If you've made your way to a festival at some point in your life, there's a decent chance you've heard of Electric Daisy Carnival, or EDC.
Last month, over 400,000 passionate music fans made their way to Las Vegas Motor Speedway to celebrate together "under the electric sky" for three nights of festivities. Attendees danced from dusk to dawn with old and new friends to the sounds of some of the biggest electronic dance music producers including Tiesto, Kaskade, and The Chainsmokers.
What was once a small gathering twenty years ago - only 5,000 people attended the 1997 event in California - has evolved into something much more, generating a staggering $1.3 billion for the local economy according to Beacon Economics and having drawn more than 1.7 million attendees to its Las Vegas location.
And that's not all: different versions of EDC have taken place all throughout the world including New York, Mexico City, Orlando, Puerto Rico, and Tokyo.
But while good music, colorful lights, and the idea of a Vegas weekend can easily draw a crowd, a key element keeps EDC and EDM ("electronic dance music") culture thriving: the concept of PLUR.
An acronym for "Peace, Love, Unity, Respect," the idea of PLUR is a major contributor to the massive growth of not just EDC, but festival culture in general. At EDC and other festivals all throughout the world, the PLUR lifestyle has been appealing to more people over time as these events are breaking attendance records year after year.
"Not to sound cliché, but PLUR actually does resonate with the audience heavily," said producer and EDC performer Bro Safari. "Everyone is here for the music but they are also here for their friends and the overall experience. That has to be the reason [EDC] is still going strong years later."
Pasquale Rotella is the founder and CEO of Insomniac, the production company that manages Electric Daisy Carnival each year. He provided the following definition of PLUR:
- To be in the same place as another, to exist simultaneously without conflict or adverse effects/reactions.
- To unconditionally feel great affection for a fellow being, and offer friendship, regardless of race, sex, or creed.
- To come together and defend common interests and give a sense of well being among those who feel unaccepted, to allow any and all to be a part of you and your friends.
- To allow yourself to be who you are without expectations, and allow others to do the same while helping each other, giving those around you the pride, courage, and honor you would yourself.
Rotella shared when he first became familiar with PLUR. "When I was first introduced to this concept in the 90s...at that time it was a spoken thing. A discussion," he said. "Sometimes it was written in the corner of a flyer here and there. But they [Peace, Love, Unity, Respect] were definitely the overriding principles of attending an event - and also for trying to live your life outside of events."
The phrase "PLUR" has become an incredibly familiar term to those who've attended everything from underground shows to massives like EDC. But it's not something that all attendees understand. Between the colorful and creative outfits of attendees and the sharing of "kandi" bracelets that line their arms, sometimes PLUR can seem a bit silly to those not familiar with festival culture.
"I'm not sure it became popular or 'cool' to clown on 'PLURRRR, bro!'" Rotella said, referring to those to like to poke fun at the concept. "But I just laugh and give those people a big hug, because they don't get it."
It is clear that PLUR not only drives fans to attend festivals, but also inspires those on the production side. "PLUR is OG," Rotella added. "PLUR is why I keep doing events."
Little has been announced yet for next year's festival, but if you're looking to find a community and celebrate the PLUR lifestyle, you will want to be on the lookout for news of EDC 2017.
While incorporating peace, love, unity, and respect can positively impact your day-to-day life, sharing these values with a crowd of over 400,000 is not something you get to experience every day. As long as the energy and values of PLUR live on, it is only expected that festivals will only be getting bigger and better each year and EDC can provide you with a connected experience that you'll never forget.
Check the following one minute video by Tony Swann to get a taste of what EDC is all about.