Back in 2012, Gregg Lillie and EmazingLights took a team of light show artists to Escape from Wonderland in San Bernardino. The team called “the FaceMelt Crew” was the first festival team of its kind, and today, the program and Gregg’s legacy lives on at 25+ festivals across America. After moving on from his position as Brand Manager of EmazingLights, Lillie has worked closely with Jeff Abel, more commonly known as world class Bass Producer, Excision.
With the Excision team, Lillie is working behind the scenes to produce the first ever Lost Lands Music Festival in Thornville, Ohio, and the EmazingBlog was fortunate enough to sit down with Gregg to discuss some of the decision-making behind making Lost Lands 100% LED friendly:
EmazingBlog: Give us a little history lesson on Socks, your former role at EmazingLights, and how this gig with Excision came to be.
Gregg Lillie: I gave my first ‘light show’ ever at Identity Festival in San Diego back in 2011. I remember having this weird urge to walk around by myself as the sun was setting and came across a booth selling glowsticks. I bought a handful and without any practice or knowledge of flow arts, ended up waving them in rhythm in my friends’ faces all night and will never forget the awesome reactions…I was hooked instantly. As we left the venue someone in the car said they loved what I was doing and suggested I buy a pair of gloves. I ordered some the next day and the rest is history.
There is actually something I realized recently about this night and something I want everyone out there who has big dreams to take to heart. Identity Festival was put on by an awesome production company named SGE, who 6 years later is putting on Lost Lands with us. I was just some 21-year-old kid at the time who felt a strange urge to give light shows at this particular event, and a few years later, through a lot of hard work and constantly following my heart, I am helping throw a major a festival of my own.
Gregg Lillie created the FaceMelt Crew 5 year ago. His legacy lives on today at festivals… just in purple jerseys!
Getting better at the art of gloving and learning how to use it to meet new people and spread enjoyment has been something I apply to all aspects of my life every single day. Gloving was a huge confidence builder for me and gave me a purpose in life I did not have before I started the hobby. I know a lot of glovers feel this way which is why I am such a big advocate for spreading the art far and wide. Call it heaven or the cosmos, but I would not be where I am today if I didn’t buy those glow sticks that night. Sometimes you just have to do what you feel is right, even if it’s not what other people consider normal.
When I was at Emazing as Brand Manager, my only real goal when I got to work each day was to figure out how to share the love and passion I felt when gloving to everyone I could. When you are passionate about something and truly believe in it, it’s not marketing in a classic sense to me, it’s sharing a unique experience with people who may not know about it yet. I apply those same concepts to what I do with Excision now. I am a bass music fan to my core and our entire team’s goal is to spread love, joy, entertainment and all the other emotions we feel when we listen to the music. Lost Lands is a continuation of that, and an awesome new home to bring like-minded people together.
EmazingBlog: As someone who works closely with Excision and is helping put on Lost Lands Music Festival, walk us through the decision-making process behind making the festival 100% LED flow friendly?
Gregg Lillie: I’d be lying if I said I did not have a lot to do with pushing for it [laughs], but at the end of the day, it was Jeff’s (Excision) call to make it official. The conversation was actually very short because he knows my background and I’ve explained the issues with gloving at festivals with him in the past. Bottom line is he is extremely dedicated to his fans and cares deeply about the entire dance music scene and everyone who attends his events. There was no debate, Jeff believes in freedom of expression at his shows and banning the flow arts goes against everything he lives for. This festival is truly meant to be for everyone.
EmazingBlog: Not all festivals nationwide allow their attendees to express themselves with LEDs. As a glover, how does that make you feel? And what’s your take on the ban on LED products at festivals across the nation?
Gregg Lillie: It makes me feel awful every time I get stopped and asked to put them away, or worse, taken from me. Any official reasoning I’ve ever gotten from promoters has been bureaucratic bullshit at best and it’s the perfect example of ‘rules’ being made and never reanalyzed as time goes by.
I still try to bring my gloves to every event in protest, but I feel for the light show artists out there who can’t afford to have their set taken away. These promoters push us as the headliners, but then make rules about how we can and cannot dance. It’s pretty backwards to me, but when you believe in something you keep fighting for it. Don’t ever let anyone tell you how to dance or live your life.
Lost Lands is expected to be one of the premiere Bass and Dubstep festivals in America. Do you think this will set the tone for other festivals around the world who currently discourage the use of LED products at their events?
I really do not expect other promoters to catch on unfortunately, but if any of them are reading this, there is currently a Facebook group for glover meet-ups at Lost Lands with 600+ attendees confirmed going. We are happy to sell that many tickets to people coming largely in part because they can glove freely as it’s a huge and beautiful community to have at our event.
For those of you attending, PLEASE be respectful of where you glove as being on the ground for any reason at a large event can be dangerous if you aren’t paying attention. Legend Valley (the venue where LL will be held) is a huge space, use it wisely and you will be free to glove here for years to come. Our scene and community depends on personal responsibility.
As the original creator of the FaceMelt Crew 5 years ago, how far has the team comes since your time with EmazingLights? Is the program what you envisioned when you first started?
The FaceMelt Crew is one of the most special things I’ve ever worked on and nothing makes me happier than seeing light show artists from around the country taking over these festivals together and giving fellow fans incredible experiences. What started as a dream to give glovers something to aspire to within the SoCal community has turned into a nationwide program. I am so thankful the EL Team continues to use the FM Crew as a means to motivate and spread the love of flow arts.
The memories I have of the early days dishing out hundreds of shows a night with Teddy, Mimik and Gummy will last with me for the rest of my life. It’s not about the free shirt or the tickets to the events, it’s the friendships and new experiences that make the program what it is.
Gregg Lillie with OG FaceMelters React Shun, Ice Kream Teddy, and Gambit.
EmazingBlog: We’re sending the EmazingLights Camera Guy and some of the best FaceMelt Crew members we have to the festival: Enos, Gluvson, Jest, and Ninja. What are you expecting out of these artists when you see them at the festival?
Gregg Lillie: I’m expecting Andy to eat a lot and also to see a trail of melted faces between our 40+ life-sized dinosaurs that will be wandering around the festival.
EmazingBlog: Last question, before we let you go. There has been a lot of mystery and a lot of hype surrounding Lost Lands this Fall. What can we expect from the festival experience? And is this something ravers can expect from Excision on a yearly basis?
Gregg Lillie: Anyone who has been to an Excision show in the past 5 years knows the amount of time Jeff and our team puts into the live experience. This festival is everything we’ve ever brought to you turned up so high that the knobs broke off. Everything from the food, to the dinosaurs, to the stage design and all the little things in between have been personally curated by Jeff or a member of the X team. This is not a festival to miss and we cannot wait to share it all with you.
Located in Thornville, Ohio, Lost Lands Music Festival is one of the premier bass and dubstep festivals of the Fall. Hosted by world re-known Bass producer Excision, Lost Lands will focus on the festival goer’s experience as they throw down 500,000 watts of bass across multiple prehistoric themed stages. With DJ’s like Zeds Dead and Rezz also on the lineup, Lost Lands is one of the most highly anticipated EDM events of 2017.
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