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Local DJs dare to dream at Dusk DJ competition

Ericka Rios
Late night at Gentle Ben’s is DJ performing music on stage and the crowd stands around listening to the music.

With the Dusk Music Festival right around the corner, festival organizers have scanned the city for local artists — specifically local DJs.

The Dusk Music Festival DJ Competition was held on Thursday, Oct. 24 at Gentle Ben’s Brewing Co. on University Boulevard.

The competition began on Sept. 16, calling all DJs to apply for a spot to open for the performers during the festival. For 14 days, potential openers submitted music mixes of their own creation, hoping to earn a spot.

The only limitation set for applying for the competition was an age limit — the DJ’s had to be 18 years or older.

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According to Tori Cachia, the Dusk Music Festival director, about 45 people apply for the spot each year, but the process is incredibly competitive. Only five DJs will compete for the final spot in front of a live audience and only one will go on to open at Dusk.

“I applied last year for the DJ competition at Dusk,” said Drew Chickering, a junior at the University of Arizona. “I sent them in my material, but I was turned down since there were so many sick DJs already applying.”

This is only the second DJ competition Dusk has held. This year’s competition lineup includes five local DJs: Thoolan, Wolfie, Low Audio, ENRI and Cookie Joe.

“I’m super stoked for the competition and have been putting in lots of work,” Wolfie said. “Winning this competition is really important to me and I want my set to reflect that. I’m also really excited to be competing with some of my good friends. It’s going to be a good time regardless.”

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At Gentle Ben’s, each DJ performed 30 minute sets, according to Gentle Ben’s Facebook page, and the winner was decided by crowd voting. However, that is only a small percentage of the total vote.

“[Crowd voting] can be a determining factor on who wins,” Cachia said. “About 95% of the score is determined by our judges who have a certain criteria that was relayed to our contestants.”

The low acceptance rate of the competition gives the DJ chosen for Dusk lucrative advantages in terms of experience and public exposure. That DJ will have the opportunity to play on the main stage at Dusk alongside popular performers like Kaskade and Two Door Cinema Club.

“We have set times, already structured, and we have a time slot set aside on our main stage for our DJ competition winner,” Cachia said. “That information will be released closer to the event.”

Look out for this year’s winner at the Dusk Music Festival.

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