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Music festivals are nothing new to the world of the American music industry.  Since the original Woodstock, they have been icons of the American counterculture, and they all feature art, music and, of course, wild fun! While some things have stayed the same, such as a plethora of underground artists and swarms of drug fueled hippies, many aspects of the music festival scene have radically changed- especially in the last ten years or so.

The story begins in the early 2000's, when the music industry was radically transformed due to the popularity of the new-fangeled  internet. Not only could listeners now download music straight to their computers, they could also find, and make their own new music, like never before. All of a sudden, musicians could make their own recordings, upload their media, and build a fan base for themselves. The music industry was no longer in the hands of “the music industry”, and record labels weren't making the big money like they used to.  The internet became the modern day radio, a technological innovation that would forever change the way the music industry operates today. 

Avicci PerformingAs a result of this evolution, two other major cultural changes occurred - money became less easy to come by, and formerly big music business moguls, and their companies, disappeared. And as a result of this, first artists would have to make touring a priority. After all, If you don't make much money on your record sales any more,  you’d  need to make it up in live performance revenues. And secondly, musical genres began to change, as newly- freed-from-industry-control-artists became increasingly experimental, as creatives could more easily influence and collaborate with one another. A worldwide community could now borrow, inspire, create and re-create sounds. 

Ultimately, someone (or probably a few different people) had the brilliant idea of bringing back the experience of the music festival, where these new communities of music enthusiasts could interact in person, and catch some great live music. Festivals, such as the most important Bonnaroo, sprang up and quickly became popular. 

Calvin HarrisAt first, these festivals mirrored the Woodstock format of yesteryear, by including unknown and/or independent folk artists and big-ticket names in one massive outdoor event. Unlike the flower children of Woodstock, however, millennials are children of the digital age, and their music reflects it.  

Enter the cataclysmic rise of EDM (Electronic Dance Music)! It might be news to you if you’re over 30, but it’s not news to millennials  that EDM is the “IT” sound these days, and at the peak of popularity in modern music. Something that lived for decades underground has suddenly emerged to rule the online music domain. Its influence is so important, in fact, that it has even forced contemporary pop to change its sound.  Now, DJ's on laptops are just as common as traditional bands inside the ever-growing music festival industry, and festival culture has, and will continue to forever be changed.

KrewellaWhile the original pioneers of the music festival at Woodstock celebrated a culture of protest and rebellion, the modern music festival has turned into a celebration of experiencing life.  The generation of YOLO (You Only Live Once) is all about feeling the energy of the crowd as it synchronizes with the thumping dance music.  Festival goers now are all about the “good vibes”, and the culture is largely a positive one, so the high energy of the EDM scene fits in nicely.

Many festivals now are heavily influenced by EDM music, and several of the largest festivals are EDM only! We at Dish have turned the spotlight on a few of the biggest EDM festivals around the world to show just how large and fabulous the scene has grown, and evolved, into. Check out the photos below to see what I mean!

Electric Daisy CarnivalElectric Daisy Carnival- June 20, 21 & 22, 2015

The Electric Daisy Carnival is a three-day EDM dance-athon that has grabbed attention around the world. Originally founded by Insomniac Events as a one-day show in southern California, this festival grew over the span of just a few years into a worldwide music experience. By mixing carnival themed costumes and rides, colorful light shows, and major headliners such as Avicii and Calvin Harris, the Electric Daisy Carnival experience has spread across the U.S., U.K., and even into Mexico. In 2014, The largest EDC event, held in Las Vegas, sold over 400,000 tickets for the three-day event.  Be prepared to let your bizarre side out, and enjoy the circus!

 

TomorrowlandTomorrowland- July 24, 25 & 26, 2015

Tomorrowland is a great example of how the concept of the music festival can evolve, creating a unique experience for the 21st century.  The theme here is imagination, and the hosts of this event hold nothing back.  Giant, animatronic props and backgrounds give the illusion of a fantasy world, beckoning attendees inside for a child-like adventure.  They even present the festival as a storybook, where everyone is the hero. Dating back to 2005, this mega-event is hosted in the town of Boom, Belgium. Drawing in well over 100,000 festival goers each year from around the world, Tomorrowland is often seen as a multinational celebration of life.

 

Ultra Music FestivalUltra Music Festival- March 27, 28 & 29, 2015

As its name suggests, this enormous festival has had year after year of success since its inception in 1999 by bringing big headliners and massive lighting effects. With chart-topping headliners such as Krewella, this festival is a hot spot for EDM lovers. Like Tomorrowland, this festival was ahead of the curb with the idea of an EDM festival. Though it only ran one day a year until 2006, this festival substantially grew into one of the most popular music festivals in the U.S. Held in Miami, this outdoor dance festival is held on South Beach one of the most popular and beautiful beaches in Florida.  As it grew, this festival became worldwide, hosted by places such as Ibiza, Spain and Seoul, South Korea.

Like most things in this world, the music industry continues to evolve.  Fortunately, everyday people continue to make creative solutions to this ever-changing world, both in music and business.  For now, we can only wait and see what the next generation will bring to the table.  Until then, we'll continue to celebrate.

 P.S. Don't forget to plan ahead. It might seem far off right now, but Summer, 2015 is really right around the corner! Plan ahead, and buy your tickets and book your hotel right now, that is......if it isn't already full.

 

  

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 172 - September 2018
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