This weekend I attended Something Wicked Festival in Houston and (as I expected) wasn’t disappointed in the slightest.
I knew, going in, that this festival was going to be amazing just due to the fact that it was happening over Halloween weekend—guaranteed to be filled with costumes, celebration, and craziness—but beyond the painted faces, outrageous get-ups, spooky vibes, delicious food and drink vendors, and incredible performances—Something Wicked’s impact reached beyond the eyes and ears of festival attendees.
What many people might not know about Something Wicked is that the festival raised over $165,000 in Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts.
This support included a $95,000 artist donation program to benefit the Houston Food Bank, up to $25,000 in matching of fan gifts, $25,000 to the Salvation Army, $5,000 donation to Habitat for Humanity, fan food drives, and much more.
I had the opportunity to talk with Evan Bailey, the Vice President of Disco Donnie Presents (DDP), about the recovery efforts:
“We knew [Harvey] was going to be a substantial storm,” Bailey said, “Everyone witnessed what happened on TV, online, and in print, and we quickly realized what a big deal this was…We knew what the event meant to our fans, especially, and we wanted to underscore our interest in their safety.”
DDP quickly reached out to local charities in hopes of getting support to fans and locals as soon as possible. Partnerships with the Houston Food Bank, Habitat For Humanity, and the Salvation Army, among others, were formed. This initiative was immediately backed by artists who donated large portions of their fees to the cause. In addition, attendees were encouraged to participate in a canned food drive, and to donate upon ticket purchase.
“This all happened organically,” Bailey said, “Everyone felt like it was the right thing to do.”
In addition, DDP set up matching donations through ticket sales, and CEO Donnie Estopinal personally supported both Harvey and Irma victims through organizing and funding boats to the British Virgin Islands.
Walking into Something Wicked, the camaraderie between DDP, the artists, and the fans was apparent. It was clear this wasn’t just another concert—it was something much bigger—an event that reached beyond the two days of fun and reminded everyone involved that we were in this together.
“The purpose of this event shifted from an everyday festival to having a higher purpose for us,” said VP Evan Bailey, “And for a lot of the artists and fans that’s true as well.”
Throughout the two days, I was amazed by the overall happiness I encountered at SWF. Even though Hurricane Harvey had ravaged Houston, there was so much love and positivity.
People weren’t focusing on what they were lacking, but what they had, which was an opportunity to enjoy good music and one another’s company.
What I loved most about SWF was how it was an escape—not only for me, but for everyone involved. We weren’t focusing on the negative, we weren’t stressing over what needed to be done or fixed, and we weren’t feeling emptied by life’s unfortunate circumstances. Instead, we were joining hands, we were dancing like fools, we were sharing our passion for music and performance.
We were coming together in hope, support, and celebration.
And that, to me, is what EDM is all about. This weekend wasn’t just a Halloween-themed music festival—it was a chance for people from all corners of the world, all ages, and all perspectives to feel united and cared for.
Something Wicked was a chance for strangers to donate to hurricane relief efforts. It was an opportunity for artists to give back to their fans. It was two days of non-stop, fun-filled, worry-releasing celebration.
And this festival is just another example of the beauty behind EDM and electronic music culture. As CEO Donnie Estopinal said in a press release about the festival:
“It is in times of need that we discover the full impact of the electronic music fan community.”