Thursday, November 4, 2010

Halloween opens the flood gates to Electronic Music Festivals in San Diego

As San Diego grows in size and population, the lines between the norm and the new become more and more blurred. New scenes and phenomena are making their debut in San Diego now that the Finest City is being recognized for it's counterculture and hipster crowd. One of the most notable shifts in trends appearing in San Diego recently is the Electronic Music scene, which is more often associated with Miami or Los Angeles.

With large scale electronic music festivals popping up in Miami (WMC), New York (Electric Zoo), Los Angeles and Denver (EDC), it is to be semi expected that San Diego, next on the big city list, would follow suit. To me, San Diego's laid back vibe doesn't exactly correlate with the techno scene, bu with ever evolving collaborations filling the radio waves, I cannot say I am shocked. Although few attempts to bring a large scale electronic show have happened in the past year (Reset @ Sports Arena), it wasn't until the disaster at EDC happened last summer that artists started scouting out venues outside of Los Angeles for the Southern California stop on their concert tours. For those of you who did not see or hear the news following the Electric Daisy Carnival at the Coliseum this year, videos starting flooding the airwaves of underage concert goers getting trampled and stories of young girls overdosing on ecstasy starting surfacing. This catastrophic end to a usually peaceful festival caused an uproar in the electronic music scene, fueling rumors of future festival cancellation and casting a dark shadow of the electronic music scene as a whole.

To say that the electronic music scene is misunderstood is an understatement. The elements that comprise electronic music are drawn upon from all arenas of existing and futuristic genres of music, and have opened a lot of doors for mainstream music to engage a subculture that has only just been discovered in recent years. For a city like San Diego, who seems to be late catching on to trends related to anything but extreme sports, to recognize the existence and prevalence of this subculture is pretty awesome. And to celebrate it's revelation to the masses, San Diego hosted it's first Electronic Festival to date.

Heaven and Hell, put on at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, was the most hyped up concert event at the venue all year. Mimicking EDC it's big sister to the north, Heaven and Hell incorporated 3 stages, 6 internationally acclaimed DJ's, and 8 local artists up and coming on the scene. Previous Halloween raves have been attempted at different venues in San Diego, but the move to the DM Fairgrounds allowed the all night concert to reach a level it had never experienced before. With headliners like Dada Life, Hypercrush, Wolfgang Gartner and Fedde le Grand, those that were concerned Southern California would be wiped of the house music map were pacified and pleasantly surprised. Although I will admit the on stage light shows were seriously lacking relative to EDC, the sound was good, the crowd was pumped, and you couldn't help but feel an air of familiarity with the Sahara tent like structure filled with sweaty bodies bouncing to the beats.

Notable performances include Johnny James, a local favorite once comprising half of Istatic; Dada Life's rendition of Swedish House Mafia's "One", and of course Wolfgang Gartner's spooky jam "Undertaker", which was previously borrowed by the folks over at Monster Massive for their preview video. The smaller scale of this event (relative to the giants like WMC and Coachella) was nice, allowed for much more intimate interactions and if you were a local in attendance, some chance run in's with unexpected old faces. It would probably be in the Fairgrounds' best interest to keep this event for the long run... the only other action they get during the off season is the Rodeo and Annual Gun Show. How charmingly white trash! Step your game up San Diego, keep the beats coming!!!

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