Fans of electronic music will find a lot of massive events going on around the US this summer. Here are a few to look out for.
With Coldplay’s new song "Every Teardrop…" receiving comparisons to Underworld’s "Born Slippy" and dubstep making headways in the public consciousness via the likes of Britney Spears and Snoop Dogg, it's worth acknowledging that electronic music and rave culture have been significantly absorbed and diluted into the mainstream.
Coldplay - "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall"
But even if raves are no longer in vogue, electronic dance music fans will still find that the summertime is even more electric than ever as there are new EDM opportunities worthy of exploration around the country. Here is a sampling of some of the larger events and festivals in the United States which should keep people dancing all summer long (in chronological order).
What: Banished from Los Angeles, possibly due to the health risks associated with Ecstasy use (the primary rave scene drug) that may have sent over 100 people to the hospital and resulted in the death of one as well as some employees caught in a conflict-of-interest, Electric Daisy Carnival has now relocated to Sin City. This massive three day event, attracting over 180,000 people in 2010, goes on from 8 pm to sunrise and has probably 100 different acts (no attempt to count was made) including Swedish House Mafia, Bassnectar and Dieselboy.
Where: Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, Nevada
When: 24th – 26th June 2011
What: Less steeped in pure electronics and leaning a bit more towards the organic the festival named for and by the Disco Biscuits is into its 10th year. Across five performance stages, spacey jambands, like Lotus and The New Deal, will meet alongside electronic DJs, like RJD2, Four Tet and Pretty Lights, for a three day camping festival. That’s right, camping. A unique opportunity on this list, it’s your cue to prepare for long nights running together with the music as you and your fellow campers continue the party back in the tents.
Where: Indian Lookout Country Club, Mariaville, New York
When: 7th – 9th July 2011
What: A lot remains unknown about this festival, into its second year. Their website just came alive at press time with a list of four artists, Boris, Oscar G, Chriss Vargas, and Avicii. Its in New York. Last year had The Martinez Brothers, Chus & Ceballos and Vargas as well. One day is black and the other is white, so dress accordingly (presumably?).
Where: Governors Island, New York, New York
When: 16th - 17th July 2011
What: HARD puts their name on traveling shows from time to time, bringing some heavy beats to cities near you. But they also put on an occasional festival (and a cruise in 2012). Dubbed HARD Summer, organizers were able to gather up James Murphy and Pat Mahoney, for a "special disco version" and also Duck Sauce, the duo of Armand van Helden and A-Trak, whose catchy hit "Barbara Streisand" is possibly everywhere. When the four stages run out of music at 2 am, you might have to seek out those after-parties, but fortunately you will be downtown.
Where: Los Angeles State Historic Park, Los Angeles, California
When: 6th August 2011
What: The only touring event on this list, IDentity is making its first appearance with a run of 20 shows in amphitheaters across most major metro areas. Fortunately, it seems most venues have done away with assigned seats that would otherwise impede the dancing. Unfortunately, with a one day, traveling festival, organizers will have a hand full getting venues set up and some of the artists may not make it to the city near you. But fans can look forward to an exciting line up with Kaskade, Rusko, DJ Shadow and The Crystal Method (DJ Set).
When: Dates run from 11th August to 10th September 2011
What: Expanded to three days for its third year, Electric Zoo organizers have heard the complaints about dust and moved the main stage back a bit and added some protection to the floors of the tents. Hopefully the clouds will stay clear so there is no threat of mud. Official after parties usually run at NYC super-club Pacha. Tiësto, David Guetta and Armin van Buuren headline with Moby making a DJ appearance. Other acts include Ferry Corsten, Carl Cox, Tiga and Gabriel & Dresden. Successful in the past, Electric Zoo will likely remain vibrant.
Where: Randall’s Island, New York, New York
When: 2nd – 4th September 2011 (Labor Day Weekend)
What: When PopMatters writer Greg M. Schwartz attended the Southern sister of Nocturnal in April, he described it as "an Alice in Wonderland type of alternate reality". Little information is available as of now, but if it is like 2010, Nocturnal will be at the NOS events Center in San Bernadino. 2011 artists in Texas included STS9 and Crystal Castles which may indicate this is less electronic overall but the dance element is still there.
Where: Southern California
When: 23rd - 24th September 2011
What: It might be just after summer but it is not just about electronic music. Decibel will add multimedia explorations and visual arts to the mix and seems like it is more akin to SXSW as passes will allow you access to more than one venue. So far the lineup includes Ladytron, Nordic Soul, Ulrich Schnauss and Holy Fuck but expect more events, venues and unofficial events too. With the chance for a day or two off in-between, Decibel gives you room to breathe.
Where: Seattle, Washington
When: 28th September – 2nd October 2011