Nothing quite compares to the feeling of your first dance music show.
Whether it is a massive festival, a club event, or maybe even a friend’s DJ gig- your first encounter with live EDM music will stay ingrained in your mind forever.
Imagine yourself standing in front of a looming, colorful banner with the words “Welcome to Nocturnal Wonderland” plastered across it. Your friends, giddy with excitement, pull you along behind them as you reach the front gate. You rummage through your bag to find your ticket, and hand it to the Insomniac volunteer who greets you with a sincere smile. Butterflies dance in your stomach… you don’t have the slightest idea what you are about to walk into, and all you can do is trust that your experienced friends won’t lead you wrong. Once your ticket has been scanned and your bag checked, you walk forward towards the bizarrely costumed performers who welcome you with smiles and usher you through the gates. You have entered Wonderland.
With every step, the sound of thumping bass grows louder and louder. Thousands of energetic festival-goers walk, run, and bounce around in vibrant costumes, bright wigs, and bedazzled bras. Mind-blowing stages with flashing and flickering colorful lights hold the promise of a show you will never forget. You feel that something big is going to happen tonight- and you can’t wait to find out what’s in store.
As you make your way into the crowd of the main stage, your nervousness begins to melt away, and is just as quickly replaced by a feeling of intense adrenaline you’ve never experienced. You have departed reality completely- your worries drift away. The current DJ act, trance trio Above & Beyond, has every single audience member mesmerized. You lose control of your body as you feel every single beat of the music pulsing through your veins. Every beautiful lyric touches the very depths of your soul. As you look around at the audience, with everyone singing at the top of their lungs and radiating happiness from head to toe, you’re filled with too many emotions to comprehend. You can’t articulate what has happened, but you know one thing: you never want this perfect night to end.
You will never be able to fully express the feelings you experienced that night. But something permanent has changed within you. From that point on, life without EDM seems mediocre and mundane; you live for the moments of mind-blowing bass, beautiful lyrics, blinding lights, and being surrounded by people who share a unique and burning passion for the EDM culture.
Nothing can compare to that moment when it all clicks. When you realize that the EDM world is not just about how hard the bass drops, how many kandi bracelets you can fit on your arm, or how many awesome pictures you can post on Instagram the day after. The EDM world is a safe haven- a place of acceptance and love. A place to forget about reality for a little while, and a place to discover yourself.
For me, Nocturnal Wonderland 2012 was the start of something irreversible. I may attend dozens, even hundreds of events in the duration of my lifetime, but nothing will ever compare to those feelings I first encountered deep within the crowd of Above & Beyond’s set. In the words of Mat Zo’s “The Sky”, “I know that I have found home.”
By Alyssa Stockman