"OH YES OH YES OH YES ULTRAAAAA"
- Carl Cox
Electronic Dance Music is infectious. End of story. You can feel it in your bones. You cant help but move to it. The beat creeps into your subconscious and later in the shower you'll find yourself making laser noises.
Walking toward Bayfront Park in Miami FL on March 23rd I was a woman on a mission. Already arriving to the festival about two hours late I felt like my feet were on fire as I was swept along by the crowd outside the gates. Being my second Ultra I did things a little differently this year. Before leaving town I prepared about 150 surveys to hand out to various people during the three day festival.
The questions were as follows:
1. Is this your first time attending a music festival?
2. Who is your favorite DJ?
3. What is your favorite EDM genre?
4. Are you planning on hanging out with molly and/or lucy while you are here?
5. What do you believe EDM represents?
6. What has EDM taught you (if any anything)?
In many cases the results were disappointing with responses like "DO ACID" or "Roll face" (a slang term for being on MDMA).
Others stuck out as inspiring:
"EDM has taught me that everyone just wants to feel accepted and the greatest kindness you can do in this world is to make others feel they belong to something, something that has the power to hold them up when they feel sad."
"I plan on hanging out with my friends, I don't care about drugs I care about experiencing something that's all about being happy."
"I get all the high I need from the crowd."
While I clearly still have a lot of people to discredit in my mission to prove that the overall mantra of the EDM movement is not peace, love, unity, respect....and drugs there were moments during Ultra Music Festival that inspired me even more to show the world how powerful EDM can be. During an after party on the Saturday of Ultra weekend I was lucky enough to speak with DJ R3hab about how thinks EDM is perceived by the majority of people as well as his opinions on the power of EDM.
Me: "What do you think the majority of people percieve EDM to be about? Drugs or something deeper?"
R3hab: "A lot of people mistakenly assume that these genres of music that comprise EDM are all about getting fu*ked up and partying until the sun rises. This happens a lot but what music scene isn't associated with partying? Every musical genre from rock n' roll to hip-hop encourages people to party. EDM is the only musical movement that promotes more than just partying. Those who realize this are often pretty involved in the scene and know that a lot of the big name DJ's don't even party themselves."
Me: "What do you mean a lot of the big name DJ's don't party?"
R3hab: "You would be surprised. Kaskade doesn't drink and has never smoked dope in his life. Deadmau5 is the same. A lot of DJ's also take a strong stand against drug use, specifically molly (MDMA). Its something that has been associated with EDM for a long time, way before this resurgence in popularity so its going to take a while to change the reputation but for a lot of DJ's its (changing opinions) just as important as making music.
Talk about a confidence boost in the claims of my project.