Can’t wait to catch Electric Wizard, Beach House and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, but curious how the move to Mandalay Bay might change Psycho Las Vegas? We can relate.
Since the fourth-year Vegas festival announced its move from the Hard Rock Hotel to the south-Strip resort—and then unveiled a wide-ranging lineup than veers from heavy (Megadeth, Opeth) to dance-y (The Faint, Cold Cave) with many stops along the way (Mogwai, Bad Religion, Glassjaw, The Black Angels)—devoted attendees have wondered how their favorite fest will fit at the more-sprawling Mandalay Bay.
On Thursday, we met on-site with Psycho creator Evan Hagen to get some details about his plans for the August 15-18 gathering.
• Psycho will utilize five stages: Daylight’s pool for its August 15 Psycho Swim pre-party headlined by Corrosion of Conformity (open to festival VIP ticket holders, or with a separate $35 ticket); the Mandalay Bay Events Center, where music will begin at 2 p.m. August 16-18, with headliners set to begin at 9:30 p.m. (standing room and seating will be available); House of Blues, where music will run from noon to 1 a.m., with a break during the headliners’ sets in the Events Center (standing room and seating will be available); Mandalay Bay Beach, where bands will play from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.; and the Rhythm & Riffs Lounge, which will host DJs, cover bands and other regional acts throughout the weekend.
As for the longer walk between, say, the Events Center and House of Blues than between the Joint and Vinyl in past years, Hagen assures that getting around Mandalay Bay will be quick and easy. “When I first came in, I thought, ‘This place is huge,’ but actually, the whole festival is right here,” he says, gesturing to the swath of casino from House of Blues to the Events Center. “Overall, it’s the same size as it was, in terms of the footprint—a six-to-seven-minute walk from one end to the other.”
Hagen adds that he spent “a lot of time with the schedule this year to avoid clashes and to make sure all the [venues] are full,” though, he concedes with a laugh, “Some people will still complain.”
• Psycho will once again host a blackjack tournament, on Sunday, August 18, with a custom motorcycle going to the overall winner.
• For the first time, Psycho will utilize a festival app, which will reflect any unexpected schedule changes in real time.
• Psycho has begun handling visa paperwork for overseas acts, Hagen says, to minimize the risk of acts cancelling at the last minute. In 2018, headliner Witchcraft—along with Venom Inc. and Dopethrone—bowed out of Psycho due to visa issues. “This will make it a smoother operation,” Hagen says.
• Above all, Hagen stresses that Psycho will retain “the same vibe as at Hard Rock” in its new Mandalay Bay home. “If I wanted to book a sold-out festival I’d book Korn and Avenged Sevenfold, but want to keep doing it this way. I listen to all kinds of music, not just metal, so I like expanding to [include] other genres."
As for how Psycho’s look might transfer over, Hagen says: “At the Hard Rock, by the third year we were pretty dialed in. Here it’s 1.0. We’re just gonna see how it goes, do it pretty basic and see what makes sense for next year.”
Psycho Las Vegas tickets run from $109 per day to $249 for three-day GA passes and are on sale now at vivapsycho.com.