So as many of you may (or may not) have heard, there's been a string of drug-related deaths at some rather prominent shows and festivals within the EDM scene this past summer, and these tragedies, along with the current state of EDM as a genre, have made doomsayers out of many within the scene. You'll likely hear the word "bubble" thrown around quite a bit.
I feel that as someone who's been listening to Electronic music since grade school, I should share a few things.
I got into Electronic music thanks to an awesome technology class (basically, rudimentary electronics and engineering) teacher I had in grade 6. His name was Mr. Zelisko and he would always play music in the tech lab while we worked. One day, he brought in a tape (yes, a tape...I'm probably dating myself here) with a whole bunch of stuff on it..."Experience"-era Prodigy, Messiah, KLF, and some old Chicago House tunes...the rest of the class thought it was complete garbage, but I was so completely intrigued that at the end of class, I asked him what it was. He told me "it's Techno. You like it?" I nodded enthusiastically, and he gave me the mixtape and in that moment, I knew this was something big. I also knew that I would never love any other genre of music like I loved this stuff.
Years passed, I learned more and more about electronic music and rave culture, the music evolved and changed, and then my first year in high school, I went to my very first rave. It was in a rec. centre in a little country town, of all places, and it. was. FANTASTIC. Kids were dressed in all manner of fluorescent this and that, big beaded necklaces and baggy flare pants...it was like the club scene out of Hackers. If I loved Electronic Music before then, man oh man did I ever love it after that. Everyone was so friendly and accommodating...sharing snacks and candy with you, just chatting you up because you were there...no one judged anyone, there were no egos. It was awesome, and we thought it would last forever.
Fast-forward to 2001. By this time, it was my first year of college, and the scene had started to go south...the Mayor of Toronto had put a nice little ban on anything resembling a rave, and the scene was starting to get a real bad name. A couple of promoters got together, and held a rave right outside City Hall in protest. It was even sponsored by a couple of local politicians who opposed the bans and crackdowns. I remember MC Flipside at one point jumping on the stage and getting the crowd all whipped into a fervorous chant of "I'm a raver, not a fucking drug addict!" Again...it was awesome, the people were awesome.
The bans were lifted after that, the crackdowns stopped. We won. Or so we thought. Sure...we took the scene back...but after that, it didn't matter, the damage had been done, the black mark had been painted on our collective heads. The scene as we knew it had its days numbered. One by one, promoters started to close up shop. The final nails in the coffin here in Canada were the death of Happy Hardcore and Anabolic Frolic's Hullabaloo parties, and the death of WEMF (the World Electronic Music Festival).
I think what I'm trying to say here, is to those of you out there fretting over "the death of EDM", don't. Music is an ephemeral thing, it CAN'T die as long as there are people who want to listen to it. Hell, even DISCO made a comeback. What is happening here is simply a part of the natural ebb and flow of pop culture. It happened to Disco, it happened to Punk, and it has happened once already to electronic music and the rave scene.
So don't toss out those beaded necklaces, or wipe out all the Porter Robinson and Wolfgang Gartner tunes from your media collection just yet....because just like Frosty the Snowman, this little scene of ours, it'll be back again someday.