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Raving Terror — How Haunted Fest Elevates EDM in CBUS

By Xavier Veccia


All dressed up with nowhere to go this Halloween? Do your friends’ costume parties lean more towards the “trick” end of the spectrum? Or are you just tired of passing out candy to 10-year-olds singing off-key versions of “Let It Go?”

Welcome to Haunted Fest. Prime Social Group’s annual rave has become one of the Columbus’ premier Halloween celebrations in recent years, nearly doubling in size since its inception two years ago and putting the “fun” in “fun size.”

PSG, the company behind such musical extravaganzas as Columbus’ Breakaway Festival and Athens’ Number Fest, saw a “void in the Columbus market for a massive, large-scale Halloween event,” said CEO Zach Ruben.

Ruben went on to mention both Highball and Bluestone’s Trauma as ways to celebrate All Hallows’ Eve, but stated that he and the rest of PSG wanted to host a “huge, commercial EDM, massive Halloween event — a modern day rave.”

Ruben was quick to point out that Columbus isn’t always completely down with an event solely dedicated to EDM. With past festivals–take the recent Breakaway Fest, for example–Ruben & Co. paired massive EDM acts like Dillon Francis and RL Grime with equally impressive hip-hop artists such as Chance the Rapper and Young Thug.

However, Halloween carries with it a certain atmosphere that screams EDM. Costumes, parties, letting go of one’s inhibition. It’s no wonder the two pair so well together.

“The Halloween spirit combined with people who love expressing themselves through music makes for a really dope energy and vibe,” said Columbus DJ Corrupt, who’s making his third appearance at Haunted Fest this Saturday. “Everyone just comes out of their shell a little more during Halloween

Of course, it’s not just the spirit that makes this annual treat possible. In recent years, the Columbus EDM scene has continued to grow, drawing more local fans to the genre and to the shows. When Haunted Fest started in 2014, it drew an impressive crowd of 4000 people. This year at the Ohio Expo Center, only two short years later, the festival is expected to host around 7000.

The city is growing,” said Corrupt. “Our EDM scene gets better from a combination of companies like Prime Social Group and Peerless bringing the world’s best DJs and all the talented local musicians.”

“We want to bring in the acts that you can see in EDC Vegas or Ultra Miami or wherever it may be,” said Ruben. “Bring that experience and bring those acts to Columbus, show that we should be on the EDM map.”

And at the core of it all, Haunted Fest is about those artists. In the past, they featured such acts as Zeds Dead and Martin Garrix. This year, they’ve hosting Kaskade and Marshmello, two of EDM’s heaviest hitters in 2016. (Marshmello even comes with his own mask.) And Corrupt, who started his career in downtown Columbus, represents the city well with his electro house and energetic, interactive set.

Haunted Fest, the budding tradition it is, has grown with the EDM scene and it shows. It’s a massive music festival dressed up as a holiday’s celebration, treating the city of Columbus to a fresh, new way to enjoy Halloween.

“You’re in for an experience you’ll never forget,” said Ruben. “It’s simply unique.”

Haunted Fest is October 28 and 29 at the Ohio Expo Center. Tickets can be purchased here.

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