Sets in the West music festival uses EDM to give back to the community

The West campus is bringing music and charitable causes together for one exciting evening

Both local and established electronic dance music artists are coming together for a night of dancing and charity on the West campus for the Sets in the West music festival on March 23. 

The setlist includes up and coming local artists such as LICK, Deux Yeux, Korey Wade, and DJ T.M., as well as artists from outside the Arizona area, including Los Angeles-based Louis Futon, who has toured with artists such as ODESZA, Louis the Child, and Troyboi. 

Forensics junior Dakota Villanueva, whose stage name is Kota Casey, will open the festival. Villanueva is excited to start off the show and hype up the crowd.

“You can tell that EDM in Phoenix is on the rise - it’s getting bigger and bigger each year,” Villanueva said. “Small festivals like this are contributing to the bigger factor of EDM in Phoenix.” 

The festival will not only include a main stage with LED screens and visuals by OPET, but also a separate area for a silent disco. There will be free henna, games, food trucks and a collection of art booths for attendees to check out between acts. 

“We wanted to show that Arizona has a musical movement going on,” said business administration freshman Oscar Orozco, who is the director of marketing for the Programming and Activities Board for the West Campus. 

The festival is connected to #PartyWithAPurpose, a United Way movement that encourages people to use party settings as way to give back to the community by pushing hosts to include charitable donations as part of their events. 

“You can have a really good time, bring people together, but at the end of the day, you’re raising funds for charity,” said Torrie Yerkovich, the affinity manager at Valley of the Sun United Way.

Although entrance to the festival is free, attendees are encouraged to donate to the Valley of the Sun United Way, which supports ending homelessness and hunger and assists in stabilizing families in low-income areas. The organization partners with charities like the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to assist children in struggling communities. 

Jose Ordaz Saldivar, the ASU PAB West event coordinator and a communication senior, was inspired to support the United Way campaign based on his experiences with similar programs as a child.  

“I just want to give back to non-profits because I know how much they have helped me, and I know how much they help families in struggling communities,” Saldivar said. 

Creating a festival like Sets in the West has always been a dream for Saldivar, as he has a deep passion for helping others and the healing properties of music, he said.

“Music is therapeutic,” Saldivar said. “I want to create an escape for students to just let go for a couple of hours. If I can combine helping people, helping an organization and music, and put that all in one, then I’ll do it.” 

This year marks the first Sets in the West Festival but Saldivar said he hopes the festival will become an ASU tradition while maintaining the overall objective of giving back to the community. 

“No matter where you are in the world, there’s always someone in need,” Orozco said. “The main idea of the festival is really to give back.”

Reach the reporter at and follow @meganbarbera_ on Twitter. 

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