The Festival Experience

8 months ago when I up and decided I was going to EDC Las Vegas, I really had no idea what I was getting into. I encouraged a friend of mine to go with me, pointing out that it was our first road trip and that EDC would be something we would never forget. $700 later and our tickets purchased, the wait was on… and on… and on… 

Until he decided he couldn’t go because he was taking summer classes. Yes. I was pissed. But I was still going, the music and the experience were what I was after, sure I would have a better time with my best friend there, but at the end of it, would I be more mad if I didn’t go, definitely. He wavered and deflected, not being able to tell me for sure whether he was going or not. I planned my trip without him just to be on the safe side, except for paying for my flight, everything was set. 

My excitement rose to unbearable heights as the group got to know each other a little better over the months. We were cracking jokes, making plans, and pumping ourselves up for the greatest week of our lives. I couldn’t wait. 

As EDC came closer, 60 days, then 30, then the lineup announcement the anticipation rose and my stress level peaked. My best friend still hadn’t completely told me he would be able to go. Finally, after asking directly, he told me “its too late to not go now.” It was indeed, the road trip was on. 

I won’t describe every moment of the trip because it would fill a book and become a national bestseller in a day. What I will tell you is this:

EDC was hands-down the most amazing experience I have ever had. The three people I shared every moment with that weekend have become family, through music and otherwise. There were more inside jokes created that weekend than I have with people I’ve known for a decade or more. We bonded over music, games, friends, and even stupid silly things. JT, Hannah, and Cody are family. Without a doubt. Listening to those sets under the Electric Sky, moving our feet, dancing around, singing our hearts out… I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything. I met so many wonderful people throughout those 6 days in Las Vegas, everyone was there to have fun and enjoy the experience. We met as strangers and left as family, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Experience

Most fans of electronic have a favorite song, a favorite artist and even a favorite festival. Some make kandi to bring to raves, others wear a special shirt to remember the good times. Some people need to be drunk or high to enjoy a show and still there are others who only go to shows to score drugs and be high. I have nothing against any of these people. Truly. If thats how you want to experience a song, who am I to say you can’t? For me, music is the reason I put headphones on in the morning. It is the reason I will spend $62.50 for a concert at Red Rocks. I go for the music, the atmosphere and seeing my favorite music being performed live where I can jump and bounce my head for 6 hours straight. Headphones are great and they let you escape but at a concert, there is nothing quite like it. You are with your friends, all 10,000 of them, hearing the same music, moving to the same rhythm and feeling the same bass. It is wonderful. There is no place I’d rather be and very few things I would rather spend my money on. I cannot wait to finally get back to seeing concerts this summer.

Intersection of art and music, the soul

While my passion is music and specifically EDM, I am not without varied taste and dabble in the appreciation of fine art, some abstract some classical. Separately the involve different senses but after some thought they become almost one and the same. Art is still, it captures raw emotion with one glance and can be read in an infinite number of ways. It also is only one motif of an infinite number that the artist chose, purposefully or not, but it creates a connection between artist and his/her creation. Music much the same although it is obviously not only one pose, it is absolutely one of an infinite number of combinations of sounds, beats, rhythm. There is a reason that music moves us, to dance, to bounce our hands or head and even to tap our feet while sitting on a crowded bus. The music does not just sit within our ears reverberating in and back out. It consumes us. We get lost in the sounds and we can hit the repeat button to hear the same song a hundred times before we can change it. Art is no different in that we see the same picture a thousand times and it may mean different things each time. Music and art fill us with wonder and excitement where we had none before. There is a reason we call those who produce music, artists. Sadly, both are becoming a dying art (no pun intended) because of the greed. Songs can be mathematically produced to appeal to the most people while art is sold to companies that need to fill blank wall spaces. It is our job as a consumer of these wondrous things to demand variety and originality. Art and music connect the world form top to bottom and end to end, they fill us with raw emotion and consume our very being, one might say they illuminate our souls.

Better Late than Never?

For a few years I have wanted to make my own music. Unfortunately I am not left with a lot of time or money to invest in this endeavor because of school and being almost always broke. The question I continually ask myself and never have an answer to is, is it better late than never? Should you pick up a hobby no matter how late in life? Should you throw yourself at a project because you are passionate or leave it alone because you cannot devote enough time to the project to satisfy your desires. This pickle seems to define my relationship with music production. I want to make my own music so badly but I have neither the funds nor the time to get my hands dirty with Ableton or practicing on a friend’s Traktor. I love music, and have come to appreciate its deeper meaning within me and how it relates to my life. I can have thousands of songs on iTunes and my phone that I can listen to day-in and out but what I would love is to be able to put down beats that I think of, that I create and explore myself through. Maybe someday soon I will have either the money or time to devote to making music and some headway can be made. I don’t want to be famous with music, I have a path in life with being a physician but I want to speak to people with music and if that takes me to 10 likes on youtube or a few purchases from beatport, I certainly wouldn’t say no.

The Future

I am not sure what to think of the future, not only as a whole, but in reference specifically to music. We listen day in and day out, liking oldies and loving newbies but where does it go? Dubstep is mainstream because of people like Skrillex, but what about every other type of EDM? I am a huge fan of House and Progressive House as that is what I first listened to, along with Trance. Don’t get me wrong, I love some good dub and will whomp hard whenever it plays but in reality I would love to see good house or trance tour more often in bigger venues for the masses. I want to see Tiesto, Benny, Kaskade, Deadmau5, Aoki and I know all of these guys tour, but when was the last time any of them came to CO? I know Colorado is a destination for most artists, especially at Red Rocks, but I will have seen Excision and Flux, both Dub, within a year of each other, and not one whisper about any of the aforementioned artists. I love flux and excision to death, but bring CO some house we can jump to.

EDM

My love of music blossomed into a full-fledged obsession within the last few months with the rapid expansion of EDM on a main-stage level. I have listened to techno since the early days (relative to my childhood) and it has always been something I could connect with. There was definitely other music, classic rock, some punk, rap for a while, back to alternative rock and now almost full-on EDM. It is hard to describe the path EDM has taken from underground raves to dj’s as famous as Brad Pitt. I will however say that I am not a fan of all types of EDM, not because they don’t have their place or they aren’t “music” but rather they do not resonate with me. That is what I live for, the 120 bpm pounding my ear drums as I walk to school, bouncing my head along, swinging my hands and pumping them as the tempo rises and falls with the bass. If the music doesn’t make me want to bounce my head, it isn’t on my iPhone. Period. I cross all lines with the music as well, from progressive house and hard trance, to dubstep, hardstyle and even trap music. I do not pretend to know all of the names of the various sub-categories but I do know what I want to listen to and I think that is enough to consider myself a rabid EDM fan.

More on this to come…