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Another Look // Electronic Dance Music, a rising new culture

December 3, 2012

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(One of San Francisco’s weekly EDM events, Electric Pop Rave, has a large following of young adults)

            I was 18 when I went to my first rave. That was a little under three years ago. No one knew what Trap was, they didn’t listen to Skrillex, and no one could have imagined that only a couple years later, electronic dance music and events would be taking over.

It was raining out, yet there we were, scantily clad in bright costumes and glitter, on our way to see some of the best DJs perform at San Francisco’s Cow Palace. When I got in to the venue, everyone was hot and sweaty; some people were giving each other massages, some were making out, some were trading bracelets. Everyone was dancing. Everyone was happy.

As I stood there and absorbed my surroundings, I realized how many different types of people went to raves. There were boys, girls, african americans, caucasians, latinos, Asians, gays, straights, goths, preps, bros, you name it.

As my night ended, I finally understood why all these people headed out to places in the middle of now where, barely dressed to rave and dance all night. Raving was an adventure. From all the friendly people I met to the feeling of the music flowing through myself and the people around me, it was an experience.   All these years I had thought raving was some weird underground trend that never fully died from the 1990s.

I was wrong.

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(Thousands of fans gather to see Avicii at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco)

            In the past few years, electronic dance music has bridged a major gap between raving and pop culture.  Slowly transforming into a part of mainstream pop culture, electronic dance music is becoming popular and exceedingly fast.

Music festivals such as Coachella and other events around the United States are announcing lineups with more EDM artists than before. Electronic dance music festivals such as Electric Daisy Carnival, an annual massive thrown by Insomniac Events, are selling out within hours of tickets going on sale.

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(Coachella Valley Music Festival featured a large number of EDM artists on this years lineup)

            Electric Daisy Carnival had over 300,000 attendees this past June, while in 2008, there were only 65,000 attendees, according to insomniac.com.

Hand in hand with the increase in EDM fans, there have  been an increase in aspiring DJs. There are probably just as many aspiring DJs as there are  waiters/actors in Hollywood, yet thousands of young boys and girls are taking their talent to the turntables, hoping to make a name for themselves.

Aspiring DJ Joey Guigliemo loves the feeling he gets when he produces a track or sees the reactions of fans when hearing a new song. Guigliemo, otherwise known as King Kesh, thinks the overall rave experience is what is making electronic dance music and culture more attractive.

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(Joey Guigliemo, aka King Kesh, practices on his turn tables at his home)

            “The idea of a rave is so that you can experience the music to its greatest ability,” Guigliemo said. “It like going to theatre, it allows you to get the full throttle feeling of the lights, loud bass thumping speakers, sweat, heat and the energy from everyone else around you.”

When I think back to when EDM first entered my life, people thought I was weird for putting on songs that sounded like robots having sex. People judged my friends and I for going to raves. The only people who didn’t seem to care , were the ravers themselves. They were open to anything and actively followed the motto PLUR (Peace Love Unity and Respect).

However, it’s not like that anymore.

Everyone is raving. The kids who used to poke fun are now dressing up and heading out to EDM events such HARD Day of the Dead or Beyond Wonderland. So here’s my question, what the hell happened? When did the haters stop hating and turn into PLUR’d out E tards?

(Yasanni Martinez listens to electronic dance music every day and loves attending massives such as EDC)

“The rave community wasn’t as mainstream and big as it is now.” Said Yasanni Martinez, a 20-year-old college student who attends various EDM shows throughout San Francisco and southern California. Martinez reflects on raving and EDM culture before it got popular.

“No one cares about the PLUR or the kandi or the whole idea of going to make friends and loving everyone, it’s not about that, its more about partying and listening to mainstream artists.” She said.

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(Avicii, one of EDM’s more popular artist, performs in a larger than life head at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium)

            However, I don’t like to think that EDM is growing because people realized that partying and electronic dance music sounds good together. Yes, there are a couple EDM artists that come to mind who have made electronic dance music more available and mainstream, but I don’t think it’s just that either.

People like what EDM has to offer. From across the country to around the globe, EDM is gaining fans world wide and growing into its very own industry. As modern technology grows and our world adapts, people want more from their music. No one just wants to hear their favorite song live, they want to see it, feel it, and share that experience with the people around them.

Music is powerful.

It brings people together. Music from all types of genres has proven that. Right now we are seeing the birth of a new genre that will change the course of music for the future. Despite it’s past, Electronic Dance Music  isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, it’s taking the  music industry by the horns and riding it until the early hours of the morning.


Text and Photographs by Scarlette Tidy

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