a good time was had by all.

- Did you let loose on the full moon? Share your stories with the Scenestress via e-mail, or on FacebookTumblr and Twitter.

Last modified: November 20, 2013
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