How Much Money Goes behind Top Festivals

The first Ultra Music Festival in Miami in 1999 cost $200,000. In 2013, Russell Faibisch estimated in a Miami New times article that in 2013 Ultra would require $25 million to $30 million dollars to pull off. This is a significant jump from the infant days of UMF. Today EDM music festivals cost tens of millions of dollars to put on. In a Forbes article, Pasquale Rotella was interviewed about the history of EDC and stated in 2014 that it would take $36 million to throw EDC in Las Vegas. Ultra Music Festival in Miami and EDC have large impacts on the surrounding area and add to the burgeoning $6.9 billion EDM industry, but the economic boom provided does come at a cost that is running ever higher.

Tomorrowland began a little over a decade ago in 2005 with about 10,000 unique visitors and had swelled to 180,000 unique visitors in 2016. Tomorrowland is looked to as the trendsetter when it comes to stage design and production. However, it is not the visual environment that ID&T founder Duncan Stutterheim, the founder of ID&T, feels it’s costing festival organizers an arm and a leg. In remarks made at the Noorderslag Seminar in Groningen in 2015, Stutterheim discussed the rising costs of booking DJ acts. Tiesto and David Guetta can command $350,000 while Calvin Harris could be paid up to $500,000 per an investigation by QUOTE. So how have festival organizers dealt with these rising costs? One way is sponsorship, the double-edged sword.

Sponsorship is a way for festivals to invest more money into the festival experience without having to worry about the increased financial risk, but festival organizers are still making a big gamble in favor of reward over that risk. Festival organizers have to find the right balance and ensure the festival isn’t turned into one big marketing bonanza as sponsors will expect there to be some product placement and advertisement. But even with sponsors, there are going to be expenses festival organizers will have to manage.

All manners of work are involved in putting on a festival, and all of those workers have to be paid. Festival goers encounter the front line: parking attendants, security personnel, food service workers, and ticket box workers. Employees who are in the background but whose skills are ever present are sound engineers and stage workers. Then there are porta potty vendors, sales managers, talent buyers, web developers, sponsorship coordinators, social media managers, operations assistants, city officials (for fees and licenses), and venue operators. Remember all the people it takes to put on a festival the next time you gasp at the cost of admission. What is paid for memories for a lifetime is a fraction of what it costs to provide the experience for those memories.

What Makes a World Class Raver

Everything within this article will tell you what you need to do to become a World Class Raver and can rave anywhere in the world. Raves are a place of enjoyment and wonder however they present physical and mental challenges at various levels. From Multi-day festivals, crowds, extreme heat to difficult terrain.

If you are the kind of person who subscribes to the “Go hard or go home” policy, then I commend you highly; however, one thing to note is those who go too hard and become a burden to their friends or the crowd. A world class raver will have the experience to go just as hard but know their limits to be safe and to help those around them.

The ability to go into any rave in any country and can adapt. I always find it helpful to do a little research on where you are going to party and find out about the scene from other ravers. It is always great to join Facebook groups and chat with people who are attending events with you. This will help you build a network.

International Experience
Traveling to experience a rave in another country is a must for all ravers looking to claim that “World Class Raver” tag. If you can say you have raved in at least 4-5 countries, then you will have earned that badge of honor.

Bringing Leadership
Leadership brings an important part of this tag. If you can gather a bunch of people from different backgrounds and blend them into a squad, then you really are a “World Class Raver”. A leader will be expected to give advice on anything from how to be safe, festival specifics, what sets to look out for and looking after those in the group who have partied a little too hard.

The ability to walk into a new rave experience and gain respect from your fellow ravers. If you are respectful to the culture and also, take the steps from above then you will quickly gain the respect of your fellow ravers regardless of country.

Knowledge and experience
The way to build this is through Eat, Sleep, RAVE, Repeat. The more festivals you go to, the more friends you make and the more you develop the knowledge then the more experience you get. It is then up to you to guide the future generations as a “World Class Raver” so just keep on raving 😀

“What Would Diplo Do?” Airing On Viceland

A new series is coming out on Viceland called “What Would Diplo Do?”. I don’t know what’s more weird the fact there’s a show dedicated to Diplo or that the Varsity Blues star James Van Der Beek will be playing Diplo in this new series.

The idea for What Would Diplo Do? comes from a concert promo for Diplo’s annual Mad Decent Block Party, called A Day in the Life. Van Der Beek starred in this as well, so he was already familiar with working with Diplo.

The show which has 6 episodes will be airing sometime later this year.


Armin Van Buuren Reveals Top 25 Trance Tracks of 2016


25. Orjan Nilsen – Iconic [Armind]
24. Cosmic Gate – am2pm [Wake Your Mind]
23. Alex M.O.R.P.H. & Paul van Dyk – We Are [Vandit]
22. Armin van Buuren feat. Eric Vloeimans – Embrace (Andrew Rayel Remix) [Armind]
21. Armin van Buuren feat. Kensington – Heading Up High (First State Remix) [Armind]
20. Alan Walker – Faded (Talla 2XLC Uplifting rework)
19. RAM feat. Stine Grove – Forever And A Day [Grotesque]
18. Simon Patterson & Magnus – Evoke [Who’s Afraid Of 138?!]
17. Kyau & Albert – Memory Lane [Anjunabeats]
16. Hilight Tribe – Free Tibet (Vini Vici Remix) [Iboga]
15. Bryan Kearney & Christina Novelli – By My Side [Armind]
14. Gaia – Inyathi [Armind]
13. MaRLo – Join Us Now [Who’s Afraid Of 138?!]
12. Ben Gold – I’m in A State of Trance [ASOT]
11. MaRLo – Darkside [Who’s Afraid Of 138?!]
10. Gareth Emery feat. Christina Novelli – Save Me [Garuda]
09. Ferry Corsten presents Gouryella – Neba [Flashover]
08. Aly & Fila x Luke Bond feat. Audrey Gallagher – A Million Voices [Future Sound Of Egypt]
07. Super8 & Tab – Mega [Armind]
06. The Thrillseekers pres. Hydra – Amber [Future Sound Of Egypt]
05. Aly & Fila with Ahmed Romel – Kingdoms (FSOE 450 Anthem) [Future Sound Of Egypt]
04. MaRLo feat. Chloe – You and Me [Armind]

The top 3 of 2016:

03. Armin van Buuren presents Rising Star feat. Betsie Larkin – Safe Inside You [Armind]
02. Jean-Michel Jarre & Armin van Buuren – Stardust (Rising Star Remix) [Armind]
01. ASOT TUNE OF THE YEAR 2015: Ferry Corsten presents Gouryella – Anahera [Flashover]

Deadmau5 Answers Back after NYE Performance

A day after his NYE performance Deadmau5 took to twitter to “apologize” for his set at Decadence….. lol. Seems the producer took his frustrations out and basically told the EDM Newbies to f*ck off.

Deadmau5 is a great DJ/Producer with a unique sound, but like many have claimed that EDM is not the same as it used to be. I also think his music attracts more of a different type of crowd than the ones you’d see at a mainstage at an EDM festival.

Grandma Sentenced for Trying to Smuggle 155,168 Ecstasy Pills Into the US

Talk about a scene out of a movie! Canadian grandma Tina Howe has been sentenced to 6.5 years for trying to smuggle 155,168 ecstasy pills across the US border. After being released on bail back in 2007 Tina Howe went into hiding back in British Colombia until she was recently found by Canadian officials and extradited back to the US.

This originally took place back on June 23, 2007, at the Sumas border crossing when a hidden roof compartment in the Dodge minivan containing the ecstasy pills busted open and caused all the pills to scatter all over the freeway. According to the state trooper on the scene saw “a pink and blue haze of dust from traffic smashing the pills,” according to the Vancouver Sun.

The grandma made these trips across the border to save her son from being killed by drug traffickers in British Colombia that he owed money to. She had made two previous trips before getting caught.

Music Festivals You Can Take Your Kids To

Music festivals are often considered adult playgrounds where festival-goers aged 18+ can immerse themselves in music and creative energy. Thankfully there are festival organizers that welcome children and recognize that appreciation of the arts need not be limited to adults. Before a ticket is purchased, read the FAQ section of the festival’s website to see what will be allowed and to determine if the festival is a good fit for your child. Essentials to bring are hearing protection such as headphones, sunscreen, a wagon or stroller that can traverse rough terrain, appropriate clothing for the weather, waterproof garments, and blankets. Now that you have safety and wellbeing in mind, learn about festivals where children are welcome to engage and explore.

Coachella in Indio, California (April 14th–16 and April 21–23rd, 2017)

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is on many bucket lists. It draws the everyman, everywoman, and celebrities to Indio, California for two consecutive weekends of music and incredible art installations. There are different activities arranged for the enjoyment of parents and their children. Some of them include ferris wheel rides, foosball tournaments, a hula hooping competition, and a pie eating contest. Last but not least are the live music acts that will be sure to give your child an education in music.

Volt Festival in Sopron, Hungary (June 27 – July 1, 2017)

Sopron, Hungary is where you and your family will find a musical adventure of a lifetime. Drawing over 100,000 fans each year to listen to music at over approximately ten stages, the festival is known for the lush, green backdrop of the forest. This year Ellie Goulding, Martin Garrix, Lost Frequencies, and Sigala are some of the names that will bless your ears in 2017.

Astral Harvest in Alberta, Canada (July 14 – July 17 2017)

Astral Harvest, one of Canada’s most popular festivals, is held at the North Country Fair festival grounds every summer. Astral Harvest describes itself as “a celebration of music, art, knowledge, community, and the human experience.” Workshops, a bustling marketplace, art galleries, and a Fire Jam space for fire spinners are just a few highlights of the festival. Another hallmark of Astral Harvest is the Playground, a space and refuge for parents where activities for kids are planned and children can play games, do crafts, and rest. Children 12 and under are admitted for free.

Camp Bestival (July 27-30, 2017 at Lulworth Castle, Dorset)

Camp Bestival is one of the few festivals that offers an area for mothers. The Bestival Mother and Baby Chill out area allows moms to change diapers, feed their children, and relax. Camp Bestival is truly a family affair, with a wide array of activities for all ages. Bikes, go karts, circus acts, fairground rides, face painting, a 10×10 sand pit, and two play areas where children can explore will keep kids occupied. There is also live music acts slated for children, but children can be found everywhere on the festival grounds.  

Lollapalooza Chicago, Illinois – (August 3-6, 2017)

Lollapalooza is for music fans of all ages! Kidzapalooza, presented by Lifeway Kefir, is a festival within a festival for parents who want to teach their kids what it’s like to experience one of the most special events in the world. Located in its own enclosed area of Grant Park, Kidzapalooza offers parents and kids the opportunity to catch family-friendly music on its own stage plus various activities including creating their own music, arts & crafts and much more.

Two of Europes Big Music Festivals Are Coming to Brazil

Brazil has definitely felt the effects of the EDM bubble with the loss of EDC Brazil which would have taken place earlier this month. It seems 2017 will be brighter in terms of EDM events in the south American country with 2 European festivals making their way down to the land of hot chicks and soccer.

Plusnetwork who is owned by Livestyle Inc which is formally known as SFX made an announcement that they will be debuting the Brazilian edition for two of Europes hottest music festivals (Welcome to the future & Awakenings Festival). The two festivals do not involve mainstream electronic music. Awakenings Festival takes place primarily in Spaarnwoude, Netherlands, and is one of the most popular techno festivals in Europe. Welcome to the Future is a music festival that usually presents a more diversified underground line-up in Amsterdam, from the grooves of Hot Since 82 to Chris Liebing’s more straightforward techno.

Awakenings Festival


Welcome to the Future

Evolution of the Rave Scene

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a rave as “a large overnight dance party featuring techno music and usually involving the taking of mind-altering drugs.” The definition is slightly outdated. Society now lumps all genres of electronic dance music under “EDM.” Drugs and alcohol are present, but when have they ever been absent from a gathering of adults wanting to cast off responsibility for several hours? Raves are not the only places people indulge and mind altering substances are not the prime motivator for seeking out beats late into the night.

989 Illegal Rave, Acid House from the From the Kinolibrary Archive Film collections

Acid house parties in the 1980s would give birth to a renaissance of electronic music that would shape itself into the genres we are familiar with today: house, techno, trance, breakbeat, etc. This music needed to be heard and what better place for it to be nurtured than at raves? Raves were portals to a world where rhythm, musical ecstasy, and abandon awaited those brave enough to cast off a normal bedtime. Often taking place in places without proper permits and without advance notice like in today’s social media playgrounds, these parties would go on until the sun rose. Today events usually take place in sanctioned spaces. Sometimes events have to be cut off before the witching hour, but the spirit of the rave hasn’t been extinguished.

rave scene

Feeling the nostalgia yet? No, well get ready to take a trip back to the past. Remember JNCO jeans, the wide-legged jeans that were a staple of raver wear? JNCO was founded in 1985 and its style of jeans was exported from California. They became popular among certain subcultures, including the skater and rave subcultures in the 1990s.

old school raver

Children of the night also came decked out in bright colors, costumes, and kandi. Regular shirts and pants were also part of rave attire, the same as it is today, for dressing to dance still takes priority over showcasing the latest in raver fashion.

raver chicks

The rave scene’s momentum hasn’t quelled into the 2000s. Sound ordinances, media exclusives about drug use at raves, and legal pressure dampened some scenes at the turn of the century but this just gave determined promoters the opportunity to grow the rave scene while adhering to laws in place, allowing for the rave scene to go more mainstream and be more accessible to the general public. Massive raves have given over to highly profitable music festivals and DJ tours that continue to draw hundreds to thousands of people. There is much debate over whether or not raves still exist. Some would argue that raves reached their peak in the 1990s. The music may sound different and those who embrace the nightlife may look different, but strangers still converge at designated spaces to dance and leave behind the day’s grind. Bass still rumbles and a new generation carries the torch for the party kids before them. Peace within one’s self can still be discovered, love can still be shown from complete strangers, unity still ties together a growing audience around the world, and respect is still pervasive in a scene that has continued to thrive.


EDM and the Money Makers That Come with It

The EDM bubble has been rumored to be on the verge of popping, but DJs that mix EDM continue to climb the ranks of celebrity and financial standing. Forbes recently made a list of some of the highest paid DJs in 2016. The highest paid among them are Avicii ($14.5 million), Afrojack ($15 million), Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike ($15.5 million), Martin Garrix ($16 million), Kaskade ($19 million), Skrillex ($20 million), Diplo ($23 million), Steve Aoki ($23.5 million), Zedd ($24.5 million), and Calvin Harris ($63 million).

The top acts command hundreds of thousands of dollars due in part to the bar set by payment from Las Vegas residencies. A quick glance at a list of DJ residencies in Las Vegas for 2017 will reveal many of Forbes’s highest ranking DJs. Listen to Steve Aoki explain the role of Las Vegas in dj payouts below.

These days a DJ who makes an appearance at a large venue or on the main stage of a festival doesn’t come alone. In addition to the sound crew, there may be visual artists and other professionals who will work together to create a sensational, audio-visual experience around the DJ. The expense of travel and movement of all that equipment has to also be taken into account. A couch is not considered adequate accommodations so add in the expense of lodging. Let’s not forget stylists, artist managers, and other essential staff. When considering what goes into not only booking but bringing a DJ to an event, it is easy to see how costs add up.


The entry-level DJ will quickly realize after starting out that before a steady income comes dues that must be paid. If a DJ is not established, he or she may be asked to play for free, in exchange for exposure and maybe a drink ticket or two. After some time spent working crowds and building a presence, what then would a DJ expect to be paid?

djingThere are several factors that go into how much DJs are paid: the type of party, the type of venue, the size of the venue, the duration of the time slot, and how far the DJ has to travel. A DJ who has asked to remain anonymous has said that he charges $150 an hour, but knows local DJs who are charging up to $250. He went on to say that a DJ of Tiesto’s caliber could command up to $300,000 for two hours. With this revelation, it’s hard to imagine the EDM bubble bursting anytime soon.