If I’ve learned one thing about USC Events over the last two years, it’s that they know how to throw one hell of a party. From wide-appealing events like Lucky to the more targeted Bass Academy, USC always seems to balance their artist lineups with a solid mix of mainstream appeal and pure talent.

While parts of these events often felt like dreams, being able to go to Paradiso this year was literally a dream come true. I first found out about Paradiso while on a family vacation to Seattle in 2013, the year Kaskade – through the midst of dominating EDM radio – headlined. Being age 16 at the time, I had no hope of attending the festival, but I kept dreaming on for years to come.

This June, that dream became a reality as my +1 and I trekked out to the center of Washington for our first experience at the Gorge. After hours of driving, struggling through credentials and trying to find out where our tent belonged, the surprise view at the Gorge’s hilltop was WELL worth the wait. Through two full days, the scenery never ceased being an amazing, standout part of the experience.

Perhaps it was due to the venue being in the middle of nowhere, but the festival-goers seemed so detached from the stresses and pains of life, more so than I had ever seen before. Whether it was an hour of high-energy from Kayzo or a more cooled-down set from GRiZ, the people constantly let the power of music do its job and bring out the best qualities in them.

Like most USC festivals, Paradiso’s lineup was exceptionally stacked. To say the least, picking a stage to stay at was not an easy task, especially for bassheads. Though most of the heavy-hitters found themselves at “The Wreckage,” bass music dominated all three stages on both nights (seriously, how’s a fella supposed to choose between BaauerBlack Tiger Sex Machine and Mija??). Needless to say, we had to do a lot of stage-hopping, but it was well-worth the walking.

My favorite part of the weekend had to be seeing Porter Robinson return to his “Worlds” live show after doing back-to-back shows with Madeon throughout the last year. This was my third time seeing Porter, but ultimately was my favorite of the three (despite some mid-set technical difficulties). Some other highlights of the weekend were my first Seven Lions experience (his ability to flawlessly mix back and forth between house, dubstep and trance absolutely amazed me) and seeing Virtual Riot go B2B with Barely Alive (which I suppose was the next best thing to seeing Chodegang play EDC the week before).

In short, my dreams of ‘diso could not have possibly compared to the reality that the festival was. My lobster-tinted face might tell you otherwise, but Paradiso was a weekend of incredible memories and great people that we shared those memories with. If you haven’t been before, start planning now. I’ll see you at the Gorge next year!

In the meantime, ABGT250 is right around the corner. Don’t miss out on what are guaranteed to be two absolutely legendary nights at the Gorge, courtesy of Above & Beyond. Tickets available here.