Some of the best things in the world come in fives: fingers, toes, pentagons, quintuplets, points on a star, the Jackson 5 and now Neon Desert Music Festival! On top of that, it’s an added happy coincidence that their 5th anniversary happens to fall on 2015. So, in light of Neon Desert’s anniversary, we talked to Zach Paul—one of the Neon Desert Music Festival master architects—about his faves, raves and do’s and do not’s for the 2015 edition of NDMF.

Over 18,000 festival revelers are expected per day in this year’s 3 day music bash— up from the 15,000 per day last year. The numbers haven’t been the only thing growing— it’s almost like a full spectrum of genres are being represented now: hip-hop, electro, indie and Spanish rock all have a place in the 2015 lineup. So no matter how weird your music tastes are, you’re likely to find something you love and discover new sounds you’ll have on repeat.

As Neon Desert keeps growing and evolving with the music tastes of an equally diverse region, so does the amount of side-attractions that keeps festival goers entertained between sets. Local vendors, art, food and awesome drinks will be flowing through every street at NDMF. The fest is a great way to celebrate the border region and our historic Downtown—there’s nothing quite like watching the pulsating lights from the headliner washing over 100+ year old buildings surrounding the party.

Are you ready for #NDMF2015? Here’s Zach Paul’s look back through NDMF’s bests and tips to making this year the best year ever.

Five Favorite Performances


1. Los Amigos Invicibles (2011) – This performance was super memorable for me for a number of reasons: 1. I’m a huge fan and 2. they took the stage right at sunset as the sun was going down, and had amassed a huge crowd and everyone was singing every word to each song.

FUSION_MAGAZINE_NEON_DESERT_2012-1302. Ghostland Observatory (2012) – This was their first time ever playing in El Paso, so they had a great crowd. I had been wanting to get them in El Paso for a long time, and they were great.


3. MGMT (2014) – Getting MGMT to come down to El Paso was fun! They hadn’t been in El Paso in several years and having them back was amazing.


4. Zedd (2014) – The crowd last year at Zedd was CRAZY! That’s definitely one of those performances that stick out. He’s been a DJ and artist that has been gaining a lot of momentum, and we caught him right as he was heading straight to the top.


5. Bloody Beetroots (2014) – This is a group we’ve been trying to book for several years and getting them was a huge win for us.

Five Things To Not Do at NDMF

  1. Drink too much – There’s nothing worse than when you’ve partaken in too much alcohol, then you don’t get to enjoy the festival; get too drunk and get kicked out.
  2. Not Drinking Enough Water – When you’re not drinking enough water, that’s when you start running the risk of getting sick and passing out. You can prevent much of that by just staying hydrated.
  3. Try To Sneak In – We catch people every year trying to sneak in. We take that stuff very seriously; we have over a hundred security officers and over 50 police officers that are surrounding the fest every year. We sell out tickets for a pretty fair price and you think someone would be able to buy a 3-day wristband at an early bird price. Even right now, the $119 price for a 3-day festival with this kind of performing talent is amazing.
  4. Don’t Fight or Be Rude – This is another obvious one. We take the safety and security of our fest very seriously and we’re proud to say that we’ve never had a single arrest!
  5. Don’t Be Disrespectful – I know this one is very vague, but it’s just a good rule to follow in life. Respect the talent, respect the people working the fest—respect your fellow attendees. Everyone is there to have a good time, drink cool drinks, have great local food and have fun.

Five Performances to Not Miss at #NDMF2015 

  1. Kaskade – He played a small event at The Garden a little over a year ago with a few hundred people in attendance, but he is one of the biggest electronic artists out there! Kaskade for sure is gonna be crazy!
  2. Cypress Hill – These guys are one of my favorites and I listen to them at least a few times on a weekly basis. I grew up listening to them all throughout middle school and high school. They’re a perfect fit for El Paso; a little hip-hop—that Latino aspect .That performance is going to be on fire!
  3. La Mala Rodriguez – She is Spanish, very hip-hop, very cool, beautiful and a tremendous amount of confidence. She really takes control of the stage.
  4. Passion Pit – They’re one of the bigger indie bands around right now, and I don’t think that they’ve ever performed in El Paso. They’ve played festivals all over the world and to have them perform in Downtown El Paso is just going to be awesome.
  5. J. Cole – He’s really been killing’ it the past few years and he’s just on his way to the top and he’s getting ready to go on a huge tour this summer. This guy has sold out Madison Square Garden; he’s sold out the Staples Center in a matter of 15-20 minutes. J. Cole is already a star and I’m excited to see him come to El Paso.

Five Features to Check out at #NDMF2015 

  1. Live Art – Not only do we feature local and regional artists, but we also fly in visual artists from around the Southwest. We also provide these guys with huge art walls and they’ll paint them all weekend long. It’s fun to just sit there and hang out for 20 minutes watching these guys do their thing.
  2. Mercado – This year, Visit El Paso is our mercado sponsor. There’s a lot of different vendors that will be selling all sorts of stuff—they’re all from our Border region. They’ll also be in the same area as the food vendors, so it’ll have a really nice flow.
  3. Big Sponsors – AT&T will be there, Mini of El Paso, Southwest University and Whataburger will have huge presences at Neon Desert Music Festival and doing giveaways. We wouldn’t be here without our sponsors, so make sure to show them some love!
  4. Our Bars – These aren’t your typical bars! You definitely need to check out one of these—Bud Light  comes in with these ‘build-a-bars’ which are basically these bars that come in on a trailer and unfold. You can check out a game, relax and get a good drink.
  5. VIP Section – If you’ve never been, give the VIP section a shot! It’s totally worth it—you’ll get complimentary beer, wine water, a Neon Desert t-shirt, food, massages, hookahs, tarot card readings, hair styling and more. It’s going to be a whole new experience in itself!

Get Connected:

Text: Crysti Couture

No more articles