THE EDM CULTURAL EXPERIENCE

A 16-hour car ride across 5 different states just might make someone a little stir crazy…

Sleeping in a wet, dirty tent with all of your clothes soaked may cause one to reconsider ever camping again.Waiting in a line with hundreds of patrons ahead of you from sun up to sun down can feel like an eternity. And losing your friends for hours on end in a crowd of tripping hippies may just give you a mild heart attack.

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But these are the situations that thousands of EDM lovers find themselves in during the festival season. YES, EDM festivals have their own season.

From the start of March to the end of August these events are prioritized on every Basshead’s summer bucket list. Some people travel thousands of miles across the country to see their favorite DJ perform. Others bounce from festival to festival to see the same DJ perform every weekend.

                                        bisco3

But through the good, the bad, and well, whatever you want to call that naked dancing hippie, festivals have become the grounds for a new community that abides by the law of PLUR (Peace, Love, Unity and Respect).

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For one weekend you might just find yourself wandering through a magical forest in Michigan, illuminated by unreal lighting effects and psychedelic interactive artwork. The bass vibrates throughout your body and your heart leads you towards the unknown. Or maybe you might decide to venture up to the heights of Montage Mountain in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where the infamous Camp Bisco has been reborn after a year of hiatus.

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Cool off in the wave pool while the Disco Biscuits play one of their extended sets. If you’re willing to sweat the heat, Ultra Miami is the place to be during spring break where the biggest names in EDM make their way to this international phenomenon. And don’t get me started about the island of Ibiza in Spain. This EDM capital of the world is where festival season is celebrated year round, making this destination one of my personal
favorites to experience EDM culture.

But how can one understand the EDM festival scene without having ventured to one of these events? Well, you can’t. These festivals are life changing, at least from my own perspective. Where else can you lay in a hammock all day next to your “festy fam” and listen to the endless beats of EDM echoing from the main stage? Nowhere. Where else can you hoola hoop for hours on end to the sounds of your favorite DJ? Nowhere! Where else can you dance your inhibitions away and not have a care in the world. NOWHERE I SAY! Ok, this is getting a little dramatic, but as a proud EDM junkie, I believe in the soul of these festival experiences. Ask anyone who has gone to one. EDM festivals are the balls!

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If there were to be one single world to describe the festival experience it would be carnivalesque…

Music festivals have no limit, literally…unless it starts raining or a storm approaches then it’s time to take cover.

But other than weather intermissions and flash floods, there is very little one has to worry about while in the land of EDM. There are usually no cops on the premises. Sure, they might be replaced by Hell’s Angels gang members, but they do not have the authority to  arrest anyone participating in illegal activities. Maybe beat the living daylights out of you for selling MDMA or Acid to fellow festival goers but other than that the drug dealers roam freely around these camp grounds. Could this be considered a serious safety and health hazard for festival patrons, OF COURSE! But company’s like DanceSafe sets up drug testing tents on the premises with the permission of the festival (hosts). At almost any EDM festival you will see a DanceSafe tent with people of all ages testing their newfound goods.

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Is this stretch of freedom too much to even consider a legal institution. I am not the one to judge. I personally refrain from drug use because I believe in the power of music, not drugs. But once you enter a music festival into the main stage grounds its like crossing the border of Mexico. The festival workers search every person who enters the grounds. So yes, there are precautions being taken at these festivals, but is this enough? If they find you with drugs the security will simply discard them in the trash and let you enter the festival. Are we in Amsterdam? Who knows. There is a fine line being crossed here where maybe we have to question the validity of these music festivals. Maybe not. If no one dies from an overdose does that make the festival a success? Not sure. But what I do know is, Camp Bisco lost its permit due to overdose deaths but soon returned a year later in a newer and bigger location. Umass Amherst placed a ban on all EDM concerts after a slew of fatal overdoses around the country started by the popular club drug Molly. But then lifted the ban a few months later.

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EDM culture seems to be able to slip through the cracks and revive itself into something bigger, something that is growing exponentially. EDM is a movement that cannot be stopped. Like its predecessors will EDM die? Disco only lasted a decade right? Only time will tell, but until then lets enjoy the energy and social connection that EDM brings to its listeners. PEACE, LOVE, UNITY and RESPECT!

Watch the aftermath!

 By Paul Durkin

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