The social significance of this is huge. This was no staged publicity stunt mustered up by Gaga’s backroom team to fake a seemingly out of control rebellion. This was kids on the street causing a commotion of their own accord.
The focus in the music industry has been centered on mainstream efforts to stay afloat and once again find profit in product. In the meantime, outside of the mainstream, a movement has been brewing, reaching a crescendo with Southern California’s, Electric Daisy Carnival - a huge dance festival featuring the top DJs and a crowd of over 200,000 people. Similar events have taken place across the USA.
The riot happened outside the Mann's Chinese movie theater on Hollywood Blvd at the premier of this documentary about the Electric Daisy Carnival. DJ Kaskade was set to perform at the event, and his tweet drew such a huge crowd that the police made attempts to disperse the revelers. It was at this point that things starting turning nasty.
It becomes normal for people to exploit a burgeoning scene, to jump on the bandwagon. But the real lesson to be learned here is that it takes time to build these things. Overnight sensations of this nature are in reality at least 10 years in the making (EDC started in 1997).
The DJ’s who spin at these events have helped build up a movement by performing for years in underground clubs. In these times of recession, the cheapness of their touring costs have for sure helped their rise. But more than that, they are connecting with what people want, to the extent that they become riotous when it is taken away from them.
The scene will undoubtedly become marred by reports of drug use and these aggressive activities, which is a shame. Those at the heart of it I am sure will argue that its size has now attracted the wrong element that doesn’t understand its core values and appeal.
But the thing to focus on here is that people dedicated to their craft can tap into something that people want. Given time and energy, they can build it into something that breathes its own life. It becomes its own “little monster”, outside of the control of the media, the record labels, and the establishment.
If you want to succeed in this business, make friends with the bands around you, not enemies. If two bands can pull fifty people to a club separately - thats a hundred when you put them together. Riots are a tipping point that happen because there is strength in numbers. DJ Kaskade may be at the center of this latest uproar, but he is a mere catalyst, the cause was something way bigger than any individual.
Isn't this exactly what the heart of Rock and Roll is all about.
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Robin Davey is an award winning independent musician and film maker and Head of Music and Film Development at GROWvision.