People who aren’t “goers” often throw out the question: WHY festivals? Well. It’s about the immersion in a friendly sea of like-minded folks—nonjudgmental people who have mad glee, not criticism or negativity, behind their eyes. It’s about making friendships that potentially last a lifetime. And the music. Oh. Oh. Oh. The MUSIC. What could make it better? Add family.
Willing family, of course.
“Music makes them happy; they sing, they dance, they laugh. As a parent you thrive off seeing your children in that state, and in turn, it makes you happy as well.”
We lovers of dance music are prone to family building: partner to group, group to squad, squad to family. Time and time again. But what happens when your squad IS your real family? The people you see every day. The people with whom we’ve shared countless meals and moments. The people who borrow our clothes and… use our bathrooms.
The happiness people experience in watching their borrowers-of-clothes and their makers-of-meals through the festival framework is the type of joy that can shift perspective, can bridge gaps. Can bring about change.
MODERN MOTHERHOOD AND THE RAVE: LISTEN YOU, WHAT MAMA SAY!
Many moons ago, when we were all monkeys, we used to pick the funky bots and vermin out of one another’s fur. Yep, FUR. We were hardwired to do it. Scientists call this: instinct.
Love it or loathe it, you might not know what is inescapably “mother” or “son” in you until you find yourself doing it, same as you would at home… but dressed as a space rabbit, drinking Red Bull from a nine-inch crystalline pickle, while dancing to music that would make every god from every religion in history link arms and kick it up like Vegas showgirls.
Seattle’s Kim Morrow is a 40-year-old Mom and fest-er who has been brought into the light by her daughters Emma (20) and Bayley (19). She speaks with a wisdom woven from being a mom and trippin’ the light fest-tastic.
Crafting makes the world go ‘round: “Putting my outfits together has really brought out my crafty side—something I’ve always been really good at but sadly lost touch with over the years. I really got the creativity going and put my Mom skills to use. Countless times, I would come home to have my dining room table covered with perlers and beads, both girls deep in concentration, laughing, singing, busting out these amazing pieces. Nothing makes me happier than seeing my kids like that together.”
Recognize! “The girls got me into EDM. When they’re home, there’s constant music throughout the house—not to mention the countless car rides with DJ Youngest Daughter in the passenger seat. Music makes them happy; they sing, they dance, they laugh. As a parent you thrive off seeing your children in that state, and in turn, it makes you happy as well.”
Always watching you: “In a sense, being there made me feel like I could protect them, to a certain extent. In turn, they pushed me to go outside of my ‘mom zone’ mentality, to do things I probably wouldn’t have. To relax and take it all in. There’s a fine line of being a parent, versus being a friend. There’s nothing wrong with being both, as long as boundaries are set and respected on both ends.”
Staying young: “I have a constant struggle now that I’m an adult: ‘Am I too old to do this?’ There comes a time when you just don’t care what people think. EDM and the entire festival experience have definitely brought us closer. Never in a million years did I think I would be a couple rows deep from the stage, watching Getter.”
Joy at Joy: The Mom Zone: “I turned over to look at Bay, and I see her talking to a group of people. They’re all laughing and smiling, all dancing. They exchange kandi, hug, take pictures together. Complete strangers, yet it looked as though they were best friends.”
THE LONG, LONG (LONG) JOURNEY. IN LIFE. AND TO THE FEST.
A lot has been said about the actual physical journey to festivals. Travel blogs, DIY documentaries, untold forum posts, and… not a few articles. But with family, the journey really has no beginning or end. It’s one you’ve either been born into or helped with the bearing yourself. Festivals can be a chapter, a milestone, a bridge, a holiday home—but the trip is one that never ends.
Dave Keller is a 51-year-old software engineer from Boise. He and his wife Cindy are on a festival-loving journey that began years before their daughter was born. Now they bring the 21-year-old Tristen with them on… yeah. Journeys.
Back in the day: “My wife and I got into dance music in the late 1990s, mostly at Burning Man and in California. Then a local festival started in the mountains near Boise. We took our daughter and made art for the festival. My daughter, who was then just a little girl, liked the art, the music, hula-hooping… and the fire spinning.”
Passing the torch: “We’ve always been into self-expression and performance art. I think this came out of Burning Man. So we all spin fire. My daughter started spinning fire when she was like 11 or 12.”
The student becomes the master: “As she was growing up, we taught her to be safe at the raves. Now she takes care of us. ‘Dad, you need to drink more water. Mom, I think you have had enough to drink!’ At EDCLV this summer, I would drive to the show, and my daughter would drive us back to the hotel, so my wife and I could party late into the night. Her idea!”
The Destiny-shaping power of the RV: “The trip there is half the fun. Even the ride from Downtown Las Vegas to the Speedway is fun in the RV. As we arrived, the fireworks started going off. We ran down to the infield and watched, as others who came to the infield were hugging and high-fiving each other. Then I heard people say, ‘Welcome home.’”
BRIDGING THE GAP: MAKING THE TIME, UNDER THE ELECTRIC SKY.
Families can have problems connecting. When there is a real issue and nothing else has worked, the parts of families who have the problems gather in small rooms under fluorescent lighting. They pay hard-earned money to other humans who listen to their problems and offer advice. Okay. That’s one way. There are other methods to connect—as Porscia Eve, a then-20-year-old from Cali, found out when she and her mother (48) attended EDC Vegas in ‘14. Perhaps it is simply bonding through a shared, extreme experience.
Perhaps… there is some magic at play here.
BOOM: “My mom has a career in, and a deep love for, the automotive world. It was never really for me, so we could never really understand each other. But when we were together Under the Electric Sky, I asked, ‘Can you see why I love raving so much?’ She answered, ‘Yes. This is the same feeling I get when I am racing my car.’” BOOM. “Something just clicked between the two of us. I realized it was something she considered to be a spiritual part of her life, as I did with raving. She actually attends more raves now than I do. One, because she loves them. And two? Two because I have become a mother myself.”
Even more perspective: “I actually have a daughter of my own who is 11 months. My mother and I strongly believe that if children were more open with their parents about raving and partying, and parents in turn were more receptive, that we would have a lot more educated, responsible kids raving and more parents who could connect to their children on a more personal level than just as their caretakers. It saddens me to hear other ravers say, ‘I wish I could take my mom to a rave; she would never. She doesn’t even know I do this.’”
FAMILY + YOU = CHANGE: FINDING THE KEYHOLE. MAKING THE KEY.
“True love” has been qualified, quantified and guessed at by just about everyone who has walked the earth. It can certainly be observed in the happiness brought about when someone you love embraces something you love. Matt, a 25-year-old med student, talked about some of the changes he’s seen in his mom, a 50-year-old college professor, since she attended her first festival.
EDM meets academia: “I know she relates to her students a lot better. The EDM connections she’s made, along with the positive interactions she’s had with the young festivalgoers, has translated into a more interactive, engaging classroom environment.”
Professor kandi: “Mom keeps a full supply of colorful pony beads, white alphabet letters, and stretchy elastic cord on hand. At the festival, you’ll always find her with two wrists full of kandi! Her favorite is finding a newbie who doesn’t have kandi to exchange. She inspires them to pay it forward. I think they do.”
Thesis statement: “She approaches each day with more happiness, and I think gratefulness, that she’s been able to live the beauty of the festival. I think my mom’s decided that there’s nothing wrong with planning her life around the next festival. EDM is life, no?”
MAGIC MOMENTS: COSMIC-LEVEL SHIT.
You’ve shared a lot of moments in your lives together, some of them “magic.” But in changing the everyday frame to something extraordinary, suddenly it’s not Johnny catching his first baseball or Mom making her “famous cheesecake” for Dad’s birthday. It’s you and Dad dancing in a two-person unicorn costume. It’s a totem of “Mom’s famous cheesecake” being waved over the heads of 20,000 people as the sights, sounds and vibrations of an extraordinary weekend fuse into a single thread—and when you look to your left or right during the “OH, SHIT” moment and it’s your son or daughter, pops or momma, dancing full-tilt.
Raul Flores took his son, 19-year-old Raul Jr., to EDC Vegas last year, and the moment that stays with him the most… is the exact same moment that resonates with Leonard (Lenny) Keoni Jr. (28) and his mother (60), who came to EDC from Indian Wells, Arizona.
Raul: “I introduced my son to house music as a baby, so we definitely have ‘a song.’ And we got to experience it together during Porter Robinson’s final minutes, when he played ‘Language.’ It’s a song that always brings me back to the first time I held him and how happy I was being a young father. When he played that song and the fireworks went crazy… we just started crying and told each other how much we loved one another. He said, ‘Dad, you always make the first time for anything we do special. This was the best trip ever.’ That song, and that moment as the fireworks light up the desert sky—I think when I am on my deathbed, sharing that experience with my son will make me smile, even in the face of death.”
Leo: “The most memorable moment was when we first went into the Speedway together. The feeling of excitement and joy I saw on her face was priceless. Watching the fireworks on the grandstands, with Porter Robertson playing, brought tears to our eyes. She said she’d never felt so alive. Everyone we met was so welcoming to her! We couldn’t stop talking about our experience when we got home. It showed her my world for a bit. She now sees ravers in a totally different light.”
There aren’t all that many activities in the world that are active, cool as hell, and equalizing/accepting of everyone, regardless of age. These are the moments of your life. If dance music didn’t exist, it’s very possible you would have been with family anyway on June 18, 2017—somewhere other than cosmicMEADOW, EDC Vegas.
But it does exist. And you were. And… wow.
Written by Mark von Pfeiffer
EDC Orlando 2018 takes place Friday, November 9, and Saturday, November 10, at Tinker Field in Orlando, FL. Tickets are on sale now.