The insane crowds and eye-popping light shows of electronic festivals have become a trademark of the genre. Think of EDM and large-scale events like Ultra, Tomorrowland, or Electric Zoo–the pulsing energy of jam-packed, days-long festivals in expansive outdoor venues mirrors the energy of the music itself.
However, all is not sunshine and daises in the realm of electronic music festivals. In fact, earlier this month, a strong name in the industry, Electric Daisy Carnival, has announced a cancellation of its New York show, which was set to take place later on in 2017. CEO of Insomniac, Pasquale Rotella, stated that the festival will be shutting down for 2017, although events in other cities are still, for the moment, on:
“Although EDC New York 2016 was one of my favorites hosted in the Big Apple, we’ve decided to take a break in 2017. We hope many of you East Coast Headliners will join us in Vegas. We’ll have an art car sound system paying homage to New York DJs past and present.”
This follows a rising trend of big festival closures in recent years, whether due to financial concerns or community pressures to crack down hard on the drug and alcohol abuse that frequently accompany festival crowds. Insomniac has maintained that Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas and Tokyo are still set to take place in 2017 despite the New York edition’s sudden cancellation, however it seems unlikely that much of a crossover audience exists between the potential New York attendees and those willing to travel cross-country or cross-continent to other stops on the EDC tour.
Does this mean that the genre’s popularity on the whole is set to experience a steady, but distinctly downward, slide in the coming years? Not necessarily. True, the appeal and popularity of huge events and festivals may be waning as fans become less inclined in the current economic climate to shell out thousands on tickets, travel, accommodations, and merchandise for a few days of ear-splitting fun, but this slow but sure movement away from mega-festivals like Ultra and Electric Daisy Carnival has also paved the way for the rise of smaller-scale events. Popular but less agoraphobia-inducing events like Florida’s own Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival have seen increasing interest in recent years, as EDM fans look for a more affordable and localized festival experience, one which also promotes local businesses, artists, and musicians rather than reserving spots for industry big-wigs only.
Although in EDC’s case, the shutdown of the New York edition was classified more as a “break” than a permanent cancellation. Only time will tell if later years allow a return of the festival in the Big Apple or if changing tastes and growing financial concerns of even die-hard electronic fans have definitively taken the life of party.