[Event Review] Project Glow’s Third Edition: A Success Story of Continuous Improvement

Photo Credit: Benjamin Adams

This past weekend marked the third anniversary of Project Glow in Washington D.C.’s RFK Stadium. With a stellar lineup, great stage production, and a good offering of pre and after parties, the festival’s continued improvement year over year has solidified its place as a staple east coast festival; and a welcome success as other events in the region crumble and decline. Seeing events like Ezoo, Firefly, and Imagine Music Festival fold and fail to make a comeback in 2024 due to operational issues (among many things) meant that all eyes this year were were on Insomniac and Club Glow, who started Project Glow in 2022 with hopes of invigorating the east coast dance scene.

The Good

Photo Credit: Annmarie Smith

When I attended the first edition of the festival in 2022 and the world emerged from COVID-19, I found myself noticing how bare bones the event was. It was two stages, an art cart, simple food options and missing a lot of the pizzaz we have come to expect from events like EDC and Beyond Wonderland. But it was still a good time. Project Glow was very accessible and the price point was on the lower end for a festival with that caliber of a lineup. Last year saw the addition of a third stage, more activities, art installations and a better offering of pre and afterparties. This year, the trend continued. The festival again saw steady improvement: a new layout, expanded VIP services, and additional food options and merch vendors were added. In the blink of an eye, the festival had dialed up the quality level of the experience, all the while keeping more or less the same price point.

Photo Credit: Benjamin Adams

Some of the best sets this weekend included a B2B between Deorro and Valentino Khan, Knock2’s Main Stage debut, and a packed B2B with Acraze & Wax Motif. A few standout secret garden sets for me were Derrick Carter and Baby Weight. It was a big weekend for house music lovers, but that didn’t mean the bassheads were left out. REZZ and ILLENIUM closed out Main Stage night one with resounding success. Although the gloomy weather during the first day of this year’s festival left something to be desired, that didn’t stop festival goers from dancing the afternoon away and having what appeared to be a fantastic time. It really speaks to the power of music to be able to carry the energy through a day like that. Day two saw perfect sunny weather and an even better vibe due to the uplifted spirits and vitamin D. To cap off the weekend, I went to the highly anticipated and sold out Zedd B2B Knock2 afterparty. My mind as blown by how well the two artists’ styles meshed together for a cohesive sound and unbelievable energy as they weaved in and out of almost every genre on the EDM spectrum.

As expected from an Insomniac event, stage design and production was impeccable and the sound quality of every stage was stellar, despite some small sound bleed issues in the VIP areas. Hats off to the tech and lighting team for a job well done. Medical services were easily accessible, and food was moderately priced.

Opportunities for Improvement

Photo Credit: Jordan Sabillo

My main gripe for this festival has to do with entry/exits and the bathrooms. It was a long walk to and from the rideshare lot. It took my group of New York paced gays and girls almost 20 minutes to get to the entrance of the festival and even longer on the trip out. Cars were difficult to call and could not be relied on due to surge pricing and traffic. To have a smooth exit, you had to leave pretty early and miss quite a bit of the headliners. What I think could work in the future, is a system similar to Ezoo, where a queued up line of city busses are ready to take large amounts of attendees to downtown DC free of charge. The goal should be to move as many people off site as possible to areas where cars are more accessible. The only other option for leaving was relying on the metro which was inconsistent around the hours the festivals closed.

The security line also tended to bottleneck due to the fact that this was a 18+ event, meaning ID checks and issues with entry held up a lot of people and caused delays. Project Glow being an 18+ event also meant that the crowd skewed on the younger side and I noticed a general lack of crowd decorum at times. But the kids will learn as time goes on.

Finally all the bathrooms were a bit chaotic, but the worst issues came from the GA+ bathroom trailers. There was only one trailer per area, meaning the girls line for the airconditioned “premium” bathrooms were always disproportionately long and I felt bad that people paid extra for that particular experience.

However, all things considered, I am happy with my personal experience and am excited to see what the future holds for Project Glow.