Now that Ultra Music Festival has mesmerized EDM fans in 185 countries, it’s time to talk about why festivals matter and why you should go!
But first, a little background: I am a music festival addict to the bone. I cannot get enough. I attended Vans Warped Tour as a young punk rocker in high school and in college, along with other day-long music festivals, mostly in the punk and alternative genre. The punk scene was so attractive to me as a pre-teen and beyond because it had this amazing sense of unity and empowerment. I felt like I totally belonged. I wasn’t weird for making my own clothes or fighting for my rights and the rights of others. I truly felt like I could make a positive difference in the world. And I wasn’t alone. Punk wasn’t about lying down and taking it just because bad things are “going to happen anyway.” For me, and others, it was about standing up, fighting back, and bringing people together, no matter how different.
Punk rock eventually led me to having a more of an indie-punk fashion sense and to listening to post-hardcore. These post-hardcore bands started to use synths more and more as years went on. Although synths had been used in hardcore and similar genre since the early 90’s, the first albums I came across with a heavy synth presence were between 2006 and 2008. It sounded more like electro-hardcore to me. And I loved it, a lot! So more and more I developed a love for bands with electronic elements. Electro-pop, electro-core, and so on.
Then Bonnaroo happened. I had heard rumours of the modern-Woodstock and I knew I had to check it out. A couple of my close guy friends were going and I quickly claimed a spot in their car for the 17+ hour drive to Manchester, TN in the summer of 2011.
It changed everything.
Let me explain: I am a person who thrives on unity and connectedness. I am highly social and I love to share anything; art, music, experiences, higher consciousness receptacles… you know, the usual. I have actually been brought to tears at business events for the energy supply company North American Power because of their powerful opportunity that connects people all over the United States(and hopefully the world some day!). I know, I’m lame, but it’s true! Tears have welled in my eyes at many-a-music festival!
Anyway, back to Bonnaroo. This was the first music festival of it’s kind that I had ever been to. It was a week-long adventure for us round-trip as we were driving from CT to TN stopping for one night each way. Once there, it was a four-day music festival. I had never seen anything so beautiful, so inspiring. Tent City was just magical. Over 100,000 people in tents and RVs all there for the music and each other. I saw music all day and all night, making friends at every show, under every tree, by every tent. I had one profound experience in the middle of the night while watching Bassnectar, I believe. I was dancing up on a hill with my lovely friends when I paused and looked out over the people. Everyone was so beautiful. So many glowing parts, moving and dancing. I saw so much connectedness and unity. We were all there together. No one was thinking, “Wow, that guy looks like an idiot,” or “Could she be any dumber?” We were dancing, almost primitively, and that was it. I just loved everyone there!
After Bonnaroo I became obsessed with electronic dance music, or EDM. This meant I HAD to attend Ultra Music Festival in Miami, Fl in 2012. Turned out to be a life-changing choice because I fell in love with my boyfriend there that year! This festival was special also because it is strictly EDM, every artist, every stage. From there I was a total addict attending any festival I could afford like Electric
Daisy Carnival New York, Camp Bisco, Electric Zoo, ASOT600NYC(and MIA) and any individual DJ that comes around.
If you know about EDM then you know it has a unifying effect like no other type of music. People are so accepting of everything you are. You simply cannot be weird, even if you tried. Chicago-born DJ Kaskade had this to say in response to an LA Times article slamming the rave scene “… Know this: as far as a music culture goes, EDM is the one who will accept the kids on the outliers, the ones who get bullied, the ones who feel like they may not quite fit in. This community is exceptional in its ability to bond all types together, and I am not exaggerating when I say it saves lives. Our audience is intelligent and kind, discriminating only in regards to which sound they like best. Our audience is unprecedented in their drive to proactively support each other.”