The up-and-coming popularity of Electronic Dance Music (EDM) has given rise to the transition of EDM music from underground raves to huge, multiple-day music festivals. Attendance at EDM events, whether at concerts or festivals, is largely dominated by today’s youth generation. The number of youth attending these events continues to grow as EDM is more incorporated into other mainstream music genres. Though some may argue otherwise, EDM culture has had a huge positive impact on myself along with many others within the culture.
For this article I conducted 10 interviews with members of this EDM Culture, while going over their own experiences, thoughts, and views of the culture and how it has impacted and have significance within their lives.
Within a culture, there is the development of defining and teaching the intellectual side of a society through systematically classifying and assigning meaning to substantial artifacts. We do this within a culture in order to formulate the communal norms, beliefs, practices, and traditions, forming a particular culture, reality, and way of life. In other words, we create meaning to life that are shared beliefs so everyone in this culture is on the same page. For instance, one of my interviewees claimed that the EDMC is a place, “that people can really be who they are and there is really no judgement.” These festivals and shows are somewhat of an escape from reality. Whether it’s something as silly as trouble at work, or as big as you not being comfortable in your own skin, this culture welcomes all color, shapes and sizes and will never judge and make you feel as if you are family.
Another great example is when a different interviewee explained to me that, “whether you’re battling depression or anxiety, you may not meet 10 amazing people but you can meet one who can really impact your life in this culture and better you as an individual within your everyday life or at least in that moment.” These types of events are not only a temporary escape for someone struggling everyday, but gives them a sense of acceptance for their flaws without judgement. Some of these people you meet will become lifelong friends, others may be your friend in that very moment and you’ll never see them again. But in that very moment, you and one other person had this indescribable connection that really made an impact on your life that you’ll never forget.
Despite diversity among the genres of EDM, the cultures within this music share similar stereotypes. Possibly the most popular stereotype is that EDMC is nothing more than the consumption of loud, pointless music that is associated with the mass consumption of psychedelic drugs, specifically ecstasy, and dancing. For instance, the stereotype of the use of MDMA or other psychedelic drugs is a common cultural practice that people associate with EDMC due to the high volume of participants of the culture using them. Though this cultural practice may be significant to some participants, the participants I interviewed and even join in the EDMC don’t rank drug use high on the significant level of the EDMC culture. Throughout all 10 interviews, every single person stated that people associate this culture with drugs, unless they are apart of the culture. One of my interviewees, for example claimed that people not in the EDMC, “think people who go there are just idiots who want to do drugs and go somewhere where you can do drugs with a bunch of other people who are doing drugs.” Which is a very common misrepresentation of what this culture is all about. A majority of people who write off this culture are those people who have never given it a chance or gone to these events and are giving their bias opinion due to lack of exposure to the culture itself.
The Electronic Dance Music Culture is among one of the most popular culture’s within today’s youth society. Though it once started out as an underground scene, it has made its way up into the mainstream light of music. Within any culture, comes stereotypes and opinions regarding the participants within the culture.
For EDMC, it is that the participants are nothing more than drug addicts and burnouts who have nothing better to do with their lives than to go party and mess up their lives. But from an insider’s perspective, we can see that this culture is nothing like that whatsoever. Throughout my research I have provided sufficient evidence, talked to several members of the EDMC along with provided my own personal experience in the culture.
This culture is a more of a movement; something different that we’ve never seen in any other music culture known to man. It’s about communal acceptance, respecting others, loving each other, and uniting together to have shared experience with people who have the same shared values and understanding of cultural norms. It’s about living in the moment and enjoying the environment and people around you. It’s that sensational feeling when a beat drops that gives you this indescribable moment that no one will understand besides the people around you within that very moment. If there’s any lesson that I could draw from this research, it’s that people will have their bias opinions, but if you’re reading this research and have never been apart of the EDMC, I ask you to not judge a book by it’s cover, you never know what you’re truly missing out on until you try it.