Plenty of music genres have devoted followings, but not many music fans would consider their fellow fans to be family.
The members of the new EDM@USF club think differently, and they are creating a tight-knit community for electronic dance music (EDM) enthusiasts to call their own.
First introduced to EDM during her senior year of high school, club president Ali Kennedy, a junior majoring in marketing, came up with the idea for the organization over the summer while at home in Wisconsin, as she missed Tampa’s EDM community.
“Why not bring together USF students (who have) the same passion as I do?” she said.
Members of the USF Greek community and the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement helped Kennedy get EDM@USF up and running by the beginning of this semester. Recently at the club’s first event, five tickets for DJ Oliver Heldens’ recent Tampa show were given to members who shared their Facebook page. While she is planning more ticket giveaways for later this year, Kennedy expects EDM@USF to quickly move on to bigger and better things.
“We’re going to end up partnering with some Tampa area event companies, and we actually have some pretty big events that we’re going to end up planning for later in the year,” Kennedy said. “Our goal is to be the liaison between event companies outside of USF and the USF community so that we can book big DJs to host at USF for students.”
Thanks to visibility of their Facebook and Instagram pages, the club has already attracted about 80 members, Kennedy said. As they accomplish their goal of keeping the USF community informed of local EDM events, she expects that number to grow. The only real requirement to join is an interest in EDM.
“It’s really just people who have a passion for the music, whether that’s EDM enthusiasts, promoters, producers, or DJs,” she said. “We also want to attract more people to the culture itself and just make them more aware of it and positively promote the EDM culture.”
For Kennedy, the culture is the most important part of EDM, and it ultimately centers on the music. EDM@USF has a SoundCloud page members use to share the music they make. Five of their members are DJs or producers, Kennedy said. Executive board member Christian Alexander (Ovalles) is a resident DJ at the Amphitheatre Event Facility in Ybor City and helps other aspiring DJs and producers book performances at the venue.
Kennedy’s belief in the EDM lifestyle led her to make the club more democratic that most. While they have an executive board, she said any member has the ability to make suggestions for club events. She emphasized the family feel of the club, following the EDM community’s belief in a lifestyle that values peace, love, unity and respect (PLUR).
“If the world had a PLUR mindset, we would be much more at peace with everyone,” she said. “We would have an abundance of love, we would have unity among us and we would respect each other’s differences.”
Jason Adamchak, EDM@USF’s vice president, said that the club has already made a name for itself in its short time on campus. He said a student approached him and Kennedy at the Oliver Heldens show looking to join EDM@USF.
“It was something that just happened so fast that I actually just stopped and smiled,” the junior majoring in mass communications said. “We just started and we’re already getting somewhere.”
For students looking to get involved in the club, Kennedy said their first big event is scheduled for Oct. 15, with contests and music by their members. She also said they are planning an event for the week leading up to Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) Orlando, a major EDM festival held Nov. 6-7. The festival will feature some of the genre’s most famous DJs, including Calvin Harris, Kaskade and Tiesto.
Despite an audience of 60,000 fans in 2014, EDC Orlando is considered one of the smaller EDM events in the U.S. Attendance at EDM festivals has skyrocketed the past few years, with 165,000 people attending Miami’s Ultra Music Festival in 2014 and another 400,000 attending EDC Las Vegas in 2014.
The Electric Daisy Carnival began in 1997, and a number of similarities are seen in its festivals across the U.S. throughout the year. Fans are encouraged to make their own signs and totem poles to spread messages of peace and love. Eclectic wigs, tutus and body paint of all kinds are all welcome. Packed tightly together, they dance under neon lights in front of elaborate stages made to look like monsters, flowers and even churches.
Kennedy and Adamchak both explained the positive effect they see EDM having on people’s lives. In some instances, Kennedy said, EDM has turned lives around.
“I see all the time on social media, people I don’t even know who post pictures or statuses how EDM saved their life,” she said. “It’s a really easy genre to connect to on an emotional level.”
Adamchak said he wants the club to be a welcoming community of like-minded people.
“I want strangers just to come up to us and feel like they have a home if they don’t know where else to go,” he said. “I really want to get the message across of what this music can truly do. I just want to move people to see that this music can make you be a better version of yourself and you can actually make this world better.”New club shares EDM culture