Recently we discussed why EDM (Electronic Dance Music) is gaining popularity in the U.S. Aside from the musical treats provided by this genre; another reason to consider giving EDM a try is the crowd of super sweet people attracted to EDM events.
We interviewed a couple of EDM fans who have attended numerous events. Cody and Benny were very candid in their responses and have requested we use first names only due to the nature of the information they share.
Are there drugs at these scenes? Sure. More than at other musical events? Not necessarily. Anyone who has attended a rock concert can acknowledge tailgating often involves more than beer.
When asked about drugs at events, Cody had this to say -
I have been to many festivals and shows outside of the edm arena because I absolutely love live music.... that being said with the acceptance and the drug thing.... edm is most accepting crowd out of the bunch... for instance bonnaroo is geared towards big names and also jam bands however there is sooooo many drugs at those festivals... crack... mescaline... people doing nitrous ballons(sic)... meth... pills upon pills... the have a road at most of these festivals called shakedown street where you can literally find any drug under the sun if you look hard enough..... with edm festivals the drugs are there don't get me wrong but you don't have people running around offering you shit left and right like at these other festivals... when I went to bonnaroo for the first time I got in an ounce of weed... mushrooms... alcohol... and the crew I was with had all sorts of shit (I'm clean now... this was ten or so years ago) now I got to edc vegas almost every year and it's hard as shit to get drugs in... they are like hawks... people rarely offer drugs.... and the people who do bring in shit bring it for themselves so I would be bold enough to say that edm has in my opinion one of the least shady crowds and drugs being sold and taken.... now whenever you see a death it's usually at an edm show because it's some young douche that took way more than they should have..
Benny also feels the drug culture at EDM shows is on par with any musical event -
Drug culture is and will always go hand in hand with all forms of art especially music. To create and enjoy all art drug use has long been a mainstay but not a necessity, especially with music. I think that dance/electronic music gets a bad rap mainly because when people enjoy it live it tends to be in a more festival environment or more often at shows that are much longer in duration. When that happens with any genre of music from Jam-Band festivals, Bluegrass, Metal, Rock, Hip-Hop, or Dance there is always a much higher chance that the partiers will overindulge and/or try substances that they are less familiar with and possibly get ill or become hospitalized. This is NOT unique to the dance scene, it is just the NEW target of a problem that has been around for decades. Alcohol and other drugs can be lethal and people should educate themselves before ingesting anything. When there are thousands in one location all letting loose there of course will be a higher chance of overindulgence or worse.
Benny is also quick to defend the accusations that DJs are not musicians -
I have been a fan of Electronic/dance music since I was a teenager ...like 95'. Back then events were much more underground, word of mouth. There were parties that would happen monthly or somewhat frequently but the venue would change and/or not be announced until the day of as to provide as long of a party as possible without the fear of getting shut down. When I was under 18 it was tricky to get into parties at all but I could with some help. The parties I attended when younger were weekly/monthly club events in DC and NYC, or random warehouse/field parties in MD/VA/PA. There weren't many mega clubs in those days, besides Velvet Nation in DC which is no longer...it is now where the Washington Nationals bball stadium stands….DJ is a term that is used too loosely. Back in the day DJ was a person that used vinyl records to splice and meld musical genres and sample and present older music in a new fresh way. While that still exists there are composers that create their own music entirely using computer software, and other means of music input whether digital or more analog with vinyl. They still are creating something new and using their talents and savvy to create and change music from them or others. But it is composition rather than strictly vinyl.
According to Cody, the greatest asset to EDM entertainment is the welcoming environment-
edm has the most wide open door policy when it comes to acceptance.... young... old... white... black... gay... transgender... girls who wear pasties over there boobs with a bikini and fluffy boots to girls wearing fancy little black dresses with heals all under one roof and Noone looks at anyone differently the music is a direct connect to the soul where people don't ask why your here or how come she's wearing that or why is he dancing with another dude? BECAUSE IT DOESN'T MATTER.... people promote "plur" as lame as it sounds the rave crowd try to live off plur ... peace... love...unity...respect... it's what we do… (sic)
And there it is; PLUR - Peace Love Unity Respect
Like Hippies at the original Woodstock; modern festival attendees meld their celebrations with their personal beliefs. From fashion to dancing, the main ideal seems to be tolerance of individuality while working together to create an opening environment. Festivals like Burning Man pioneered the sense of community that has developed into the PLUR culture that attendees promote at events.
As Benny describes -
PLUR means Peace, Love, Unity, Respect it is the official law of dance party enthusiasts. To keep the scene safe and respectful and keep the core principles in check to not have things get to cliquish or rowdy or dangerous. Looking out for one another and having love for the scene that transcends any differences in musical taste, personalities, sexual orientation, gender identity etc.
Photo courtesy of Google User
As Cody states -
now I'm not saying people don't act rude and talk shit but nothing nearly as bad as I've seen outside of the edm community... I could never take my boyfriend to a lil Wayne show or an incubus show and show some type of affection towards him for fear of people being ignorant... at a rave I can dance with boys girls the pole and no one cares... I dance with straight dudes all the time at these shows and they don't think twice about it... electronic music is about unity and acceptance it's why we listen it's why we attend these shows.... it's about leaving all preconceived notions at the door and letting the music take you to places you never thought possible for a couple hours or days at a time... there's not better high than a crowd full of people all different all accepting all on the same vibe all because some producers is good with a computer and can align certain sounds to to make the world stop for a short time.. (sic)
Most enjoy the sense of unity that comes with practicing PLUR so much; they end up carrying the practice into their daily lives.
Which makes you wonder; could the influence of the growing EDM scene in the younger generation, combined with the aging hippie population, be responsible for some of the changes the U.S. has seen in the past few years? Is it just a coincidence that politics are leaning heavily towards acceptance of personal lifestyles (including drugs and equal rights for marriage and adoption) as the festival scene gains traction?
Or could the PLUR culture actually be influencing change in the world?
What do you think? Share your opinions in the comments below!