Internationally renowned DJ and dubstep pioneer Skrillex will play at Cargo Concert Hall this weekend, but unless you’re one of 1,000 people who had internet access and some very quick fingers on the day the show was announced, you won’t get to see him.
“The show just sold out in record time,” said Ric De La Rosa, community outreach coordinator at Fresh Bakin’, the production company responsible for booking the show. “It’s a record for both Fresh Bakin’ and Cargo Concert Hall—1,000 tickets in three hours and 40 minutes.”
Fresh Bakin’ was founded by Steve Emmerich in 2002 and has worked with numerous venues in Reno and along the West Coast, including large events like the annual SnowGlobe Music Festival at Lake Tahoe. Fresh Bakin’ produced the most recent show Skrillex played in Reno, a 2016 benefit for the Burning Man sculpture “Space Whale.” The sculpture was built at the Sparks artists’ co-op the Generator by a group of artists called the Pier Group. The show on July 20 is a similar benefit for the Pier Group’s newest project, a giant sculpture called “Head Maze.”
“The story that I have been told was that Skrillex came across the Pier Group’s art at Burning Man, and he was very inspired by it and wanted to do something to help support their next project,” De La Rosa said.
The Pier Group and its founder, Matt Schultz, have been responsible for several large, attention-grabbing sculptures at Burning Man over the past decade, including “The Space Whale,” and works like “The Pier” and “The Ship” in 2011 and 2012 respectively. According to its online fundraising profile on the site fundrazr.com, the planned “Head Maze” will be a 40-foot human head, containing a 4-story, 18-room maze symbolizing “the complexities of cognition, our common struggle between body and mind, nature and nurture, and our persistently fluctuating perception of self.”
“The Skrillex team, reached out to Steve [Emmerich] and also to Matt [Schultz], I believe at the same time, with the intent of hosting a concert to benefit Burning Man art projects here locally,” De La Rosa said.
Skrillex is one of a few celebrity musicians with a well-documented presence at Burning Man, often playing impromptu shows at large camps, or wandering the playa interacting with Burners. His relationship with Burning Man, and the Pier Group’s work specifically, goes back to at least 2014, when he was reportedly impressed by “Embrace” a 72-foot wooden sculpture of two human figures locked in each other’s arms.
“I personally have actually seen Skrillex perform at Burning Man many times,” De La Rosa said. “He really embodied a lot of that Burning Man spirit, as far as, he goes out there and just shares his art with people, which is really special. And if you’ve seen any of those sets on the playa, you never really know what you’re going to get. The fact that he wants to come back really says, I think, a lot about his inspiration from the past event and, apparently, also his inspiration from Reno.”
De La Rosa said the details of the show this weekend are being kept quiet by Skrillex’s management, but that they have promised the crowd a few “surprises” which may or may not be announced ahead of time. If you missed out on tickets, Reno fans can see Skrillex next Friday, and every Friday this summer, with the additional cost of a ticket to Vegas, where he will continue his residency at the KAOS nightclub throughout September.