Euphoria music festival returns to Denali

In Music
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FAIRBANKS — If music, beer and dancing give you a sense of euphoria, then consider attending the second annual Euphoria Denali Music Festival this weekend. 

The inaugural Euphoria in 2012 was a one-day electronic dance music festival in Austin, Texas. Five years later it has matured to a four-day bash with more than 20,000 people per day, and an international venue in South Africa. While Denali’s iteration is expecting a more modest 700 revelers, and isn’t international (depending on who you ask), it should be just as exciting.

Originally an electronic dance music festival, the diversity of Alaska and its residents will be reflected with a wider range of music. A jam band is headlining Friday, and Saturday is a more electronic act, according to Euphoria co-founder Will Krause. Admittance to the music festival costs $20 per day and is held at 49th State Brewing in Healy. 

A smorgasbord of brew offerings are also available, starting with tonight’s $7 Belgian-styles brew chat and tasting at Prospector’s Pizzeria and Alehouse in Denali’s Glitter Gulch.

From 5-7 p.m. both days, attendees can subtly start the night with seminars on grilling with beer, followed by home brewing classes on Friday and cask conditioning classes on Saturday, all at 49th State Brewery. At 7 p.m., flavored beer casks will be tapped — also called a firkin tapping. 

After starting the evening by cultivating some of the finer points of beer, let loose and dance the night away to a medley of music before retiring to the adjacent campground. 

The Colorado quartet DeadPhish Orchestra takes center stage Friday with its blend of Grateful Dead and Phish songs. On Saturday, New Jersey-based Flamingosis — the name’s derived from a free-style Frisbee disc move — will cap off the weekend with his funk and disco-inspired groves and melodies. 

Ellen Maloney — promotions director for DV3 Corp., the company that owns 49th State, Prospectors and other Denali-area businesses — said Euphoria Denali originated as a simple solstice brew fest, which then merged with Euphoria.

“Obviously, people want to be out in the sun, music goes hand-in-hand with that — and we’re a craft brewery,” Maloney said. Additional acts in the weekend’s docket include Willgood, Haunted Surfer, Clint Samples, Jasper Chili, Alex Mealy and Zay Schaeffer. 

Krause first experienced Denali in 2009 working a summer job. But it was when he returned in 2013, the same year 49th State was opened, he saw an opportunity to play music and disc jockey in Alaska. 

With their sound equipment, food, beer and a large campground within easy walking distance, Krause commonly references infrastructure when talking about 49th State Brewing being a good fit for Euphoria. “In my head, moving forward, I know that site can grow with the festival. Any other location up here (Alaska), to do something like this, you can’t even think about it.” 

Extra camping spaces will be opened for the festival, according to Maloney. She said there should be no shortage of sites, but people can reserve one by calling 907-683-2379.

This year’s festival was delayed one weekend to not conflict with the large number of solstice events in Fairbanks. “We decided to stop swimming upstream, and just go with what people are asking for,” Maloney said. 

Eventually, Krause would like to see Euphoria become a destination festival — where people could buy a whole package, including airfare, lodging and even a trip inside Denali National Park. 

Maloney said she’s really interested to watch Flamingosis, who has millions of views on You Tube and has never been to Alaska before. She’s also excited for the costumes — last year’s favorites included a fairy and a “very unique bear costume.” 

Contact staff writer Robin Wood at 459-7510.

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