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Why Kandi Is So Much More Than Just Plastic Pony Beads

| February 21, 2017

Kandi is as synonymous with the festival scene as are fluffies, gloves and bandannas. For many, a rave outfit is incomplete without strings of kandi. But what is kandi? Why do ravers make a big deal over these brightly colored pony beads? We’re here to explain. 

Why People Exchange Kandi

To fully understand why kandi is so omnipresent and so popular, we have to understand the meaning behind it. Exchanging kandi is something that happens at festivals and raves, it is a gesture of friendship and PLUR. When ravers make a connection with one another they exchange kandi after giving a PLUR handshake.

The PLUR handshake basically involves ravers saying the mantra of “peace, love, unity, respect” and then switching kandi. Festival goers exchange kandi with one another as symbols of friendship and PLUR.

The Symbolism Behind The Beads

Many ravers make kandi specifically to give away at festivals. Often, festival goers will give kandi to people who don’t have any at all, and it becomes a way to introduce them to the kandi culture of EDM.

Giving and receiving kandi is very special to many people. I know that whenever I receive kandi from someone at a festival, I always keep that bracelet and I would never trade it. Receiving kandi is a very special part of the festival experience and keeping the kandi becomes a way to remember the festival.

You can remember the music, the people and the good vibes just by looking at a plastic bead bracelet on your wrist that says “Dance All Night.”

Making kandi also lets ravers express their creativity. There are almost no limits to what people can make with kandi. From single strand bracelets to full cuffs and face masks, kandi creativity has no limit. Kandi is often themed for the event, people put artists’ names or the festival’s name on the jewelry.

Some Festivals Support And Some Have It Banned

Many festivals embrace the positivity and symbolism of giving kandi. Some festivals have kandi-making stations where ravers can sit and make kandi. EDC, Nocturnal Wonderland, and Imagine are all festivals that have kandi-making stations inside the festival grounds.

Other festivals are not so forthcoming with kandi- all Mad Decent and Hard events ban kandi. Reasons for the ban include littering and apparently issues with people hiding illegal things in their kandi. This ban caused outrage in the EDM community because kandi represents positive things, not drug culture. 

More Than Plastic Beads

Kandi is an integral part of rave culture. It becomes a physical expression of PLUR and the everlasting friendships that are created in festival grounds. While the little plastic beads may seem like esoteric accessories to someone outside of the rave scene, to those of us that live and breathe PLUR, it means so much more.

Kandi is friendship and memories. Some of my closest rave family are people I randomly exchanged kandi with, and now they’re people that I wouldn’t dream of attending a festival without.

about the writer

Lindsay Moriyama

Lindsey Moriyama

Read More...Lindsey was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii but now she lives, writes, bartends and stretches paychecks in New York City.

Illenium, Gareth Emery and Porter Robinson are her favorites, but you'll find her at any EDM event in any borough. A lover of every genre from trance to dubstep, you can find her on the fringes of a crowd gloving, dancing and bringing good vibes. A PLURR fairy, basshead, trance child and kandi kid all in one, this scene is her world.

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