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Sheer's Here - EDC NY Recap

So it’s been nearly 2 weeks since EDC made its New York pit stop on the way to Vegas, and after finally having time to digest my own experience along with all the other reactions from friends, fellow ravers, and an endless amount of blogs, I can’t help but compare EDCNY to the rest of its carnival kinfolk as the kid sister of the Brady bunch. Ya know, the one forgotten child that gets stuck with all the hand-me-downs. No one ever really expects much out of this kid, in fact any glimmer of success always seems to surpass the very low expectations set for her. After already raising a few child prodigies and watching them ride scholarships to the best schools in the country, the parents’ eagerness to tap into that retirement fund to raise yet another kid just doesn’t seem too appealing. Now mom and dad are faced with raising a little piss-ant who already possesses such self-entitlement it could make Paris Hilton look like the dream child Mary Magdalene always wanted. So where does this kid get off being such a wretched little shit you ask? Maybe it’s the fact that her older brothers are music tycoons that do the family name great justice. Could be that where she was conceived is trendier than Hugh Hefner’s grotto. Perhaps it’s that her preschool friends are so damn spoiled that she now feels she can be just as rotten and worthy. Whatever it may be, its clearly not happening and this kid needs to be put up for adoption ASAP or left on some other family’s front doorstep where she can get the care and nurturing that she deserves.

Take a minute to process all of that. If you couldn’t read between the lines and decode my laundry list of metaphors, let me offer you a more literal translation… in the scenario above, the fairly obvious is that EDCNY was that little mistake burdened upon these poor unfortunate parents. Who are the unfortunate parents? Why none other than Insomniac Events. Not unfortunate you say? Try this on for size, Pasquale Rotella the founder and CEO of Insomniac is about to go to jail for up to 13 years for bribery and embezzlement stemming from booking raves in LA, all of this while his playboy bunny wife has a kid on the way, sounds pretty unfortunate to me. But I digress; the main reason I’m here is to fuck you guys up with some truth about EDCNY and the future of EDM festivals, now back to my story.

The successful kids in college – none other than EDC Vegas, EDC Chicago, hell you can even throw in EDCNY 2012 if you want. Point is Insomniac has been riding some pretty big waves in years past and from the looks of it, they’re only getting bigger. Just look at the lineups of these events and the success of the festivals in years past. Particularly this year, EDCNY doesn’t hold a candle to any of these other juggernauts. They’re festivals are longer, their lineups are bigger, and also they headline names that a kid crawling out of womb today would even know. Well that’s not fair! Why doesn’t NY get the sick lineups and the bigger venues and the bigger rides and the blah blah blah—and that my friends is where this unyielding sense of entitlement comes into play!

So if you haven’t already guessed it, Hugh Hefner’s legionnaire’s disease-filled grotto would be the equivalent to NYC and none other than its fellow inhabitants would makeup EDCNY’s privileged classmates. Being a New Yorker I’m fully aware of the kind of people that we are perceived to be. New Yorkers are painted as these obnoxious loudmouths with an “MC Hammer-esque” attitude (can’t touch this). We’re from the big city so we act like we know it all and that nothing phases us. A Chinaman could literally emerge from the depths of Hong Kong and burst through the ground in the heart of Times Square encased in a ginormous drill shaped vessel claiming to have dug a whole from the other side of the world and New Yorkers would be no short of batting an eye, let alone approaching the man and asking for the lunch special. The worst part about us is that if the world were a full grown man, New York would be the hairy set of testicles dangling about a foot away from the planet’s groin, mainly cause of the superiority that resonates towards those that can’t hack the big city. So because of this mental stigma we all possess, don’t you think people living on this nutsack metropolis would feel a little entitled to just about anything and everything? I hate to say it though, but it’s not without reason…

JUST LOOK at the talent that plays in NYC on a regular basis. EVERY WEEKEND at least one big name DJ is spinning somewhere in NYC without fail. Of the DJ MAG top 100 DJs, close to ALL OF THEM have played in NYC over the past year and on multiple occasions! To help keep up with this growing trend, more and more clubs are being built while more and more big name venues open their doors to incorporate EDM events at their establishments. Venues like Madison Square Garden and Roseland Ballroom are now becoming regular hotspots to host EDM concerts, which in turn raises the curiosity of neighboring sites like MetLife Stadium and Citi Field. When you have such a wide variety of locations to host different scaled events, the possibilities are endless! Given also that NYC is a global hub of international business and commerce, the amount of money being generated yearly just from EDM events would cause every person who may have as little as one sixteenth of Jew in them to stand up and praise Moses! Every corporate bigwig, event planner and entrepreneur from here to TimbuckTwo is trying to cash in on this, and frankly they’d be a fool not to. This is where you’re balloon in ticket prices stem from, but who cares! EDMNY fans will pay out the ass just to feel the bass, what’s it matter if they can barely move to scratch their ass in a packed club!

 

This absolutely crazy demand for EDM in NYC has directly led to an influx of BIG NAME DJs playing all over the city, which in turn has led to an increase in the amount of shows played at venues, which consequently has led to the rise of music festivals all in just the past couple years. While the pace at which EDM is growing in NYC is staggering, the driving force behind it is so massive that it is unreachable by the music industry and single handedly KILLING the EDM market. If I haven’t made it clear enough, let me be as blunt as possible… the driving force behind the inevitable collapse of EDM is YOU!

The inability to satiate the never-ending appetite of New Yorkers has down right stunted the growth of EDCNY, and now my biggest fear of all is the livelihood of future festivals as well. The mentality that “if other cities have this then we should have that” is childish and belongs in a preschool class with the rest of those other booger-picking chuckleheads. Our greed and constant thirst for the next bigger and better event in EDM has blinded us all to the point that we no longer are appreciating what’s in front of us. Just because we got some A-list pancake turners last year doesn’t mean we’re obligated to get them this year! Believe it or not but there was a time when there was no EDCNY and people had to make due with sitting at home and listening to podcasts. Now after everyone has attended a festival or two and have had a chance to see what heaven tastes like, they immediately think every festival should be flavored like god’s breast milk and anything less is the devil’s smegma (look it up). There has been so much backlash reverberated throughout the EDM community towards EDCNY that it could make a man with no asshole shit his pants. How is that possible? That’s exactly what I want to know. Now I’m not saying EDCNY was the greatest festival in the world, but heading into last weekend the egos of NYC ravers were so damn high that the festival didn’t even stand a chance to begin with.

 

 

First and foremost, the most obvious critique of them all was the lineup. Compared to last year and the lineups of other cities, EDCNY had the least notable one. Now that’s not to say it was the weakest! It simply didn’t have as many big names as say EDC Chicago or Vegas. But also bear in mind, EDCNY was only 2 days compared to the latter, so of course its gonna have less people. In addition DJs who play EDCNY are forced to sign a contract prohibiting them to play Electric Zoo and vice versa, so it pretty much comes down to whether you want your cake now or later? Personally I like my cake around Labor Day, better cakes are made around the holiday season, not really a summer food, but hey, that’s just me. Anyways, that’s why majority of headliners weren’t at EDCNY, because they’re stockpiling the absolutely insane show that’s gonna take place first weekend of September. GET PSYCHED. Moving on, I for one have been to A LOT of shows. I’ve seen all the major headliners so many times over that I could tell you exactly what part of the show which DJ is going to pause to have a drink, speak into the microphone, or even crowd-surf. After witnessing so many of these headlining performances, you start to notice pattern, and that is a lot of these DJs tend to play the top 20 songs on Beatport over and over again. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to “Reload” on repeat and still when I hear it I wanna jump outta my seat wherever I am and fist-pump my dick off), but like most people you tend to want to hear something new. I find that most headlining DJs play 50% of other people’s music, 30% of their own music that’s already out, and then 20% of their own music that’s never been heard before. That’s 20% of a setlist that’s brand new music, and in an hour’s timeframe during the average set at a festival that comes out to 12 minutes. That’s 12 minutes on average you’re hearing BRAND NEW music at a headliner’s set at a music festival. A lot of people can deal with this, I can’t. I used to, but after hearing slightly altered versions of the same set time after time, it kinda gets a little routine. Want to hear the crazy part about all of this? It’s not the DJs fault that this is happening… it’s our fault (insert At&t commercial where the adult’s mind is blown while talking to the children). We as the collective EDM community have let it become like this. Specifically, I blame the ignorant writers and interviewers talking to DJs and praising them for their “totally sick set” when in actuality it was the same thing he played last festival with the exception of like 2 or 3 songs. I blame you social networking junkies for commending these guys on twitter and requesting they play the same fucking thing over and over again cause you haven’t taken the time to listen to ANYTHING else except for what’s on Beatport and BPM. I blame the people who act like they know a lot about EDM because they’ve read an article here and there when in reality they know diddly squat yet still try to bully their opinions down their friends’ throats cause everyone just has to be the main source of information! This is a cancer people! This is how false propaganda starts and can destroy a DJs rep before ever being heard! Note to all of you that fall under this category: if you’ve NEVER seen a particular DJ live, don’t you fucking dare say anything belittling about them cause you REALLY don’t know shit! But most of all, and this might sound absurd but hear me out, I blame AVICII! I blame Avicii for actually TRYING to travel the road less taken and play new music that hasn’t been heard before at this year’s Ultra Music Festival; but instead of trying some new beats, some killer synths, how bout a few hard drops, he tries a different GENRE and plays the god damn worst set ever conceived and in so doing, discouraged any other DJ from trying something new (for more on my hatred of Avicii feel free to read my Ultra Recap for BKC).

For all these reasons above, in order to maximize your time at any festival, I implore you to go see as many unknown DJs to you as you possibly can. For this reason, I believe EDCNY was the PERFECT setting for just that! The lineup was jampacked with up and coming DJs, guys that have maybe one hit, or featured in one song that you might’ve heard of, which to me is all I need to go and see him. You gotta realize that these DJs that aren’t a household name playing at festivals such as Ultra, EDCNY, EZoo, whatever festival it may be… to them its like their fricken Superbowl! This is the biggest stage they’ve ever played on, their one chance to turn that name into something bigger, do you think for a second whether they’re on the main stage or not that they’re not going to try and play the dirtiest hardest beats out there? And from a festival’s standpoint… c’mon guys and give the festival some respect. These event planners aren’t going to the nearest synagogue and ripping the DJ out of some 13 year old’s bar mitzvah in order to play UMF the following weekend! It’s a festival representing what is most elite in the industry at that time, NONE of the 300+ DJs that they get are Joe Shmos, they’re all considered to be the current best in the business and have fought hard and mixed a ton of songs to get there; so to not go over and see what the other 4 stages have to offer is a slap in the face to the DJs, the event coordinators, and mainly yourself for being such an idiot!

My best time during the weekend was when I went ANYWHERE else besides the main stage! Nevermind the DJs I was seeing, I had a great time because I got to dance! When I go to a festival I want space, I want to be able to engage people around me and rage with whoever crosses my path. This is how I met Jesse and Justin, 17 and 18 year olds conjuring up a dance circle in the back of the pit. Did I mention that these two guys happened to be BAD KIDS as well? I had no choice but to join them for a couple minutes and share in some bass-booming drops. Ya know what though, it would have been a little hard to do all that had I been stuck at the main stage unable to move where NO ONE can cross your path! Where’s the fun in being smushed for 3 hours and looking at the kid’s back in front of you? Yea I bought a $200 ticket for just that! No way… I spent most of my time both days hopping back and forth between all the stages. I always make it a point when I’m at a festival to see every stage cause you never know what you’re missing, these festivals set up all these different stages with different themes for a reason, its certainly not to keep you cemented to one stage all day! I was fortunate enough to hit them all: the WideAwake ArtCar, a little stage shaped like a pirate ship with people dancing all over it… so cool. The Neon Garden aka the “tech-house tent” provided all the ongoing stagnant yet hard hitting bass lines you could ever ask for, and did I mention all the Carl Cox you could ever dream of? I’m serious… the guy played for four hours! The Bass Pod was about four stories of scaffolds with stairs leading up to each level and what looked like techno clowns dancing on each tier. Go ahead and reread that last sentence and tell me that’s something you wouldn’t want to check out at a show (assuming you’re not scared of clowns)? All of these stages were comparatively empty when matched to the two main ones (Kinetic Field & Cosmic Meadow) but yet sick as hell and played just as many heart pounding beats as the rest, only way you would have known this was if you discovered the park instead of getting rooted between two stages. This is what irritates me, is when people start badmouthing a festival yet only experienced 2/5 of it. Of course you’re gonna hate the festival when 90% of the people there are at the main stage, that’s where EVERYONE wants to be cause it’s the only music that they know! I like to call these the “noob stages” because they’re entirely comprised of…

 

PRETEENS: usually girls that are attending their first festival and absolutely love to scream (these girls are usually within the first 50 feet of the stage)

GUIDOS: these juiceheads haven’t quite grasped the concept of PLUR and think it means sticking it anything not in the right state of mind—also in attendance just to hookup with the preteens

LARGE GROUPS OF FRIENDS: this group makes up about 70% of the noob stage and its because large groups of friends tend to bicker about seeing different people allllll day and don’t have the ability to cut the cord and go see other people without everyone else, one DJ they can always agree on however is whoever is playing at the main stage

INDIANA-JONES-PEOPLE: these are the people that have worked their way up so far in the pit over the course of six hours that turning back is simply futile (get these guys some water!).

 

I guarantee you 75% of these people have been the driving force behind why EDCNY was a so-called “flop” of a festival. Sure there are several reasons I could pinpoint that would make EDCNY seem like more of a bust than it was a success; for instance I could say that the two main stages were too close to one another and the music coming from each one would constantly clash absolutely destroying whatever vibe you were feeling; I could pinpoint how the location of the rides and VIP sections were terribly placed which bottlenecked the crowd and created constant traffic while walking through the park; I could focus on how the cell phone reception was atrocious making it impossible to find your friends or use your phone for that matter; I could even poke fun of how unforgivable it was for EDCNY to construct sitting areas that had the capability of severing a grown man’s pinky (google it); I could say ALL of those things but I won’t. I’m not here to pass judgment on a festival that was half-assed and clearly thrown together at the last possible minute, because frankly we asked for it. EDMNY fans demanded a NY festival, and due to the seduction of NYC, as alluring as a Siren’s call, Insomniac had no choice but to setup shop at any venue willing to play host. They didn’t have to do it. I’m sure all the DJs playing at EDCNY would have loved to play at EZoo instead, but instead Insomniac decided to give NY another festival in May, in order to help feed the thirst. However, if as a rave community we continue to not appreciate the things given to us, they’ll ultimately cease to exist. EDCNY was already trimmed from 3 days to 2 days with less notable talent playing this year, after all this slander I’d be very surprised if it came back for more than 1 day next year if at all. I honestly just don’t want to see a spillover effect of post-EDCNY leak onto any other festivals or shows, and this can easily be corrected by changing the way we perceive EDM in NYC. No more demanding the world because of where we are and then being angry when we don’t get it. EDCNY is a festival that didn’t need to take place (a child that)… but it was. We as the community of snot-nosed preschooler classmates that get everything handed to us, in lieu of the badmouthing, constant criticisms and demands, we should channel that energy and use it to usher the child into a classroom of sharing and appreciation, a world of PLUR, one where we don’t pee all over the walls (seriously guys, the porta potties do not need to be that dirty, like what the fuck).

 

 

So after four and a half word document pages later, size 10, single spaced font, I think I made my point. Not going to dive into great depth about my personal experience at the festival, bottom line… it kicked ass and if you found me and raged with me for as little as ten seconds you’d be the first to agree. Every one of these shows I like to keep the headdress I wear the same so you guys can always find me, just look for the glow in the dark dreads and brightly colored bandana, I’ll be the yahoo in the center of the dance circle rallying the troops to keep going. I encourage all of you to join me in the pit, I’m always looking for new challengers. In the meantime, I always wanna leave you guys with something to look forward to so in case you haven’t already heard… BAD KIDS have some serious events in line for the summer. For those of you who were fortunate enough to make it out this past weekend, BK hosted their THIRD and FINAL EDM brunch of the summer at none other than Libation. Stay tuned for a complete brunch breakdown later this week, but I can assure you with the presence of Kryo-man Jr., tequila filled squirt guns, and enough booty shaking to give an epileptic patient an attack, this was nothing short of the biggest PLUR-DRUNK-RAGE-FILLED fest you could possibly think of. What’s next for the guys and girls of BAD KIDS…while I don’t want to spoil the surprise, I’ll preview it with one word… LingeriRave. Use your mind, and yes… its exactly what it sounds like. GET EXCITED.

 

Keep shakin’

 

-Sheer


Alex Sheer
Alex Sheer

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