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How Hippie Culture Inspires EDM

Some people think that “hippie culture” died back in the late 60s to early 70s, when Manson instilled fear and the Altamont Free Concert (also known as Woodstock West) happened. But hippie culture hasn’t completely died, rather, it has taken a different shape, in the form of the electric dance music (EDM) community.

With the recent 47th anniversary of Woodstock, we thought we would take a look at the similarities of the 1960s hippies and today’s EDM festival goers.

The idea for the hippie movement in the 1960s was the trinity of peace, love, and happiness. The world of EDM shares a similar mantra of PLURR: peace, love, unity, respect and responsibility.

Clothing is a big form of self expression, of which both cultures take advantage. In the 60s, hippie attire included beads, tie-dye, head pieces, and bright colors. Many festival goers today wear neon colors, tutus, light up clothing, and onesies. Clothing that is found in both groups are beads, feathers and flowers. But the main similarity between the two is the idea of self expression; making a statement and being proud of who you are.

Going from one festival to another you need a way of transportation. In the 60s, the painted VW bus was a staple. This allowed people to spot each other and bond with fellow travelers. Nowadays, though we don’t have a signature car, we do decorate our vehicles. You can easily identify a group heading to the Gorge, with a packed car, ready for camping, with something like “Paradiso 2016” written on it. We saw many this year in our travels.

At an event, you can usually expect a pretty good light show. In the 60s, the Avalon Ballroom and the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco produced some of the first light shows. In 1966 light shows and projected images became a more common staple of hippie events. In San Francisco there were nearly 100 light show companies in the city, and every major music venue had an in-house light show. Today in EDM, light shows and music frequently go hand-in-hand. In 2013 Electric Daisy Carnival used 18,000 milliwatts of lasers and 5.2 megawatts of electricity. Though the amount of lights might be different, the idea of immersing attendees in this experience is the same.

In the 60s, the term “flower child” was used throughout the culture. It stemmed from the experience of a hippie passing out flowers. Nowadays, some festival goers turn to kandi, which is homemade beaded jewelry. These people are deemed “kandi kids.” Kandi is an iconic part of the EDM culture along with PLURR, and is usually worn and exchanged at raves.

The biggest similarity between hippies and festival goers, though, is that they are a group of people that experience a mutual connection, be it be music, peace, self expression, or love. The hippies and festival goers at times feel like outsiders, but they have found a place where they can express themselves freely together, not only without judgement, but with encouragement.

There have been thoughts that peace, love and happiness cannot exist purely in this world, and that the movement dissipated in the 60s. But a growing, evolving culture is challenging that and creating a place that may cause those nay-sayers to reconsider.

In the words of Kaskade:

“This is our generation’s Woodstock, this is our moment.”

What other cultures do you think EDM is inspired by?


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Important things happen in Pacific Northwest nightlife, and DMNW will send you alerts!

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Important things happen in Pacific Northwest nightlife, and DMNW will send you alerts!