Meteoric Rise of Electronic Dance Music and Its Subcultures

No genre of music has seen such a boom in the last decade that electronic dance music, or “EDM”, has experienced. From the 3-day Las Vegas festival called Electric Daisy Carnival, to the 2 weekend long festival held in Miami called Ultra Music Festival, fans are coming out in droves to these festivals to share their love of dance music. At these festivals the fans dance for hours on end to hundreds of artists at each festival. Electric Daisy Carnival saw more than 210,000 people come out to their 3 day party in 2012. The new wave of fans have re-contextualized what it means to be a fan of electronic music. Electronic music now provides the background beat of many hip hop and pop artists number one songs, and is becoming larger and larger by the day.

These festivals aren’t all sunshine and rainbows though. Girls are regularly encouraged to dress in the skimpiest and most-revealing clothes possible. Attached is a picture of a group of girls that you would commonly find at Ultra and EDC. Just like in the video about the “Tropes vs women in video games” video we watched in class, girls are being hyper-sexualized by their actions and the way they portray themselves through their clothing choices. The dominant ideology of girls being hyper-sexualized in the media is not going away anytime soon, and these festivals are not helping the cause.

Not only are girls continually letting peer pressure and media sway them to wear these types of clothes, but the drugs and alcohol abuse is still very prevalent at these shows, though not as rampant as you would have found 10-20 years ago. One couldn’t walk 50 feet through the crowd of Electronic Daisy Carnival without smelling marijuana, seeing teenagers drink alcohol from a water bottle, seeing people popping all kinds of pills in their mouths, among many other things. The rampant abuse of ecstasy of yester-year is still around pretty heavy in these shows. Essentially, these shows are just one humongous party, and it is extremely hard for a security team to control upwards of 100,000 people.

Even with all of the drugs and alcohol and shady business going on at these shows, you can see that the fans have genuine love for the music. It is also a growing trend to wear stuff that symbolizes peace and love and unity, or make hand gestures that symbolize these as well. It seems that the happy beats and general feel-good essence of the music brings people together, and creates a good community of caring people. I have met some great people that I wouldn’t have met if it weren’t for the rise of electronic dance music.

Electric Daisy Carnival 2010 At The Coliseum        Electric_Daisy_Carnival_2010_Los_Angeles


One thought on “Meteoric Rise of Electronic Dance Music and Its Subcultures

  1. Your opening discussion about the subculture created by electronic dance music as well as the questions you raise about the problems with how women framed in this culture are a good way of challenging what this subculture represents. In what ways does it promote peace but still reproduce existing inequalities?

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