The word “tame” is not often used to describe the world’s largest paint party, which is scheduled to visit Austin on Saturday at The Backyard concert venue. Life in Color, the event formerly known as Dayglow, attracts more than 2,500 attendees on average and has acquired a reputation for leaving paramedic teams scrambling to treat injured party-goers.
Drawing inspiration from the Zion tribal rave in “The Matrix Reloaded,” Life in Color is a salacious dance party filled with paint, blaring house-music and a fair number of intoxicated college students. The music component of the concert will be handled by techno artist R3hab.
Michael Frazier, the director of operations at Committee Entertainment, wrote in an e-mail that the show this weekend is “almost sold out.”
Committee Entertainment, the Florida-based company responsible for concerts like Dayglow and Life in Color, has received a considerable amount of negative press over the years from college administrations and police departments alike. Confined spaces packed with thousands of people tend to produce extreme temperatures and voluminous quantities of vomit. Among others things, these corporate-sponsored raves are difficult to manage from a logistical standpoint.
Roger Wade, senior public information officer at the Travis County Sheriff’s Office, said extra patrols will be on duty Saturday to help control traffic and monitor any illegal activities that take place during the event.
Although Committee Entertainment bars entry to guests that are visibly intoxicated and does not serve alcohol at its events, the company treads on thin ice with a number of college administrations. Back in 2011 when Dayglow visited Lehigh University, the party had “mass casualties” with approximately 44 attendees rushed to nearby hospitals for medical treatment. In April of last year, the University of Maine strained to handle 16 medical transportations.
Common injuries at Dayglow events have included severe dehydration due to alcohol consumption, hypothermia and eye irritation from sprayed paint.
In spite of such dangers, Committee Entertainment continues to attract new customers every year. The Life in Color rave is now a direct competitor for the Barstool Blackout Tour, a similar concert event sponsored by the male-oriented blog, Barstool Sports. The marketing teams for both companies have often butted heads while vying for a dwindling number of cooperative venues. Dave Portnoy, owner and head blogger of the online sports website, wrote in a charged blog entry last spring that he sees a rather apparent double standard.
“Take for example tonight. [University of Massachusetts] Lowell is hosting Dayglow at Tsongas arena. This is the same venue where I tried to book the Blackout Tour, but was told by the [general manager that] while she’d love to do it, the [University of Massachusetts] administrators said no,” Portnoy wrote. “They were fine with Dayglow though.”
Committee Entertainment has been denied re-entry to its fair share of venues as well, including Lehigh University and Central Michigan University. Austin, however, has consistently hosted Dayglow concerts for the past couple of years.
Perhaps it’s an unrealistic expectation for 2,500 excited college-age students to gather in a safe and orderly fashion, but even if a rave manages to hospitalize 15 people, that’s less than 1 percent of the total concert-going population.
Colton Lewis, Plan II Honors Program student and biology freshman, explained that he is “not entirely sure what to expect” at the concert this weekend.
“I bought some crazy clothes from a thrift store last weekend, so I’m ready in that sense,” Lewis said. “But I’m really hoping things don’t get too out of hand.”