Your friend wants to dance to Sasha at the Yuma, but you’ve been waiting for Ice Cube and his boys to rock the mic on the live stage. The ultimate festival dilemma. Substitute in some other festival headliners for the Coachella ones, like Okeechobee’s Mumford & Sons and Skrillex, or Ultra Music Festival’s Nero and Kygo, yet the problem remains the same. You must always choose.

And in choosing we inevitably deem one to have greater potential for partying, in our minds calling it the “better” choice. You go one way, your friend goes the other way. To each their own.

Every fan of electronic dance music feels different emotions while listening to it or while walking into a festival and we can’t pretend that we all share the same reasons for liking what we do. Different tastes in music is why our community is so large and diverse, but spending a day at the main stage might be bliss for some while a mainstream nightmare for others. But that’s OK and that’s why we have mutli-stage festivals. Fun for the whole raving family.

Yet, too many times at events or festivals I’ve overheard what seemed like genuine disgust over another’s dance music preferences. Last year at EDC Las Vegas, I was standing in the back of the Circuit Grounds watching the masterful Markus Schulz end his set. A dude walks up next to me and dances for a little before stopping and turning to whisper into my ear: “Why did they book so much trance tonight, nobody even likes this garbage? The Flosstradamus show had so much more energy” with a completely straight face. And he didn’t even seem inebriated, which means this guy was legitimately asking me about my musical preferences while at the same exact same time insulting the answer I had yet to give.

1) If you were there that night for Gaia and the like, you’d know we were canned in there tighter than sardines, and 2) Why do some people take it upon themselves to spread the gospel of their particular brand of EDM like they’re getting paid? It comes down to choices that run deeper than what genre you listen to when you’re doing the laundry. It’s about what type of person you choose to be in this community; one we appreciate or one we tolerate.

We appreciate those who see dance music for what it truly is, individual self-expression at the collective level, and we merely tolerate those who see dance music as a form of self-expression only for themselves. It is about coming together as a whole and not fracturing this culture we have created until it breaks into a he-said-she-said battle of electronic genres.

I guess I just want everyone to have a good time, and no one should feel bad about liking a type of music that someone else doesn’t. Just because you don’t like it, doesn’t mean nobody does. So next time you get left alone to see your favorite act, just be confident in knowing you’re going to have a killer time. If other people can’t see it, that’s their loss. Just remember they’re probably having the time of their lives too.

Not better, just different.