You can hear it in almost every song on the radio. A heavy bass line, some snare, a suspenseful build-up, occasional lyrics and of course the drop.
Electronic Dance Music, more popularly known as the “EDM genre” and the festival “PLUR” (Peace, Love, Unity, Respect) culture has swept the nation among the younger generation and all across pop culture. In the past few years, more and more EDM-based music festivals have popped up around the U.S. and across the globe.
Big EDM DJs such as Steve Aoki, Calvin Harris, David Guetta, DeadMau5 and Afrojack have stepped out of the dusty basements and clubs that the early dance music originated from and invaded our televisions and radios. For every top 100 pop culture song, there’s a good chance you can find a DJ behind it spinning a remix.
The culture that has stemmed from the flood of young people to these festivals focuses around four key principles: Peace, Love, Unity and Respect.
Andy Mook, a junior communication major at Florida Gulf Coast University, said it’s the camaraderie that led to the rise of EDM festivals.
“It’s definitely because of the music and the people that listen to the music,” Mook said. “There is this indescribable camaraderie that unites the crowd in each song, and when the drop hits, it’s a moment when the whole crowd lets lose in their own way and it’s an aura that you feel in the crowd that has this togetherness feel. It’s through the music that creates the unity in the people and the people feed off of this music and join together in a judge-free zone where everyone has the freedom to express themselves in any way they feel.”
Joel Zimmerman, also known by his more popular alias Deadmau5, told the Evening Standard last year that festivals would eventually lead to the decline of EDM. Zimmerman says festivals are selling the festival itself rather than the musical acts.
Responsible for the tracks “Gecko,” “Javelin” and my personal favorite, “Juggernaut,” Dutch DJ Oliver Heldens says EDM isn’t doomed, just evolving.
“There’s a bit of truth in what Deadmau says,” Heldens said in his broken English laced with a thick Dutch accent at the 2014 EDC: Orlando festival in November. “At festivals, everyone (the artists) get one hour and many DJs don’t like that, and I get that. If you play at a club, you get more of a real set. You get to build [the set] up and it’s more like a journey. Festivals are just 10 hours with 10 DJs and everyone’s trying to be the loudest.”
However, Heldens doesn’t agree completely with Zimmerman’s claim.
“There will always be balance,” Heldens said. “Things are always evolving and changing. Festivals won’t kill EDM.”