From massive raves sprouting around the London orbital at the turn of the 1990s to events operated under the control of corporate empires, EDM (Electronic Dance Music) festivals have developed into cross-genre, multi-city, transnational mega-events. From free party teknivals proliferating across Europe since the mid-1990s to colossal corporate attractions like Tomorrowland Electric Daisy Carnival and Stereosonic, and from transformational and participatory events like Burning Man and events in the UK outdoor psytrance circuit, to such digital arts and new media showcases as Barcelona’s Sónar Festival and Montreal’s MUTEK, dance festivals are platforms for a variety of arts, lifestyles, industries and policies.
Growing ubiquitous in contemporary social life, and providing participants with independent sources of belonging, these festivals and their event-cultures are diverse in organization, intent and outcome. From ethically-charged and “boutique” events with commitments to local regions to subsidiaries of entertainment conglomerates touring multiple nations, EDM festivals are expressions of “freedoms” revolutionary and recreational. Centres of “EDM pop”, critical vectors in tourism industries, fields of racial distinction, or experiments in harm reduction, gifting culture, and co-created art, as this volume demonstrates, diversity is evident across management styles, performance legacies and modes of participation.
Weekend Societies is a timely interdisciplinary volume from the emergent field of EDM festival and event-culture studies. Echoing an industry trend in world dance music culture from raves and clubs towards festivals, Weekend Societies features contributions from scholars of EDM festivals showcasing a diversity of methodological approaches, theoretical perspectives and representational styles.
Organised in four sections: Dance Empires; Underground Networks; Urban Experiments; Global Flows, Weekend Societies illustrates how a complex array of regional, economic, social, cultural and political factors combine to determine the fate of EDM festivals that transpire at the intersections of the local and global.