Friends who rave together, stay together.
Those who have perused the English language are aware that almost any word or group of words defining an activity could be placed before the first “together” to make a halfway decent adage about camaraderie. Such phrases are often found printed on t-shirts or written in an appealing font on an Instagram post. Linguistic purveyors may argue that the activity should be a single syllable word with a long “A” sound in order to properly compliment “stay”, but versatility is one of the many qualities of the language.
What I’ve come to learn in my travels though, is that friends who rave together really do stay together, and what’s at the heart of raving is electronic music.
Music is a universal language, and because of that every genre with a significant following will nurture a community, but the relationships formed through electronic music go deeper than most. Here’s some reasons why.
1. EDM is social music by nature
A short time ago, the thought of a DJ standing on an enormous platform in front of thousands of people was absolutely unheard of. Club DJs were born in the shadows under a thick cloud of smoke, and simply existed to provide a danceable soundtrack while patrons interacted with each other. No one was there to watch the DJ spin, because in reality, without all the bright lights, LED screens, and standing on the table, DJing isn’t really a sight to behold in and of itself. The lack of attention stuck on the DJ combined with the simplistic nature of dance music encouraged listeners not just to dance, but to dance with each other. Dancing was a way of connecting with people separate from simply walking up and introducing yourself.
Other than representing a common interest in the music being heard, dancing displays confidence and energy to multiple people at once, and also by nature makes you seem more approachable. There also isn’t any kind of set way to get down to dance music like country music has square dancing and waltz has well, waltz. When you see someone dancing their feet off at a rave, that’s simply an expression of how the music makes that person feel. The people dancing the hardest at the show are the people having the best time, and EDM promotes dancing more than any other kind of music out there. This is why dance music attracts so many genuine people. It allows them to genuinely express themselves.
2. EDM fits right in the background
With raves getting bigger and bigger, it’s easy to forget that electronic music still has a very prosperous underground scene that goes beyond the Neon Garden at EDC or Ultra’s Resistance stage. Because electronic music is much cheaper and much less of a hassle to accommodate, it is the most common genre of music heard at festivals. This may not be surprising due to electronic music’s overall bump in the polls in the last few years, but many of the festivals to which I’m referring don’t put nearly as much of an emphasis on the music as the familiar massives. Compared to lineup based festivals like HARD events, smaller fests might book one or two names in common. The thing is, if the artist was on the bottom of HARD Summer’s lineup, they would likely be headlining one of the fests I’m referring too. With this lack of attention paid to the artists, it deters people from attending based on the lineup.
It’s likely music will be playing nearly nonstop during the festival, but because of electronic music’s constant nature, if someone is very familiar with the artist, they aren’t waiting on their toes for that one song they know like waiting to hear the Chili Peppers sing “Under The Bridge.” The music being there is only a positive addition, and there might be one or two sets that make you go absolutely nuts, but the real reason people are going is to become part of the community around them. The music is a soundtrack to your good time,
The thing is, if the artist was on the bottom of HARD Summer’s lineup, they would likely be headlining one of the fests I’m referring too. With this lack of attention paid to the artists, it deters people from attending based on the lineup. It’s likely music will be playing nearly nonstop during the festival, but because of electronic music’s constant nature, if someone is very familiar with the artist, they aren’t waiting on their toes for that one song they know like waiting to hear the Chili Peppers sing “Under The Bridge.” The music being there is only a positive addition, and there might be one or two sets that make you go absolutely nuts, but the real reason people are going is to become part of the community around them. The music is a soundtrack to your good time, but the real good time lies within the people around you.
3. EDM is just another way to spell “family”
Everyone who’s lucky enough to have a close circle of friends has some kind of names for their group. Some of the names are basic like “squad” or “team” while others can be wild monikers that more closely resemble the names of comical sports franchises. Whatever the specifics are depend on who’s involved, but when it comes to raving the people involved are members of a family. Those who are veterans to the EDM scene have heard the term “rave family” used frequently, and even if the member of that family reject that particular description, they are all aware that their connection goes deeper than that of an average social relationship. The reason is because of the people who are drawn to EDM.
Back in the day before being attractive was an important part of being a famous DJ, electronic music was a haven for the outcast. The weird sounds, the synthetic production style. In the 80’s, kids would be at home making house music all day instead of playing video games (mostly because the only one available was pong). This was an interesting contrast to the type of people who would listen to electronic music at that time as well. Remember, it was all heard in clubs and nobody went to those clubs to watch the DJ, so the people at these clubs were likely the kind of self-assured, good-looking people who were ready to go home with someone they had never met before. Electronic music has always been an avenue to connect people of different lifestyles.
Now, thirty years later, the electronic music community has only grown larger and more diverse. When someone walks into EDC Vegas under a banner that says “You are the headliner” and sees the numerous different types of people walking in with you, it really is a profound experience. Just moments before, the most exciting thing about EDM might have been seeing Calvin Harris, but once you realize how deep this love of electronic music goes, you’ll realize the people around you really are the headliners. So many different cultures and ways of life coming together for the common purpose of enjoying electronic music together, and the people you meet in that carefree environment are so happy to be there, that they aren’t afraid at all to show you who they really are.
You are likely sharing one of the best weekends of their life, and that is something neither you nor they will ever forget.
Photo: Insomniac Events