The Daily Gamecock

Hidden City Music Festival aims to bring EDM Festivals to Columbia

<p>Graphic for the Hidden City Music Festival at the Historic Columbia Speedway. The concert takes place on April 9, 2022.</p>
Graphic for the Hidden City Music Festival at the Historic Columbia Speedway. The concert takes place on April 9, 2022.

"Hidden City Music Festival," Columbia's first EDM festival, is coming to the Historic Columbia Speedway in April. 

The one-day EDM festival will feature the artists "Zeds Dead," "Two Friends" and "Dr. Fresch," among others. General admission will cost $45 while VIP tickets will cost $120.

2 Pilot Productions, a local company co-founded in Columbia by Peter Candela and Shelby Judd, will host the event. They said they plan to bring more music and festivals — EDM in particular — to the city.

Candela said a major reason they started this festival was because artists typically skip Columbia in favor of performing elsewhere. 

“Most people either hit Charlotte or they skip right over Columbia and go somewhere else. And so, we kind of thought to ourselves: Columbia has got (30,000) undergrad students that are at the university ... It's a great spot to have a music venue," Candela said.

 After Judd saw Candela DJ for the first time at the gym, the two of them, now friends, went to a festival together and became determined to put on their own here in Columbia. This has been a goal of Candela's since 2013 and Judd has helped bring it into fruition, they said. 

They chose to host at the Speedway because of how much more space and capacity it has compared to a venue like the Fraternity Lots. Candela said it is perfect for an outdoor festival event like this. 

Though the Speedway was easily decided as the venue, trying to book an artist for the event slowed down the entire process for a while. 

"There's a lot of back and forth. When we first started, not a lot of people were reaching out to us because they were like, I don't know who these people are," Candela said.

Judd and Candela have already invested $150,000 into the festival, but more will have to be put in before the festival day is here, according to Judd.

The headliner at the concert, "Zeds Dead," is a Canadian duo. Zach Rapp-Rovan and Dylan Mamid are from Toronto, Canada. Borrowing their name from Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction," the band formed in 2009 and have since performed at many festivals. 

"Two Friends" is a DJ duo that are signed with Steve Aoki's record label. They are known for their "Big Bootie" mixes, which are their patented EDM mixtapes. They are currently touring for their "Adventureland Tour."

Dr. Fresch is an American DJ who became popular after being ranked #9 on Billboard Magazine's "Next Big Sound," chart.

Dr. Fresch said he first got into music at seven years old during piano lessons. He played in a rock band in middle school, jazz band in high school and started producing EDM when he was 17 years old. Dr. Fresch says having practiced in several genres has helped him. 

Charlie "Speenz" Speno is a fourth-year marketing major, who often works as a DJ in Five Points and will be performing as an opener for the other acts. He has opened for smaller local artists but never for someone as big as Zed's Dead or Two Friends. 

"Starting off with something a little bit lighter, and progressing into something a little bit more heavy, is usually the way I kind of go when I'm opening for somebody," Speno said.

Speno said he sees his job as getting the entire crowd pumped to see the show headliner. This requires him to figure out what songs will work well together and how to keep the rhythm of one song going to the next to keep people excited. 

"The people organizing it are great people and they are really putting their blood, sweat, and tears into this. There's a lot of really cool talent locally that's coming to open for these big artists," Speno said. "So it's going to be a really great time."

Correction (Feb. 17, 2022 at 4:45 p.m.): A previous version of this article incorrectly spelled Charlie Speno's last name.