A few minutes before midnight on New Year's Eve, three giant, digital clocks count down behind A-Trak. "Ten minutes," the New York DJ announces, breaking in over a remix of Kanye West. "Five minutes." He climbs up on top of the booth and waves his arms at the thousands of people before him, who twirl glow sticks and dance with hula hoops. Finally, the screens turn blindingly white, and the room explodes with balloons, confetti, and streamers. One girl to the side of the stage, unsteady in heels with a drink in her hand, falls over.
For most of the year, Dallas Market Hall plays host to conventions and trade shows, but tonight, A-Trak is playing day two of Lights All Night, the longest-running EDM festival in Texas. With the room's rows of vendor booths and neon lights—and a roster of performing artists that includes Above & Beyond, ASAP Ferg, and Zedd, Nero and RL Grime—the scene feels like a mix of a state fair midway and a bottle service club in Las Vegas. But it's also a kind of spectacle that's becoming increasingly common in the Lone Star State, where events like Sun City Music Festival, Ultimate Music Experience, and Day for Night have helped transform Texas into a hub for EDM.
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