Paradiso is an annual electronic music festival. Paradiso combines state-of-the-art audio and video, larger than life amusement park rides, and theatrical performers. This year’s headliners in­clude Armin Van Buuren, Knife Party, Martin Garrix performing on Friday and Skrillex, ALES­SO, and Dash Berlin performing on Saturday.

Van Buuren is a major DJ figure in the EDM with his intricate soundscapes. Knife Party has ferocious productions that give them reputation as dance floor conquering scene leaders. Martin Garrix has been producing in the studio and drop­ping records. Skrillex is a superstar dubstep im­porter that creates loud and complex rhythms and wonkery in his sound. ALESSO is a house music producer from Sweden. Dash Berlin is a Dutch EDM music project that focuses on trance music.

Although Paradiso has only been around for three years, it has been getting more popular each year and has become almost a national holiday for the Pacific Northwest. Why is Paradiso so huge? Because the 2010s decade has brought a global explosion of an evolving dance culture thanks to the internet, the circulation of DJ mix­es, and YouTube tracks. Paradiso is responding to a new generation of music listeners that crave electronic music that continues to get bigger each year.

In order to understand the electronic music culture of today, one must understand its emer­gence in America in the 1990s. According to The Guardian, ‘90s raves’ illegal and commercial pro­ductions became well known on the east and west coasts. Radio stations were still hostile to elec­tronic dance music unless it had conventional pop structure and vocals, but that began to change.

What was once known as just techno music is now called “EDM.” The electronic fans wardrobe has evolved from the 1990s child-like “candy raver” with pigtails, cuddly toys, and pacifiers to sexified ravers with tu-tus, furry boots, fairy wings, fishnets, and bandeau tops.

1990s raves used to be placed in exotic and out-of-the-way places like abandoned buildings; they are now emerging in mainstream venues like the Gorge Amphitheatre. The word “rave” has been shed and are now called “festivals,” a term which represents an attempt by promoters to draw in more people and get rid of the reputation of drugged-up kids on the dance floor.

The EDM scene today consists of the slamming rocktronica of Skrillex and the fluffy feel good trance of house DJs. The emergence of electronic music festivals proves that the mid-range bass sound has captured the attention of young people. Ever since 2012, Paradiso has been selling out each year and has become a bucket list item for fans and DJs to attend.

Today’s electronic dance music has emerged from the underground to the mainstream with superstar DJs, LED graphics, projection mapping, and cutting-edge visual technology. Major labels are developing electronic acts into albums-selling career artists, who tour like rock stars. What does this mean for the future of the electronic music scene? Even if this trend lasts for only a decade, it will be recognized in history as a major cul­tural movement for music with the youths of the 2010s generation.

COURTESY OF USC EVENTS
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