2016 Goes Down in Flames at Incendia
2016 kicked everyone’s ass - sure it had its good bits, but much like everyone else, I was ready to watch it go down in flames. The perfect way to end the year? Under a fire dome surrounded by over 1,000 of my closest friends.
Fire In the Sky III is the annual New Year’s Eve celebration hosted by Incendia. The party had a sick set up consisting of six domes with an intricate ceiling that’s basically on fire. The biggest dome stood at the center and had a DJ booth up top, the Incendia Stage - it was surrounded by five other smaller domes, with bonfires, pendulums, swings, bars, and more. Apart from the cool cages, there were also several vendors and performers doing everything from spinning poi to acrobatics to pole dancing. Outside there was another stage: The Party Bus, hosted by Katalyst, bumping everything from classic throwbacks, to hip-hop and disco. Inside there were two other stages: The Techno Hall hosted by Wiggle Factory, Q/Q, and Atlanta Techno Love, and The Psycube Stage hosted by Archaic Revival.
Although the party officially started at 8:00 p.m., I arrived around 11:00 p.m. Despite the rain and cold weather, the venue was packed both inside and out. It was BYOB, and the party attracted a wide range of people. Because there were so many types of genres being offered, there was something for everyone. There were basshead, techno snobs, PLUR babies, wizards, kitty kats, ferries, and all of the fun freaks who came together to end the year with a bang.
Most people opted to head outside for the midnight countdown, but I chose to end the year in the dark Techno Hall with Atlanta’s own Tocayo counting us down. All I wanted was hard and heady electronic beats drowning out the sorrows of 2016. At 12:00 a.m. on the dot my friends and I popped a bottle of champagne and cheered with enthusiasm as we welcomed in 2017. Tocayo delivered a killer opening set to the year featuring some of his favorite tracks. Although I can't honestly remember what songs I heard, I do know that from start to finish I danced non-stop.
I spent the remainder of the night exploring the venue and found myself constantly bumping into friends I had accumulated from months of partying at Sound Table, Music Room, and all of the other Edgewood staples. Although I went with a group of friends, I felt super comfortable and safe wandering around solo. No one was aggressive or disrespectful - everyone was just there to have a bangin’ time.
I hung out a bit in each stage, and they all offered a completely different vibe. The Techno Hall featured a bunch of great DJs and was almost pitch black, only lit up by flashing strobes. The Dome, which was generally packed, had heavy bass music and people in great spirits. Every surrounding dome had a different group of people that welcomed you in with open arms, and there were huge bonfires were you could make friends and get a break from the music. At Party Bus, you could literally go inside the school bus and take a seat with friends or bounce around on the dance floor. I will admit, though, that I could not spend more than two minutes in Psychube - pystrance is definitely not my thing; I’m sure some people were feeling it, but it was way too overwhelming for me personally.
Around 5:00 a.m. the crowd started thinning out, but I refused to call it a night. Most of us still there congregated under the domes. The fire and dancing made us forget that it was actually 45 degrees and raining. Variant, who played from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. gave us a funky reggae set with lots of bass. Part of me wanted to sit down because I was tired, but my hips couldn’t stop moving. When Zen Selekta came on to close the party at 7:00 a.m., the sun began rising and she delivered one of my favorite sets I’ve heard to date. It was an eclectic sound that felt tribal, sexy, and mystical. We said hello to a new day and goodbye to an old year.
May the ashes of 2016 serve as the fertilizer for an epic 2017 full of growth. I’ll see you all on the dance floor…
Photos by Grace Kelly for Bullet Music