Electronic Music festivals USA
Back in April 2006, French electronic music duo Daft Punk closed out the first night of the Coachella Valley Arts And Music Festival. The stage was set with a huge pyramid laden with lighting and video technology, designed to provide a face-melting visual accompaniment to the music. What followed was a dynamic and dizzying mash-up of Daft Punk's greatest hits, tightly coordinated with visual elements to form a cohesive narrative arc. Pretty much everyone who was there reported having their minds blown. Taking place in the US—the land of "disco sucks" and guitar-rock purism—Daft Punk's 2006 Coachella appearance was a conversion experience for many. Suddenly, indie rock fans whose electronic comfort zone once ended at The Postal Service were warming up to Justice and Deadmau5, and starting to think that maybe dance music isn't all that bad.
Eight years later, it seems like there's a major electronic music festival going on every weekend, and, ironically, the US has become the largest market for the super-sized, pyrotechnics-driven events called "EDM festivals." At the same time, the art and craft of "concert visuals" has gained broader recognition, as this merging of club culture and festival culture into "spectacle culture" has made electronic music performance as much visual as it is sonic. When Outkast flopped at this year's Coachella, some blamed the influence of EDM for changing the audience's expectations of what they get in a festival performance. And, with Seth Troxler's recent screed against EDM festivals (and Laidback Luke's reply), these festivals are fueling inter-generational debates about what electronic music and club culture mean. But how did we get here?
While Coachella 2006 was certainly a turning point for the mainstream profile of electronic music, it wasn't until about 2010 that festivals devoted exclusively to electronic music came into their own in the US. Since then, they've turned into a lucrative and culturally significant industry, which has also begun to influence the global festival circuit. But these are hardly new inventions. Some American electronic music festivals—such as DEMF/Movement in Detroit and WMC in Miami—go back to the turn of the century and even before. And these belong to a broader history of electronic music festivals that overlaps with the global rave scenes of the '90s.
Similarly, electronic music festivals are part of a longer history of music festivals that goes back right through the 20th century and even into the 19th century. A lot has changed along the way—the EDM-festival circuit would hardly be recognizable to its predecessors. So how did today's festivals come about? What has changed? What has been gained and lost?
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Parking isn't a problem.
Not at all like WDC, NYC, or SF. The only times it's a hassle is during SXSW (huge music festival)--and even then, that's only in the downtown area. Oh, on Friday and Saturday nights if you're downtown, you might have a walk a few blocks. I'm in SF now, and the biggest adjustment for me from Texas was/IS still the parking. It's maddening! I don't think I'll ever adjust.
As long as you can come to terms with -- and deal -- with the fact that Austin is a mid-sized town with not as many options available as DC, then you'll be fine. Yes, there is Ethiopian food. But there's just the one source--not 10 like in DC
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They've had main stage slots at the Montreal Jazz Festival, Calgary Folk Festival, Regina Folk Festival, Strawberry Folk Festival, Dawson City Music Festival, California World Fest and festivals in the UK and France, among others.
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