Although EDM has its roots in nightclub and festival performances all over the world, EDM has become almost synonymous with raves (6). Oftentimes, the term rave is used incorrectly to refer to any nightclub party or EDM festival. But unlike major festivals today, “real” raves were illegal and held at private venues (20). Raves and EDM music in general were commonly associated with the drug ecstasy and illegal behavior (6).
In the United States, ex-pat Brits brought the UK and European rave culture over to the states, spreading it in Southern California. Previously, rave culture was hindered in the US by anti-drug and anti-rave laws. This new Southern California rave culture then spread throughout all of California, aided by Hyperreal, a Silicon Valley advancement which enabled ravers to communicate with each other and announce rave locations and dates (36).
At these raves, people would come to dance the night away and chose to wear stretchy and shiny spandex and lycra clothing which lent well to dancing. The colors and headbands sported by many California rave goers were reminiscent of the hippie look of the 1960s and embodied the free spirit of the EDM and California computer movements. In other regional rave scenes, different locally significant fashion trends emerged. For example, in London people would sport white gloves and chemical protection masks. Theses styles were similar to David Bowie and other rock musicians of the time (1).
By the 90s, the term rave came to encompass any indoor or outdoor dance music event. In fact, EDM artists had started to perform at traditional music festivals performing either a mix or in some cases, a live set (20).
While EDM used to be heard mainly in dance clubs or at raves, today dedicated EDM festivals have become a major venue for EDM music. Some festivals include Ultra Music Festival, Tommorowland and Electric Daisy Carnival. In 2012 Miami’s Ultra had over 165,000 attendees and tickets sold anywhere from $150 to upwards of $850 (6). These festivals are trying to shed, to mixed success, the association with ecstasy and drugs, instead focusing on new and innovative artists. They still struggle with incidents each year, oftentimes drug-related deaths or injuries at the event. However as innovative artists become the focus of EDM and EDM’s growth, the festivals are also trying to create a public image tied to innovation and artists (6).