Life In Color founders Sebastian Solano, Paul Campbell, and twin brothers Lukasz & Patryk Tracz started out as roommates on the Florida State University campus. Initially throwing well-planned house parties, they soon graduated to more and more elaborate gatherings.
The foursome had already formed as Committee Entertainment when they learned of a FSU fraternity event where students threw non-toxic paint at each other. Believing the unique element would raise their parties to a new level, they incorporated it into their show and trademarked the name Dayglow. And they were right.
While the first Dayglow party drew fewer than 1,000 people to a Florida nightclub, the travelling paint-party now known as Life In Color has grown into a global brand that celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.
"The biggest original parties were in 1,500- to 2,000-person nightclubs," says Life In Color COO Eric Fuller. "There was only a sliver of the production and local DJs. Now these events can cost up to several million dollars and the sheer amount of work that goes into them is significantly greater."
The talent involved has increased significantly as well. Life In Color has boasted headliners such as Martin Garrix, Kaskade , Diplo , Zed's Dead, The Chainsmokers, Steve Aoki , and Calvin Harris in recent years.
Life In Color: 10 Years of Color
When: 9 p.m. Apr. 22
Where: Valley View Casino Center, 3500 Sports Arena Blvd., Point Loma
Featured acts: Cash Cash, A-Trak & Rusko
Everything associated with the traveling festival seems to growing exponentially, and the paint involved is no exception. Life In Color orders their non-toxic key ingredient by the pallet-full, and a show like the one coming to the Valley View Casino Center on Saturday night calls for 700 gallons. But even that staggering number is misleading.
"We dilute it," says Life In Color Marketing Manager Paul Reed. "We have a ratio we use to mix it with water. So you're really looking at 1,500 gallons of paint that is going to be distributed. And that's not counting any of the bottles or anything. That's just what will be coming from the stage cannons and hoses."
Attendees are reminded multiple times to be dressed in attire that will likely get covered in paint, and it helps that this year's tour is called "10 Years of Color." But even the performers sometimes forget Life In Color's premier component.
British DJ and dubstep producer Rusko, who, along with New Jersey trio Cash Cash and Canadian turntablist A-Track, is headlining Saturday's event, learned the hard way - even after multiple appearances at the festival.
"I left one time completely covered in paint," he said. "As a DJ, you can go either route. But if you turn up with your brand new sneakers on, you won't be spared. I didn't consider that the first time and ended up covered. And it'll likely happen again."
But the performer also known as Christopher Mercer thinks the mess is more than worth it.
"When you drop a track and the paint hits," he said, "it works better than the giant, cryo, smoke-jets in the club. They coincide the hoses with the drops in the tracks and it works better than those big club effects. It's different and people are stoked."
That seems like an understatement. Life In Color hits the decade mark bigger and better than ever. But instead of expanding even further, organizers are instead opting to slow down a bit and re-invest their gains on quality instead of quantity - the very thing that built the brand in the first place.
"We're just always trying to evolve," says Fuller. "It's like, 'how do we make the party better?' 'How do we expand the production?' 'How can we get the music louder and the lights brighter?'"
"All of us love dance music," adds Reed. "It's the reason why we're doing this. So it's great to watch this community grow and more people be exposed to it."