Overpriced EDM Festivals; Beware Of Underground EDM

Why Underground EDM Is The New "Cool"


As electronic music and dance music has matured of the past decade there seems to be a change in the air. (Morgan Page, Sultan + Ned Shepard, and BT | In the Air feat. Angela McCluskey) a classic! But no seriously, there is a change in the air.

With SFX having major financial problems, SFX also just canceled their One Tribe Festival citing weak ticket sales, not to mention Tomorroworld 2015 was a disaster for thousands, Things aren’t looking so good for SFX at the moment. The EDM conglomerate’s stock price continues to tank from rumors of bankruptcy. But EDM is doing just fine actually, which is unfortunate for the EDM behemoth SFX entertainment, or is it?

The Rise Of Underground Electronic Dance Music

Local clubs and smaller festivals are realizing that they do not have to rely on branded Top 100 DJ Mag EDM artists & DJs anymore, The new trend seems to be moving towards keeping the club pumping many days a week, With more local underground DJs and EDM artists.

San Diego’s CRSSD is probably the most successful example. But with a capacity of 15,000, it definitely crosses (no pun intended) into the big leagues. For the first time, fans and promoters are begining to see there is way more outside of the major EDM festivals and mainstream DJs.

People are starting to get curious for other electronic music, and move outside of their regular music comfort boundaries.

Unlike Vienna, Berlin and Ibiza where you can easily get a taste of underground electronic dance music on any night of the week, It seems LA will be the first American city to embrace the underground electronic dance music DJs and artists. Miami could be next. The underground disease is spreading!

Garrett Chau, a top booker at Avalon Hollywood before he moved on to work with Lollapalooza, says big festival refugees in Los Angeles are ready for something deeper.

“It’s the idea of doing something that expresses our love of underground music, and doing it in a way that’s affordable,” he says. “If you make a commitment to good music, not just jumping on a bandwagon, people will support you.”


That formula sounds familiar. Chau was the driving force behind a decision in 2007 to focus on more underground, techno-leaning DJ bookings (M.A.N.D.Y., Gui Boratto, Matthew Dear) on Saturdays at Avalon Hollywood.

Organizers were inspired by London club Fabric’s success with more underground fare, and they wanted to do the same thing — promise a night of bone-shaking thrills without relying on cliche headliners.

It worked, and now Chau thinks festival crowds will open their minds to names they might not know. Transmit’s lineup also includes Benoit & Sergio, No Regular Play, Wankelmut, Ricoshëi and HOJ. Who? You’ll have to find out.

For $35, it’s worth the gamble. (A terrace featuring local DJ crew Desert Hearts rounds out the action.)

With tickets, transportation and lodging, “you could be spending $2,000 for three days at a festival,” Chau says. “I don’t know who could afford that.”

Indeed, if EDM is becoming a lifestyle, and not just an excuse for once-a-year raging by party tourists, then the progression to more affordable, more underground boutique events makes sense.

SFX’s stock price may be tanking, and they may be getting their EDM festivals canceled, but the EDM market as a whole is still flying very high, alive, and healthy.

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