The Evolution of Today's Festivals: How It Began and What's In The Future

| December 14, 2016

The rich history of dance music is complex and filled with wonderful events and experiences along the way. The evolution of festivals is equally as rich. Anyone who has done a little research will see that the mid-20th century was a time of true cultural upheaval. Does Woodstock of 1969 ring any bells? It was a huge moment for the counter culture seeping into the mainstream and for a new way to experience music.

Hundreds of thousands attended this festival. While this was revolutionary at the time, it has become almost commonplace now for festival goers and seekers of dance thrills. Music festivals have hit a peak these past few decades.

Evolution of Gathering

The mixture of music, art and other experiences all mixed together has become a staple of the modern festival. These great fests feature art installations, places to gather in a communal setting and a general good time. Camping festivals embody this type of spirit the best with yoga classes, speakshops, dance and a whole host of other things.

Three revolutionary festivals that come to mind that are Electric Daisy Carnival, Bonnaroo, and Tomorrowland, all amazing festivals spread across the globe. Their art installations, great vibes, and overall ambiance of the festival experience have evolved and are continuing to do so to this day.

Mainstay Festival History

Before the blasting fireworks and elaborate carnival set up, there was the early days of EDC. There were raves that went down in a word-of-mouth warehouse. These legendary parties were where the grassroots partying left off, Pasquale Rotella took hold of it in 1997 with the advent of Electric Daisy Carnival.

It first took place all around the country with only 5,000 people dancing to their newfound lights. That is before it made its new home in Las Vegas.

Tommorowland had equally humble roots. It really only looked like a couple of tents in the middle of the field. But the heart of the music was still there and so was the future that would set it in stone to its place of awe and wonder today. 

Bonnaroo was another early music festival in the early 2000s. The word comes from a Creole saying that means "a really good time," and that it is. The festival has changed what it means to be at a location. While some festivals come and go, the backers of this festival are dedicated as they purchased the actual land it is located on. 

Something that is often overlooked with festivals is the environmental impact. Everyone knows how crazy things can get after a wild festival. Even with all the mess, they make sure to stay sustainable and keep the land in good shape.

Festivals have changed since the genesis of the idea. What used to be half-baked ideas of gathering and could cause some worry, has now become and ordered affair that also allows for spontaneity and creativity. 

Future of the Fest

Current festivals boast hundreds of thousands fans. This will continue to persist as festivals become even more mainstream and more fans from around the world rush into this act of self-expression. There may be a divide for quainter and more communal festivals with less people. That was one of the reasons for splitting Electric Forest into two festivals —to limit the amount of people per weekend. 

Previously mentioned, festivals will continue to be a mainstay in the industry as others pop-up to fit new niches and different ideas of dance music and artistic gathering. 

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