Since, 1980 when some of the first raves were born it’s been known as the drug culture. People want to get out of their heads and into the music. It’s 2013, with mainstream media, artist and 4 billion dollar plus industry and growing consumer base of a “wasted culture”.. What message are we sending out and how can we guide the Next Gen of Festival Culture to a greater purpose?

Watch this…  ULTRA FESTIVAL 2013 (Recap the LOVE)

I just got back from a CRAZZZZY 2 weeks in Florida. I had a vision of speaking to the Winter Music Conference “WMC” and Ultra Festival about “How to move the audience to a greater purpose” using the Electronic Dance Music “EDM” culture as an example. I was very excited, because on one side of the coin I was continuing on my mission to expose the gifts of Transformational Festivals “TF” to mainstream festival producers and on the other side I couldn’t wait to engage with the audience from my perspective of CHANGE for future study and plot ways to orchestrate a shift.  boo-hahahaha….

Granted after 2 weekends of Ultra Fest. and a full 7 days of WMC I began to see what others were seeing. Here are a few quotes from conversations I had on the ground…
“I wouldn’t go tot that it’s a bunch of kids on drugs.” 
“I’m not going to pay for a ticket when its become so commercial, I can just sit outside.”
“I’m just here to let go and have a great time.”
“I’m 14.”
“I’m 17.”
“It’s not my problem, it’s the producers problem.” (RE: trash overfilling the outskirts of the festival)
But 98% of the time I heard..”I love this music!” So where is the disconnect?  
Some of us might turn a blind eye to the festival culture, but we all can admit the boom of EDM has net huge profits and brought awareness to the culture into mainstream media. This is a perfect culture, creative, expressive, engaged and driven by music that can be used for the greater good of society. I would love to gain more insight, information, knowledge and understanding to see how to benefit the Next Generation and to guided them towards a shift in consciousness using education, empowerment and community for social good.  

After more than a decade in the business of events, I have seen everything from trendy to underground, overground, mainstream & pop culture events create. I have seen  celebrity driven rock, grunge, holistic, punk, rap, and a combination of all genres. Before Napster and the end of CDs shopping at Tower Records, it has been an individualized concert experience. Now, with the immersive environments of festivals there is a new kind of experience appealing to a wider audience and it’s drawing people from around the globe. As of 4 years ago, festivals have been on the rise, a serge in its audience, the focal point- the DJ of electronic dance music. However, the DJ alone does not create the experience, it’s the fans, the community, the culture, the art, the lights, the sound, the multi-purpose tents and is quadrupling in numbers and the audience is getting even younger each year.
Mainstream EDM fans are ranging 14 years – high 40’s maybe even older. They are being dropped of by their parents to festivals, pre-parties and being picked up at the end of the event with little or no supervision.  They are lovers of the bright colors, the radical clothing and freed
om to express and dance and let it all go! The overtone at music festivals is so exciting and new that you cant help yourself but to dig deep into the music and the excitement of the sound, lights and the dance party, there is only one thing on your mind and that is to listen to the music. 
But there is more to this picture… 
Lets take a scenario of a 16 year old attending the events. They drive to the party, they have a rocking good time, they have a choice at the party to engage in “extra activities” because its fun and they get out of their heads for a split moment and then they go home. They tell there friends about it and then before you know it the “extra activities” are being experienced by their peers and so on. This is not new news… music culture has lent itself to these “activities” aka drug use for centuries. Back in 1960’s with Woodstock, Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix, even dating back to Frank Sinatra 1950’s with pot smoking and booze, the culture lends to removing of the physical body to get into the vibration of the music and out of their heads to have a deeper connection and an out of body experience.
When I listen to music, my entire world changes. I feel, free, expressed, understood and desired, I feel connected. When we get out of our heads “minds” we feel a sense of belonging, we feel as one. What if a sense of community creates the sense of belonging? What is these festivals lend proactive culture for social good, producing engaging events prior to, during and post event that the experience lives on beyond the party? 
Community creates a sense of belonging. By creating opportunities to engage the Next Gen music enthusiast we can develop a foundation that breeds a culture for social good “greatest number for the greatest good”. Trendsetting, taste-making enthusiastic, youngsters waiting for the next level of acceptance can be done at these events! This is viral and is based on belonging and empowerment. The development of an individual takes education, engagement, and activation in order to carry on the longterm effects for change. By producing immersive experiences through community efforts, we can help with the planting of positive reinforcement. I have noticed 85% of the current festivals the event is geared only for the event and days of. Transformation takes place over more time than the days of the events, but by engaging campaigns of social good activation through online, offline monthly, weekly meet-up and events prior to, during and after the event allows for the development of new patterns and a deeper connection to community. 
Coachella is a good example. Coachella for many years has now engaged in education using art, performances and environmental cause driven campaigns to engage attendees community building  through the help of the friends, a non-profit dedicated to sustainability efforts in community. 

Last year Coachella was responsible for 90,000 festival attendees and this year is expected to increase. That’s 90,000 guests waiting to feel a sense of belonging, if we engaged just 2% of the audience for social good, that’s 1800 new social good ambassadors carrying Coachella’s name. Think about what that would do for your festival productions and corporate brand partner messaging! Imagine EDC–last years attendance was 300,000 if 5%  of those attendees signed up for social good projects onsite, that would be 15,000 NEW KIDS DOING GOOD-WORK EFFORTS FOR A BETTER WORLD.  These types of programs with enhanced education geared towards the arts is viral when you engage the youth culture and  will continue to grow overtime. Remember, this audience specifically the EDM audience is tech savy, music and arts driven–the next Steve Jobs, Tony Hsieh or Mark Zuckerburg is coming out of this era.
WE as a society have the opportunity to step into our power as individuals. WE are capable of acknowledging one another and assisting in the betterment of each other. WE are an unlimited resource for possibility. WE have only to choose it!
“Transformation takes place when the not knowing
 becomes the knowing. ” Brandi Veil, Transformational and Music Festival Ambassador

I prompt you to respond to this blog and open up a conversation for change, leadership and renewal. I have my vision of what can happen and how to move this audience, what about you?

As you can imagine, I have my ear to the ground and the bridge is being built. This is a good way to stay up to date.

I am grateful!

Brandi M. Veil,

Resources and awesome friends: