My first rave was when I was 16 years old. My brother put on the show at a local fire hall. Both my parents and grandparents attended. My parents probably because they had to, ya know legal reasons and all, and my grandparents and I to show our support. The music was great, with DJ Deadly Buda headlining, and as an invincible teen, I wanted to jump in the mosh pit, flail around running into everyone and let out some of that pent up teen aggression. As luck would have it though, I made it around the pit once and then fell, only to look up from the ground and see a nice, scruffy pair of combat boots heading my way. Next thing I knew, a multitude of arms were there helping me up and saving me from being crushed by those boots. That ended my mosh pit days, but what remained was the knowledge of that feeling of caring from those faceless helpers.
Enter 2017, where I was given the opportunity to attend Electric Daisy Carnival in Orlando, Florida as a VIP. It’s been 28 years since that first rave, and my how things have changed, or have they? EDM has become so popular that whole football fields are necessary to accommodate all the partygoers. Tinker Field was a huge venue with multiple stages (back in 1989 there’d only been one), chill out zones, amusement park rides and vendors of all kinds. Inflatable furniture anyone? How about some organic jewelry? What amazed me was how the good folks at Insomniac had all these stages outside near each other, each with a dj playing their own music, yet the sound from one never interfered with the other. You heard each clearly without distortion or distraction from the other, yet there were no walls or buffers of any kind. Amazing acoustic planning!
Also planned really well was the layout and flow of traffic. For the amount of people at the show, one never felt overcrowded and liquid refreshment and chill areas were always right there, much different from say a day at that other famous Kingdom here in Orlando. I really enjoyed the VIP area, more chill dancing than out on the field, next to no lines for food and beverage vendors and, in my opinion the main reason to go VIP, the VIP restrooms. With age one realizes that one is not really invincible and that troubles and worries abound in adulthood, so that a few creature comforts make the partying time one does get all that more enjoyable.
I truly enjoyed all the colorful lights everywhere. The Kinetic stage was my favorite, with its fireworks, water fountains, light show, dancers and video screen imagery, which was planned to the music with the goddess’s heart beating and close-ups of the djs. Kudos to the creative team! Partygoers were also creative in their dress, from Furries to Kandi Kids to butt-cheek models to neon-clad gentlemen to marching bands, stilt walkers and oversized fish. Those last three might have been Insomniac’s doing though, but oh what fun and good vibes they made for. Some of my favorites were the lite-up butterfly wing cape, the lite-up faux fur coat and the lite-up tutu. Notice a trend here? What I didn’t notice were any combat boots or mosh pits, nor did I miss them to be honest. What I loved seeing was that EDM has become so popular, that people danced peacefully next to each other all over the field and most of all that raves are still multi-generational.
While waiting for a friend to buy refreshments, I started talking to a young girl with glitter and rhinestones on her face and her blonde hair in braided pigtails. She was 26 and a graduate of Flagler College, she and her Dad had come all the way from Jacksonville, Florida for the show. Her Mom liked more classically played music and had opted to stay home. However, as the marching band passed by she exclaimed to her Dad how “Mom really would have liked that.” I bet there was more her Mom could have appreciated, the goddess designed stage, the creative outfits, the more chill VIP area and most of all, the family bonding. Back at my first rave, my grandparents found the music sounded “quite funny”, but they still polka danced to it anyway. I’d like to believe that had my grandparents been alive and with me at EDC that they’d have been there in the VIP area drinking, eating and polka dancing into the night. That’s what’s so great about EDM shows, there is something for everyone to enjoy and a feeling of acceptance for whoever you are. My niece is only 8 years old at the moment, but I hope one day to take her to a rave as well and continue on the tradition.