Together Festival Returns in 2016 for Music, Art, and Technology
May 10th, 2016Sarah Ribeiro
Every spring, Boston kicks off festival season with Together, a weeklong festival held in Cambridge that celebrates the best of Boston nightlife. With visual and musical artists from around the world coming to the great northeast, Together is a whirlwind week that brings dance music fans from all walks of life together (hence the name) for seven full days of music, dancing, and collaborative ideas moving Boston and its arts scene forward. This year, Together is back at it, celebrating its seventh year by throwing Boston’s biggest weeklong dance party from May 15th to May 22nd.
The festival, which prides itself on its focus on music, art, and technology, traditionally spans through Cambridge and Boston, hosting daytime programming at the Together Center at Mmmmaven in Central Square, and nighttime shows at multiple venues. In recent years, Together has shifted its focus on a more Cambridge-central located festival, hosting events at venues such as Middle East, Lily Pad, Middlesex Lounge, Phoenix Landing, Zuzu, and The Sinclair.
Despite the heavy nightlife, this is not only a nighttime party — Together starts in the early afternoon with its educational daytime programming. In the past, daytime events have included Ableton and Serrato classes and demos, conversations with DJs and writers, film screenings, seminars, panels, and more. Together is not for the faint of heart; dedicated festival-goers are known to head to daytime programming and not return home until the bars close at 2am, rinsing and repeating throughout the full week.
While Together embraces all facets of electronic music, its primary focus is on house and techno. This year’s lineup is filled with house favorites, as acts like Giraffage, Matthew Dear, Jon Hopkins, The Black Madonna, Floating Points, J.Phlip, Natasha Diggs, and DJ Minx dominate the bill. However, bass fans can still get their fill, as the preliminary lineup features Headhunter, Ivy Lab, and Ben UFO. The lineup is rounded out with countless local talent, ensuring a week of incredible music.
Although music dominates the festival, Together makes showcasing the visual arts an equal priority. Since 2013, the Together VJ Competition has been a highlight for artists to showcase their skills in animation, projection, and entertainment. The competition rounds up local (and a few not-so-local) artists in a visual-based dance party, placing them head-to-head on dual screens for 10-minute sets accompanied by resident DJs to keep the crowd moving. This non-stop art show is judged by a team that takes Technical Abilities, Showmanship, Audience Interaction, Creativity, and more into account to decide on the best Together VJ of the year.
And the visual experience doesn’t end there: this year, Together hosts the Zebbler Encanti Experience (aka ZEE), a duo featuring Zebbler and Encanti, visual artists extraordinaire, who are the creative minds behind the Shpongletron. As follows their style, ZEE is expected to present a psychedelic, hallucinatory experience in their projections and video installations — this is one creative event not to miss during the fest.
Passes are currently in their third tier and are on sale now for $155. Passholders receive complimentary access to all Together events, subject to event capacity on a first-come, first-served basis.
Sarah Ribeiro is a social media correspondent for Together Festival.