edm crowd

European Festivals vs US Festivals

As you sit there and read this article, I admire that you are curious about festivals across the Atlantic Ocean. It is a sad fact that many Americans don’t leave their country nor do Europeans travel far beyond the festivals in Europe. The chance to learn about an entirely new rave culture is something that transforms you from being just your “average” raver into a “World Class” raver who can brag about their experience abroad.

Music and Production

In the US, the production of an event takes priority. Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) in Las Vegas is regarded as one of the top Music Festivals in the US. What makes EDC unique is the thought of the souvenir ticket box coming in the mail, the huge, elaborate stages, the entertainers, and the fireworks display which put most Independence Day fireworks to shame. The music will come somewhere into that mixture, arguably in a secondary nature. The artist line-up for EDC is good. However, it doesn’t quite compare to that of European festivals. But, the US is beginning to catch up.


In Europe, Creamfields in England schedules the music as a priority. A glance over previous years of line-ups will reveal a who’s who of the Dance Music industry. If you were at Creamfields 2016, for the Final sets on Sunday, you had to choose between Eric Prydz, Calvin Harris, Steve Aoki, Fatboy Slim, Aly & Fila and Tiesto. Creamfields is a well-established brand with a contact book that can lure almost any major DJ to the festival. Additionally, since most DJ’s are European-based, then it makes it easier for them to book on their timetable. Having said that, Europe is catching up on the production levels as Creamfields has introduced new stages such as the Steelyard. Tomorrowland is a good example of a cross between the productions of EDC with nearly the same lineup power of Creamfields. The competition is good for all festivals as it is helping to evolve the scene and enhance the rave experience.

The Ravers

ravers at creamfields
Girls at creamfields

The culture is very different except with one key value… “Everyone is accepted.” American ravers wear some eccentric clothing. A girl wearing pasties with a thong, wearing a tank top with a unicorn vomiting rainbows and a guy in tight white shorts with rainbow fluffies are all familiar parts of the crowd in EDC. Then there is Kandi. As a European going to an American rave, I had to learn about Kandi and frustratingly had to produce it. The very important notion of PLUR (Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect) is an inspirational code to have at a rave, although Europeans may see this as a standard with no need to mention it.
In Europe, there are fewer outfits and most are conservative compared to the US. The crowd is friendly, and Americans are welcomed as we like to see different cultures embrace the European way. There is no Kandi, and PLUR is unheard of outside of US although girls tend to think it’s cute when you give them a bracelet. Europe has a great music vibe accompanied by many European cultures from Scottish, Irish, English, Dutch and German all mixed together who accept the people from around the world to join our party. The majority of individuals go for solely the musical experience however it is more understated than the major American festivals.

This experienced ravers advice is to look beyond the festivals in your country. If you love music and you can afford to do it, then travel abroad and look for other festivals. If you don’t have your friends, don’t worry. In both cultures, everyone is welcome. You could be the European who watched those magical EDC fireworks with your new PLUR friends; you could also be the American who went to Creamfields and partied with Scottish people to Above and Beyond. You just need to explore….

Highland Raver
Highland is a raver with over 15 years of experience. In his day to day life, he owns a company where he works in Financial Crime. All this helps to fund his love and passion for music which has already seen him amass 18,000 miles in traveling (sometimes solo) to 5 different countries to experience major European and US festivals in 2016 alone. In doing so he has made international friends from all over the world and encourages them to join him to be part of his international experience. He was born in Scotland and will proudly wear his kilt to raves to show pride in his country and culture. He has passed on his knowledge and experience to those looking to come into the scene. In writing his blog he wants people to understand that everyone has an opinion and this is just his. His Current Top 5 DJs: Armin Van Buuren, Alex Morph, Above and Beyond, Eric Prydz and Vini Vici DJ to watch out for: Arkham Knights and Fisher and Hawkins
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