I’ve never been to South Africa, but after reading Koko’s review of Ultra Music Festival SA, I kinda wanna go now. So if you like festivals and South Africa or just wanna give this a read, check it out!!!
I love me some music festivals.
UMF, or Ultra Music Festival, is an annual music festival of the electronic persuasion. It originated in Miami, Florida in 1999 and instantly gained popularity in the EDM world. With close to 200,000 attendees and tickets selling out every single year, the event grew and began holding international shows. It has debuted in over 9 countries worldwide and finally hit Africa in 2014.
This is the largest EDM event on the African continent, and after hearing great reviews from other PCV friends about the 2014 event, some friends and I decided 2015 was our year to venture to Johannesburg and steal a slice of this magic, which started at noon and went until the wee hours of the morn.
We walked into the expo grounds and all I can say is…oh. my god. So many beautiful people. Like I can’t even.
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~~~How chicks get ready for EDC~~~
Step 1: Eat less.
That’s right. The #1 way girls ‘get in shape for EDC’ is by eating less.
Notice: I didn’t say ‘watching what you eat’ or ‘making smarter eating choices’.
Oh, no. That would require legitimate knowledge of nutrition and healthy diet planning.
This is the thought process girls go through…
“Instead of eating 4 cookies, I’ll eat 3. I need to lose weight for EDC.”
“Maybe I should only have soda every other day. Gotta get that EDC body ready!”
“If I eat a salad with my burger, the greens cancel the fat out- its a wash. So it’s like I didn’t eat.”
No need worry about healthy substitutions or purposeful meal planning to stock up on necessary vitamins and minerals for the upcoming marathon of drinking and substance abuse. Nope. Just eat less. That’ll do the trick.
Step 2 for getting that bod ready for a week of partying is to work on ‘abs’.
Traditional situps and crunches are the way to go. The abdominals are only engaged during the first 45 degrees of the movement, while the second 45 degrees engage the iliacus and psoas major more than the abdominals. Which is exactly why we transition into crunches. So we can not target the abs, but we think that we are!
Last Thursday I danced, literally danced, on the line that separated house and trance with the help of legendary San Francisco based DJ’s Gabriel and Dresden.
On another TORQ Thursday night, the EDM promotion group brought in Josh Gabriel & Dave Dresden. I didn’t really know what to expect actually. I randomly saw them once at EDC 2012 (I believe), I’m not really too sure how good they were because I was a little blitzed when I saw them. So from whatever memory I could gather from that time I saw them, I decided it was worth seeing them again, even after working two different shifts for a combined total of 13 hours.
There were two things that I knew walking into their show: one, they have been around for awhile and are legends in the industry, and two, I absolutely love, love, effin’ love their remix of Sarah McLachlan – “Fallen.”
When I first heard of G&D remix of “Fallen,” I instantly fell in love with that song. If you’re listening to that song and have your headphones up, you’ll be able to fully experience the bass of G&D, which will beat your eardrums but yet it’s getting mended by the soothing melodic vocals of Miss Sarah McLachlan. It’s just a great marriage of euphoric melody and bass. Give it a listen and see for yourself.
So any who, there I am, standing in the middle of dance floor waiting for G&D to start, completely sober, [Yeah I know, being sober in a club is hard, but not if you enjoy the music then you can get drunk off the music (;P)], not knowing what to expect. Then the lights turn off, the only lights that are illuminating the club right now are those of the four screens in front of the DJ booth that flashed the names Gabriel and Dresden. Waiting and wondering what their first song would be, I started to hear a very familiar tune. Slowly I realized that it’s the Red Hot Chili Peppers!
Through the heavy bass and electronic song, I was able to decipher that it was a remix of RHCP “Otherside.” It was that moment when I instantly knew that it was going to be a good night.
The next thought that popped into my head was how were they going to fallow up “Otherside?” I was unsure about how they were going to keep up this energy that the crowd was now hungry for. My question was answered when I heard the melody to G&D classic track, “Tracking Treasures Down.” Although this track is an “oldie,” it still gets the crowd moving and grooving. Any other fans of EDM who knew this song welcomed it with cheers and roars, scattered by applauds; we were all happy to hear a classic.
Actually I found out later that the track G&D played was “Tracking Coconut Down,” a mash-up of their song with Cold Blue. In fact, their set was like mash-up galore! I’m not a mathematician of any sort (but I am Asian so that might count for something), but I would say a good 75 percent of their set were mash-ups.
There were ALL sorts of mash-ups in their set. A lot of their mash-ups included Top 40’s hits with EDM songs. Yes yes, I know how that sounds. I mean if someone asked me if I would like to hear Top 40’s hits at an EDM club, I would say F**K NO! But G&D has proved to me that it is possible.
The way these two men blend the vocals of Top 40’s hits into energetic EDM songs that were still considered as good songs was phenomenal. One of the things that I immediately thought of was that Harry Potter meme “what kind of sorcery is this?!” But whether it be magic learned from Hogwarts or amazing producing skills, G&D did it; their rendition of Top 40’s tunes made me hop around in a club with a fat smile.
In their Top 40’s throw down, I heard songs like “Sex is on Fire” by Kings of Leon, “99 Red Balloons” by Nena, “Mr.Brightside” by The Killers, “Track 2” by Blur . . . the list goes on! The combination of electronic beats with these alternative rock vocals gave G&D a sort of retro feel. I know that the songs I heard that night are not that old, but I was defiantly transported back to the 80’s when I was on the dance floor of Ruby Skye that night. Or what I thought the 80’s were like from what I gathered from watching movies.
My favorite “retroy” mash-up of the night had to be Eric Pryda “Allein” with Human League “Don’t You Want Me.” It’s really good, trust me. LISTEN TO IT!!!
Of course G&D busted out mash-ups of today’s top EDM hits; Such as their mash-up of Porter Robinson “Language” and Andain “Promises.” I know a friend who would have gone all soft for that mash-up.
For the first half of their set, I literally felt as the bass was attacking my face. The stuff that these two men were spinning just hit so hard, sending my skin into vibrating waves as each song hit that kick drum.
It wasn’t long before G&B started fading into their roots. As the night slowly transforms into morning, their hard hitting housey set started becoming uplifting, becoming progressive house, and arguably a little trancey.
I was so pleased, as well as many other older EDM fans in the crowd that night, when Motorcycle “As the Rush Come” came on. We . . . felt the rush come! LOL. Another great euphoric song that was played in their second half, and also love so dearly, was Sander Van Doorn and Adrian Lux “Eagles.”
The song selection of the night was amazing. Gabriel and Dresden did an AMAZING job. I loved their entire set. It was full of energy and was pumped of familiar vocals that made the crowd sing along. Their set was defiantly a crowd pleaser, but these two men did it in a way that still holds their own flavor that makes Josh and Dave Gabriel and Dresden.
One of my favorite images of the night however was not of G&D, but a couple slow dancing to G&D encore song “Zocalo” (by no other than Armin Van Buuren feat. Gabriel and Dresden). Is it creepy that I think a couple slow dancing in a crowd that was jumping up and down, side to side furiously to an EDM song was heartwarming? Kind-of-but-not-really. As other people around this couple jumped around to the beat of the song, this couple found their own beat and only thought of them to be in the room, slow dancing away. I couldn’t help but appreciate this weird cinematic moment that was happening. I did not see this as a creepy Asian guy people watching, I saw this as one of the true essence of EDM, as music that can make people rage but love at the sometime.
One downfall of the rave culture in Hawaii is the lack of PLURR. The EDM scene is plagued with underage bandwagoners, who think they are cool by taking hella drugs and going to raves. We are trying to change that mentality. You see those kinds of people everywhere, but especially here. Raves are about the music, having a genuine appreciation for the artists, sharing those moments with your friends, and doing your best to make sure everyone has a good experience.
PLURR is a popular acronym in the rave culture, standing for Peace, Love, Unity, Respect and Responsibility. (Also seen as PLUR) It’s been a common theme among ravers since the 1990s once a popular DJ named Frankie Bones shouted it out when a fight broke out during his set at an event.
PEACE- Keep the peace with everyone. Don’t go to raves causing fights, bringing drama, and spreading bad energy. Dance, enjoy the music, and savor every moment.
LOVE- Show love for each other. Show love to the DJs. Show your love for the music. Share with each other. You have gum? You have water? Share it. Acts of kindness always come full circle, and you will be rewarded in some way.
UNITY- The beautiful thing about electronic music is that is unifies people. Ravers come from all walks of life, and they can show up to these events and feel connected to each other. We all fit in. We all belong. We are all one with the music and with each other. There is a oneness of mind and feeling.
RESPECT- Show consideration for others. Especially for the venue hosting the event. Be polite, don’t litter and don’t make a mess. Show kokua for the environment.
RESPONSIBILITY- Don’t act a fool. Be smart with your alcohol & substance consumption. Make good choices. Also, look our for your friends. Whenever I hear stories of ravers being carried away on stretchers, the first person I blame is the friends of the victim. You gotta look out for people. You come as a group- you leave as a group.
One of these most common ways of spreading PLUR is through giving kandi (like pictured above). Beaded bracelets made by hand to be given or traded with other ravers. The beads usually are a standard size, they come in all different colors, and lettered beads are often used to spell out words or phrases on the bracelets.
Every rave I go to, I try to make plenty of kandi to give out or to trade. I often make custom ones for my friends I know I will see at the event. I also make some generic ones to give out to people or trade. When I see a raver not wearing a kandi, I make a point to give them one. There is a series of hand gestures in which the kandi gets transferred from my wrist to theirs while we hold hands. If they have never been PLURRed a kandi before, I make sure I explain it to them, and encourage them to come to the next event with kandi, and join in on the PLURR.
I attended a rave called Winter Wonderland last night. Mat Zo was deejaying. I brought over a dozen kandi with me and gave them all out through the course of the night. One guy I gave a kandi to had his friend take photos of every PLUR step so that they will know how to do it from now on =) They said they now feel accepted … It made me happy to see them so excited.
We do not judge those who are new to the scene, nor do we try to keep newcomers out. Instead we welcome them with open arms. And while doing so, we educate them on the concept of PLURR and encourage them to acclimate themselves to the way we do things in our culture.
Demonstrating PLURR is something I always promote and strive to do myself. Keeping these practices alive is very important to me. If ravers showed a little more PLURR, it might help change the reputation of the scene, and keep the culture bustling!
-Love Koleana Kai McGuire
“Strings a bunch of beads together during arts and crafts, jeweler.”