We've told you about the free pregame at Libation from 11-1pm this Saturday, featuring Sweekuh's sweet sounds, and the sick EDM party bus leaving the bar at 1pm (equipped with the latest sound systems, PRUV Vodka, stripper poles, leather couches, and really, really ridiculously crazy kids...) But what we haven't told you is what happens when you find Bad Kids and the lady of the hour, Drunkmau5 on the festival grounds...
The Bad Life
A Bad Kids world is different than any other. It's a world where your dreams become reality, a world where unicorns don't just hover. You imagination becomes reality, and the things you do, you shouldn't tell your mother. Your childhood fantasies play out right before your eyes - you can put all your worries aside. But most importantly, you live completely in the moment.
As much as we love seeing our kids behaving badly, we also like to mix it up. In the past month we have gone from Bad Kids getting boozy at a crazy EDM brunch to Bad Kids getting charitable and spreading PLUR with the kick-off of the PLUR Project.
To see your donations come pouring in was truly heartwarming and thanks to your contributions, Drunkmau5 will be attending EDCNY! But as was mentioned in the Odyssey: The Deep Dive into the PLUR Project, the PLUR Project is way more widespread than just one person or one festival.
Less than a month ago the nation was shaken by two tragedies in the same week. First, we were rocked by the Boston Marathon explosions, followed shortly after by the fertilizer explosion in West, Texas. These two events happened within the span of a few days and left many victims and lost loved ones in their wakes. Us Bad Kids knew that we could not let either tragedy go unnoticed and wanted a way to reach out to the victims and families of both. So we put our thinking caps on and realized that this would be the perfect opportunity to spread PLUR.
We would like to be able to reach out to the victims and families in both West Texas as well as Boston. Obviously this will be no small feat. We cannot do this alone and we are asking for some help from our stellar rave family! We already know that you Bad Kids can send a Drunkmau5 to EDCNY, but we want to see what else you're made of!
We would like to make a massive PLUR package to show that we care and that we are thinking of them and sending good vibes their way. Monetary donations are pouring in from everywhere to One Fund Boston and The Waco Foundation, but sometimes money is not the most comforting thing to a person who has gone through such a trauma. What we are asking is that people donate: handmade cards, kandi, flowers, poems, words of encouragement, etc. whatever you want to show you care. So throw on your kandi-making gloves, pull out the beads, and get cracking!
Any items that you would like to donate are being collected by our cause promoter and out newest Bad Kid, Rebekah Nichols. Items should be sent to: Rebekah Nichols PO Box 1932 Colleyville, TX 76034-1932. Rebekah will then combine the items into PLUR Packages and send them to: One Boston Response CO Mayor's Office One City Hall Square Suite 500 Boston, Massachusetts 02201. However, since Rebekah herself is a native Texan, this raving cowgirl has offered to hand deliver the packages to the people in West, Texas to show that the Bad Kids family cares.
The project has already been going on for several weeks now and we are already receiving donations from Bad Kids all over. Any little bit helps but if you know anything about Bad Kids at all then you already know, we like to do things BIGGER and BADDER! We would like to get as many people involved in this as possible, so please share this on your Facebook, tweet! tweet! tweet! on Twitter and tell all your friends and family to be part of this opportunity to give back and spread the Peace Love Unity Respect and Comfort to Boston and West, Texas.
Please have your donations sent to Rebekah Nichols by no later than Friday May 10th. 2013. Come on Bad Kids and show us how you give!
Hey y’all! My name is Rebekah Nichols and I’m an EDM enthusiast from Texas. When I was a sophomore in college I attended my first festival, Nocturnal Wonderland. It took about 15 seconds of me being surrounded by the lights, booming bass and beautiful people to realize that this is where I belonged. Nocturnal is also where I received my first piece of kandi and was taught the importance of PLUR.
After attending several raves I felt that I needed to give back to this truly amazing community that has done so much for me. When Andi and Lex pitched me their ideas for The PLUR Project, I knew it was something I could not miss out on, and the rest is history. I will be managing The PLUR Project initiatives along with Andi and Lex, and I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to be a part of this movement of good vibes and giving back to the community. My main objective is to help ravers in any way I can. How can you not fall in love with a community that calls itself family? Like my biological family, I would do anything for any one of my rave brothers or sisters. I just want to be able to replicate my love at first rave and spread PLUR wherever it is needed and wherever it is lacking.
Some generally silly facts about me: Everyday I’m shufflin’ and I have been since I could stand. I do a mean rendition of "Alive" by Krewella in the shower, and unfortunately I cannot roll my tongue. I nerded out a lot in middle school becoming a spelling bee whiz. But enough about the past let’s talk about the present and what being a Bad Kid means to me.
Being a Bad Kid doesn’t just mean wearing the brand, it means embracing the lifestyle. It means loving deeper, singing louder, partying harder, and just in general being epically awesome! Thrilled to be the newest Bad Kid and embrace The Bad Life!
I've been in the EDM world for quite some time, and just when I think I've seen it all, something new explodes on the scene and it blows me away. So, what was it that recently hit my universe like a ton of bricks and made my life 1000x better? Well it was actually the act of combining two things - two seemingly innocuous things that by themselves wouldn't raise an eyebrow, but when paired together, created a stir that could rival an army of a billion horny cicadas: EDM and Brunch.
The 2nd EDM Brunch was hosted at Libation on the LES and organized by none other than your favorite Bad Girls, Andi and Lex.
So if you can't already tell, this party had it all, and not gonna lie, if you weren't there, you missed out! But au contraire! I would never dangle an EDM event in front of my Bad Kids' faces without offering something else they can ride the coattails on! If you think for a second that this was the last EDM Brunch you've ever heard of, then you are clearly not hanging out with the Bad Kids enough. Due to popular demand and the overwhelming success from this month's event, BKC has already begun to prepare for their next EDM Brunch which is set to take place the first Sunday in June.
Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts, feelings, love, hate, kind words, profanities - whatever it is you shared - around the PLUR Project. As always, we are excited to hear the EDM community's feelings around the initiatives we set forth and are pumped to tell you about the road ahead. Freedom of speech is something we worked very hard to get in this country so no problem there. If you have feelings that you want to share, by all means! But... first lets get some more info out to you about the PLUR Project and the road ahead...
Believe it or not, the PLUR Project is IN FACT so much more then just getting Drunkmau5 to a festival. It’s about spreading peace, love, unity and respect to all corners of the world - where it might be forgotten or might be needed – through experiences and examples that resonate with our generation. We know this is only touching one person today, but this example of giving and spreading PLUR can be carried from Bad Kids to Drunkmau5 – to her following and beyond – in order to continue the cycle of accepting and embracing others for just who they are. This cycle can help guide the young, inspire the old and ultimately fill this world consistently with a positive outlook on life. This cycle helps those Ben Affleck obsessed (Lex), rock and mineral collecting (Andi) kids remember that now and forever you always have a place in the EDM community. We are going to explain exactly what the program is, but lets start with how we launched it!
The PLUR Project was launched with Drunkmau5 to show an
example of giving back to someone, just one person, who has helped a lot
people in our beloved EDM community. We chose Drunkmau5 because we love
the kind words
she shares with perfect strangers, we love her outlook on life, we love
has dedicated herself to the EDM community by making people feel good
they are. We asked her what her number one dream was and - in fact - it was to experience her very first music festival, since in her home state of Oklahoma, there aren't a ton of EDM options and she is somewhat "stuck" there for the time being. You kids know, Oklahoma is NO NYC - just sayin. Upon learning this, we decided that she needed to come to NYC for the first time and experience a festival - EDC New York - with us
Girls. (If you've ever been to one of our parties, you know *exactly* what she's in for.) So low and behold. We wanted to do something nice - you know,
like give a
gift to a friend on their birthday - something like that. But, we saw
lot of her followers and fans were tweeting, commenting, posting about
how excited they would be if they could meet Lisa. They were dying to meet the
girl behind the twitter handle and wanted her out
here too... so we opened up the opportunity to those who we felt might
interested in being a part of getting Lisa to NYC. Getting our friend,
our comrade, our
inspiration, out to EDC NY! No pressure, no bullying, no twisting arms,
just an opportunity to get others
in the mix and help a sister out through any sort of donation.
Lex and I set the amount of $1,500 for the campaign to cover Lisa's flight to NYC and back to Oklahoma, her festival ticket, the other events Bad Kids will be taking her to in order to show her how we do in NYC, and any other necessities she might need while here for the first time. For those of you who donated, thank you over and over ... especially the guy who gave us $1,000 - but don't worry folks - he's working out in Afghanistan right now, so not a chance Lisa can do what was described here in this nice little comment left on our initial Drunkmau5 blog post from one of our "friends" in the EDM community:
Today we took a walk down memory lane, back to middle school. FUCKKKK YEAHHH!!! WHAT GOOD TIMESSS! As we mentioned in our earlier post, Lex and I are PROs when it comes to being ridiculed, pros when it comes to maneuvering the art of heinous middle school, and pros when it comes to combating hate. As a matter of fact, that's why we started the PLUR Project - to combat behavior like this:
Let me shoot ya straight.. I live my life by a few different mottos and sayings. First, it's much easier to be nice, then it is to be mean. That's a given. Do I really need to explain that further? No. Second, what makes you who you are is how you act during the hardest of times. How you act when people are bringing you down, saying mean and horrific things, or treating you like dirt. It's easy to be happy and awesome when things are going well... but is it when your life is somewhat on the rocks? No. What you do when that storm comes, is what makes you a man. I go back to my favorite quote of all times, from the book "Count of Monte Cristo":
Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout as you did in Rome, "Do your worst, for I will do mine!" Then the fates will know you as we know you: as Albert Mondego, the man!
I looked to that quote quite a bit today as I watched half of the EDM community criticize and ridicule a sweet little girl because she's getting to go to her first festival and helped launch a major cause marketing campaign. Gotta say, Drunkmau5 has been handling this like a champ under extreme hate... that shows us yet again what type of person we are dealing with. One heck of a trooper, and by all means, those are the people we like to surround ourselves with in the BKC dance circle!
Listen kids, we didn't think that in four short hours we would raise $1,500, we were thinking it would take more like 3 weeks... so we didn't have this post prepared yet... not going to lie. But don't you worry, as Bad Kids do, in under 24 hours we have our whole PLUR Project campaign written out for you! So... HERE WE GO (cue the sweet melodic beat to this song as you know it's Lex's favorite!)
We brought on a rock star in the cause marketing space - Rebekah Nichols - to help us create a three tiered program to spread PLUR in places where its needed most (right now its looking like the Twitter-sphere friends, haha!) and that is what we are calling the PLUR Project. There is a national initiative, city-wide initiatives and local community initiatives that will commence at EDC NY:
National: We are creating a seminar where kids from all over
the country will gather to listen to speaker series, engage in
experience motivational exercises and combat the major issues they are
in their community (such as bullying and prejudice, just to name a few.)
We will use EDM and PLUR as themes throughout
the experience, leveraging
City-Wide: Leveraging the major festivals we are going to this year (EZoo, Spring Awakening, EDC NY, etc.) we will set up shop during the events so kids who are feeling lost or alone, or can't find their rave crew, or are feeling like they don't belong, can come to the designated PLUR Project location. Here they can get water, they can hydrate, they can learn some new dance moves, feel immediately at home and one with themselves, etc. This location will act as home base for those who need support or those who just want to make new friends, or for those who really just want to feel some love with people that have something in common with them... you guessed it... EDM. In tandem, we will do a targeted cause marketing campaign around each festival that resonates with the demographic attending but also is specific to the festival itself. Those concepts are to come though, cant spoil all the fun!
Local Community: Within each community, we are working with groups of fantastic people, like the Midwest Mob for example, to help on a local level when spreading PLUR. These kids in the midwest have taken it upon themselves to form a gang of EDM lovers and trek around the country going to their favorite shows, bringing anyone and everyone along for the ride as long as the are good people. These kids, who just know what PLUR is all about and spread it like wildfire, can focus on specific, local causes to help better their community and will lead and run their initiatives... making everyone a part of this PLUR Project in the end.
So friends, why do we need some backing? Well, it would be very cool to get some love on all of these things we are trying to do in order to better our community. That doesn't just mean money - that doesn't mean flying people to festivals - it means understanding what PLUR is all about, and working one step at a time to better our community by sharing it. On a national level, on a city-wide level and on a very local level... we want to touch as many people as we can with our good vibes. Showing people that hate is never the answer and that being a kind human will lead to a much more positive and happy life.
As a good friend of mine - Yoda - once said:
"Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering."
Who wants to live that way? Not me... I'm not gonna take this (haha, jeez sorry guys, that's a quote from another one of my favorite movies - Animal House!) Recently we have been learning that life is really really short. From the shootings, the bombings, the acts of extreme hate... your life can be gone in ONE MINUTE. Over here with the PLUR Project we want to remind people why life is so wonderful, and help people in need get there by whatever means necessary.
So my friends, there you have it. The PLUR Project in full. We hope from the bottom of our hearts that you can be a part of this in one way or another, and combat bullying, hate, negativity in any way possible. Remind people that we are lucky to be alive, and that we should live in the moment, celebrate EDM and love life.
If you'd like to get involved with this movement in any way, shape or form, please submit your info to us and how you'd like to be involved on our signup form HERE: http://www.badkidsclothing.com/pages/the-plur-project
From one bad kid to the next...much love,
If you haven’t noticed, Lex and I are completely, passionately, deeply obsessed with spreading PLUR (Peace Love Unity and Respect). Our love of PLUR has stemmed from our past, and our past is something that isn’t always easy to relive. But through all our journeys hand-in-hand – through the ups and downs – we came up with something that we are genuinely amped to introduce; a way of life that has helped us through the darkest of moments, and has made the brightest ones that much better.
First let’s take a walk down memory lane… a flashback to Lex and Andi circa middle school. I, Andi, was deemed the school’s ultimate loser and I’m pretty sure Lex was runner up… if not, the ranking was interchanging daily. Me – scoliosis, braces with rubber bands crossing in front of my mouth granting me the nickname “Rubber Bandy Andi”, in marching band, color guard, the orchestra, choir and mural club… and then of course my deep affinity for collecting rocks and minerals… made me the coolest kid in town. WHATEVER!!
Then there was Lex – social anxiety, scared of her own shadow, confidence out the window and enjoying the role of the “sidekick” friend – you know, “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” – that metaphor fit Lex perfectly. She was in the accelerated learning “loser” classes with me because remember, when you’re in middle school, being smart means you’re going nowhere … right? OH and of course she had her deep infatuation with Ben Affleck that took over every ounce of her free time… which didn’t really help matters much.
But I’ll tell you one thing. Although we pretty much only had one friend (each other) we spent our days having the time of our lives. Yep, we got made fun of on the regular, no one wanted to go on dates with us, and we never got invited to any party, ever… but somehow we found a way to make our own party – the party that was unnamed at the time – the party now known as “Bad Kids.” And that's what I remind myself of today – that we never changed who we were during all the ridicule, all the jokes, all the abuse. We always stayed true to who we were, who we were becoming, and who we would soon be.
Being teased for our differences was never a good feeling, but I almost look back and appreciate it now, because it set the wheels in motion for the life Lex and I have created through Bad Kids. We ventured out into the world with open minds and open hearts at a very young age, picking up new friends every step of the way - just as we always hoped someone would do for us. By the time we were considered fully functional adults, we had friends in all the right places, simply because we developed a unique way of getting through the roughest of times. And that my friends, is something we’ve decided to call The PLUR Project.
The PLUR Project: The act of spreading peace, love, unity and respect to all corners of the world. Spreading PLUR where it might be forgotten, or it might be needed, or it might just be the thing that changes someone’s life for the better.
Now, after years of build up, we want to launch the PLUR Project with someone who has been promoting this lifestyle through all of her actions and experiences time and time again… someone who embraces everyone for who they are, and encourages people to live out their dreams. We are referring to the twitter celebrity, the EDM-Queen herself, Drunkmau5. If you don’t know her full story… this one is for the books:
Drunkmau5, also known as Lisa, is a small town girl living in Oklahoma. Her dream has been to be a part of the EDM community since before she can remember, and this girl is one dedicated mother f-er. Although EDM does not spread its wide and loving arms out to her as much as it does to those LA, Philadelphia or NYC ravers, she has taken it upon herself to support, love and represent the EDM community through her twitter identity. Countless hours by the computer learning and understanding EDM, Drunkmau5 has, in one way or another, touched all of us. She is known primarily for doing favors for EVERYONE, helping people that she doesn't even know just out of the kindness in her heart, to support the greater good. She is the epitome of the ultimate PLUR spreader and someone who helps people such as middle school Lex and Andi remember the importance of being true to oneself.
When Lex and I gave her a call to talk about Bad Kids, we were very surprised as to where the conversation went. We learned that she has never been to New York – the mecca of all that is EDM – but not only that… she has never been to a freaking FESTIVAL. That's right people. This die-hard girl, this chick who lives and breathes EDM, has never in her young life experienced the most beautiful thing this world has to offer… a festival. The girl who has inspired so many to take risks and live in the moment, has never herself had the opportunity to experience this generational movement that she is helping change for the better… we are talking about electronic dance music's beloved festival season, baby!
The PLUR Project is so much more then just getting Lisa to a festival though. It’s about spreading peace, love, unity and respect to all corners of the world - where it might be forgotten or might be needed – through experiences and examples that resonate with our generation, nationwide. So kids, help us get Lisa to her first festival ever – the epic EDC NY – by donating on our Indiegogo platform any amount that you feel compelled to give to make sure Drunkmau5 has the experience she deserves, has been wanting for and has helped shape.
We want all of you to be a part of this unforgettable journey, so we have set up something pretty epic for you PLUR-cravers. Upon donation, we are extending an invite to the official “Welcome Drunkmau5 to NYC ” pregame, which will be held at Libation Nightclub on Saturday, May 18th, prior to the festival. We are taking the Bad Kids party bus to Citi Field so we don’t have to stop the dance party for one minute. Admission to our wild and crazy pregame (which we are sure will go down in history as the best BKC / Libation party yet) will be complimentary with your donation to the PLUR Project and our EDM-Queen.
We know this is only touching one person today, but this example of extreme PLUR can be carried from Bad Kids to Lisa – to her following and beyond – in order to continue the cycle of accepting and embracing others for just who they are. This cycle can help guide the young, inspire the old and ultimately fill this world consistently with a positive outlook on life. This cycle helps those Ben Affleck obsessed, rock and mineral collecting kids (like Lex and I) remember that now and forever you always have a place in the EDM community if you just embrace the art of being bad.
Hope to see you on the festival grounds or dancing like crazy monkeys at Libation.
We are Bad Kids.
Check out our story, here:
DONATE TO GET DRUNKMAU5 TO EDC NY HERE:
I conquered a fear tonight.
Most people don’t even know that I have this “fear”. Most people laugh when I tell them. Most people don’t even believe me, because I act completely the opposite of how you would think.
I have social anxiety - I’ve always had it since I was a little kid. I was very shy and didn’t really know how to talk to new people at all. I remember my mom setting up play dates for me and me crying because I was scared. I used to forbid my parents to even let anyone sing “Happy Birthday” to me at my birthday party because I couldn’t stand all the attention.
Believe it or not, the person who really helped me break out of my shell and get over this social anxiety was my other half, my best friend, my business partner, Andi Cross. We met in middle school, bonded over the fact that we were both really, really weird and had kind of active imaginations that no one else seemed to appreciate, and since she was pretty loud and outgoing, she kind of showed me the way. I eventually learned to deal with this anxiety by acting the opposite of how I really felt. So the more anxiety I felt, the more outgoing I acted. Over time, the “acting” became real. I felt more secure with myself and more comfortable in social situations, and that eventually became something I thrived on.
As my life stands now, I literally feed off meeting and talking to new people. It is the one thing that keeps me going when I feel tired and unmotivated to go out. But the thing is, I usually always have at least one person by my side to be this great outgoing person WITH.
Last night my amazing photographer friend Kay invited me to see Markus Schulz with her at Soundgarden in Philly. The EDM/rave scene is where I spend most of my time, so naturally I was 110% down to go. A couple other people were supposed to meet us there, but when it was go-time, those people bailed, and I realized that Kay was actually there to work - so I was going to be raging alone.
Immediately, I kind of started freaking out. I haven’t felt that feeling in a really long time. Almost a feeling of wanting to bail immediately, regardless of the potential fun I knew I could have at the show. I mentally noted that I would probably leave the show within the hour, if I even made it that long, while at the same time kicking myself for letting this issue hinder me from doing something I wanted to do yet AGAIN. But when I got inside and Kay bounced off to take photos, I suddenly just tried to relax and do what I love to do most at these shows - dance. I got up close to the stage, closed my eyes, started dancing and when I opened them I saw two guys in front of me with huge, inviting smiles on their faces. They said something about the unicorn hood I was rocking (it was pretty awesome) and next thing you know the three of us were hopping around the club together all night. I knew these guys were Bad Kids immediately because the first thing one of them did was pull out his phone and show me this image of himself that he photoshopped to say:
At that point I knew I had bumped into these kids for a reason. We talked and got to know eachother a bit throughout the night whenever we could hear ourselves over the beats, but mostly we just danced together and got lost in the music alongside one another.
Then Markus came on:
The lyrics to Markus's set intro, ironically:
"Turns up the lights,
Get ready to fly,
Open your mind,
Follow the signs,
And leave 'em behind,
Release the fear within,
Release the fear within."
Well I DID "release the fear within" and I ended up having an AMAZING night - one that I knew I would have missed out on if i had listened to that anxiety and given in to this fear I’ve had for so long. Not only did this experience show me that my social anxiety is all in my head and that there’s really nothing to be scared of, it also reminded me why I am so in love with this EDM scene - and why so many other people can’t help but fall in love with it too. This scene is one of acceptance, and fun...and light. We are never really alone in this community, because wherever EDM is, there is also a person who will take you in and make you feel at home, because we’re all a family.
Some new friends - definite Bad Kids :)
That’s the thing about being a Bad Kid. We’re everywhere. There’s nothing to be scared of when you know that there are other Bad Kids around. We’re all here for the same reason - we want to live a very full life of beautiful music, amazing people and pretty lights.New quote to live by: “Always be yourself - unless you can be a unicorn, then always be a unicorn."
To our friends who were not with us at ULTRA 15, apologies for the extreme FOMO you probably are feeling. Know that you were with us in mind and spirit (and all the pics we sent you of course!) For those of you who were, this is one more opportunity to relive the glory, as we know you are missing it just as badly as we are.
Like any festival, there are ups and downs. It's a journey, its work to make the festival experience perfect, it’s dedication! But if you made it through ULTRA 15 alive, WE SALUTE YOU, because man oh man, that was crazy! With any festival, the ups outweigh the downs, every single time – the music, the dancing, the new tracks never before heard. But, what makes the festival experience so rich is the people you meet along the way. If they are from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia…anywhere, you are always and forever connected through this one love – EDM.
On this particular trip, we met some of the most dynamic, real, unbelievable Bad Kids we have met to date. So, we wanted to take the time to share THEIR experiences and allow a post dedicated 100% to YOUR story telling. So please, share your EDM memories and journeys, we are dying to hear about it!
the meantime, we'd like you to meet Dom, a Bad Kid we met while raging face at Main
Stage, who truly understands what it means to live the bad life. This is his story:
Kaskade was coming to town, and that's where my story begins. My rave family and I had been waiting three months for this show and being stoked for it was an understatement. You would think the show is what I would never forget, but it's the series of events that happened prior to, on Friday August 10 of 2012, that changed my life forever. This is the part I remember it like it was yesterday – I got off work and rushed to the local Good Will store to try to find the most ridiculous outfit I could, with little time to spare prior to leaving to see Kaskade.
I remember calling my girlfriend and telling her I needed more shopping time because Good Will had been an epic fail. So I crossed the street like nobody’s business and next thing I know, I wake up in a hospital bed two days later feeling like I just woke up from a horrific dream. I came to find that I really had been to hell and back, and this was no dream. That ungodly pain that was shooting up my whole left side was in fact a very real thing. And then came the recapping from the doctors and nurses…
Apparently when I was leaving the Good Will store, I was hit by a mid-sized SUV at 40MPH. My left leg was removed upon impact and I was sucked under the SUV, breaking my ribs and puncturing my lung along the way. I broke the passenger window as I bounced back up from underneath the car and then was sucked back under for a second time. Like the first go wasn’t good enough, right? Bone to cement, memories out the window – like couldn’t even remember my name, memories out the window. From what the docs tell me, I was screaming bloody murder and trying to “put the pieces back together.” Trust me, you never want to hear that, in your life, ever.
Two weeks in the hospital = ruined summer and not to mention, the two months I couldn’t do ANYTHING on my miraculously healing leg. But since I am a Bad Kid, here is how it all transpired post-accident:
Week One: Bumpershoot show - I was in the front row in my pimped-out wheelchair while all my friends guarded / blocked my leg. Awesome.
Week Two: I had to go back into the hospital for major bone graft surgery. Thankfully, I received a bone transplant from one of the nicest families out there. PLUR everywhere.
Week Three: 24/7 leg elevation… not sure if you have tried that, but it fucking SUCKS! The silver lining - during my recovery time I stayed home mixing music all day, and all night…every day trying to record something new. It was the only thing that kept me out of depression. EDM is always the answer.
Six Months Later: My fibula finally was completely healed but my tibia still had a 2cm gap that wasn't healing at all. Doc informed me I had to get another surgery. FUCK. That's when I decided something. I needed to do something to get me to stop thinking about this unbelievable pain, this horrible accident and how my life potentially could be ruined. I needed something that would make me feel complete and alive again… something big and something I've never done before. Ultra15.
Flash to March 21, 2013: Traveling across the country and going through the airport to get to Miami was the pits because I was basically Iron Man, setting off security alarms all over the place… but we landed and that's when I realized I was one of the luckiest people, to be able to experience the biggest rave of all raves, even after an accident like this.
March 23, 2013: Just crutching through the lines of Ultra was unbelievable. The way people were responding to my injury was awesome – they were so supportive, caring, helpful, kind. It was really cool to experience such compassion from straight up strangers, just encouraging me, giving me high fives for coming under such crazy conditions. That's when I met Lex and Andi - the Bad Kids Unicorns.
They gave me mad respect for doing what I love and made me feel special and part of something bigger than just a song… I felt like I was with family! They loved the fact I didn't let a snapped leg stop me from experiencing my dream of going to Ultra and they embraced my positivity and newfound outlook on life. Considering my current situation… this “Bad Kid” mentality resonated with me and I knew I had to keep in contact with these girls post-Ultra.
They especially loved my crutch-enhanced dance moves:
March 28, 2013: After my 8-day, unforgettable ULTRA trip, I landed safely and thankfully had enough time to get some R&R in before my third and final surgery.
April 1, 2013: I had to stay a total of three days in the hospital for round three, and when I got out… I actually think it was the happiest moment of my life. Now, every day is getting a little less painful. Dancing without casts and crutches is actually something I can see now, and not just a distant memory. I should be able to walk in two weeks and the only thing getting me through all of this is staying positive and thinking about how amazing the future will be.
So where I am now…well I can’t stop thinking about this:
Life is precious and I realize now that it could be gone in the flash of a moment. We take for granted all the beautiful things in this world, too often I’d say, especially each other. Each of us can change the world for the better if we put our minds to it – because each of us are special, unique, equal humans that have so much to offer. I look at each person like they are my closest friend now and give people a chance to show me who they are with no initial judgments. When there is judgment flying around, you might miss out on meeting the person that changes your life forever. For me, it’s all about living to the fullest, making people smile, and connecting with people for who they truly are. I have been given a second chance at life and intend to do everything in my power to touch as many people as I can and spread good vibes every single day I walk on this earth. So, with that being said, I leave you with this…
To me being a Bad Kid:
- Isn't about being the center of attention.
- Isn't about how many Facebook friends you have.
- Isn’t about putting yourself above others.
To me being a Bad Kid:
- Is about knowing and loving who you are.
- Is about u expressing your love so confidently and freely.
- Is about helping others rise to the occasion.
- Is about making people feel good.
- Is about making people smile, even on the worst of days.
- Is about being able truly accept who you are to the core, and is about focusing on being the best you can be.
A Bad Kid is so magnetic, people don’t want to let go and will gladly be influenced by their positive ways. A true Bad Kid doesn't give a reason for other people to feel envy, because their one goal is to spread PLUR wherever the road takes them. And that my friends, is what I learned through all of this… I am a Bad Kid.
So I wanted to give it a couple days before I gave my recap of Ultra, but first I had to finish playing "Where's Waldo?" with myself in nearly every picture I could find from UMF. Times have been tough as of late, in between my 12 hour sleep days and binge eating sessions, but depriving my BAD KIDS of the most acute observations of this year's Ultra Music Festival would be a crime of passion… something I don't think any of our emotions can handle right now.
So let me begin by referencing a cute, pony-beaded, assless-chapped, kandi-Floridian I met at Ultra 2011, my first ever stint in the EDM land of Narnia. Our brief conversation lasted only a short while, but what she told me then, resonates with me now more than ever. She said she had attended every single Ultra Music Festival way back when it used to be only one day and that every year Ultra seemed to double in size and outdo itself from the year before. She said this year was the most crowded she had ever seen it (since Ultra 13 was the first year they expanded the festival to 3 days) and that it would surely be her last.Anyone who took an economics class before would know these principals are the fundamentals of supply and demand operating at its finest. But what struck a chord with me was the way this message came off - as if she had traveled to the ends of the earth battling friend and foe to reclaim her spot as the belle of the ball of South Beach, only to have it squandered by all the shoobies that didn't know their ass from their elbow when it came to EDM. At the time, myself being the biggest shoobie there, I could give a rat's ass what was coming outta this girl's mouth. But now after attending my third consecutive Ultra, I'm starting to see beneath all the kandi and glitter what exactly this girl was talking about.
UMF 15...7 stages...2 weekends...what's not to like?! Every year Ultra brings together the best DJs from all over the world to showcase the hottest dance tracks around. With some of the most highly sophisticated stages ever conceived as well as firework displays that could make Uncle Sam crap his pants on the Fourth of July. Without fail, Ultra does it right. You really think for Ultra's Quinceañera and all the Latin-based lovers in attendance (it's cool, I'm Mexican) you'd expect anything less? In my wholehearted opinion, Ultra fashioned together the greatest experience one could possibly have in downtown Miami. Every potential problem was covered and for any yearning a person could have, there was a way it could be met.
There was Avicii labeled go-carts ushering the unfortunate last minute travelers who booked hotels miles away from civilization to the park, filling stations that resembled tropical jungle water holes luring animals out of the pit for sweet sustenance; no joke there was even "Meat on a Stick" kiosks for well...meat on a stick. Why someone would want that is beyond me, but the point is, it was being used! Even the littlest addition of live streaming both weekends went such a long way. Like many of you, I couldn't take my eyes off the live stream Weekend 1 in anticipation for Weekend 2. Some might even go as far as saying it took points off the shock factor when attending the following week, seeing as the majority of DJs played identical sets back-to-back...NOT A CHANCE. There's a big difference between watching a set on your 15 inch monitor and seeing a show live, bass blasting and surrounded by 100,000+ party animals...BIG DIFFERENCE. From picnic areas to dance pits, there was something at the festival for everyone to enjoy and that goes for all ages..I shit you not I saw an 80 year old man there and boy was he getting’ after it!
Tiesto kicked off Weekend 2 playing a phenomenal set that mixed a lot of his clubbangers with a bunch of ID songs that has the Internet in a nervous panic trying to track down the names of. Like he does best, Tiesto added his own twist on the usual crowd pleasers such as “Clarity” and “Sweet Nothing”, erupting the park in a fiery fist punching frenzy. He even took a moment to throw in some "Tiesto Classics" as he calls it, which is around the time I just lost it! Meanwhile on the other side of Bayfront, the Bloody Beetroots were kicking over amplifiers and screaming at the crowd as they put on a heart stopping performance. A number of people I spoke with even had the audacity to say it was the set of the weekend given their fast-paced beats and spawn-like showmanship. Not a huge BB fan, but I'd be lying if I didn’t say that “Chronicles of a Fallen Love” doesn't get my dick hard.
The real story of Day 1 however wasn't the headliner, nor was it the enormous dance circle at the heart of Cazzette's set that lit up the Ultra Brazil Stage...no no no...it was the travesty and heartbreak that occurred roughly 30 minutes into Avicii's set when he decided to tell the whole world that he is no longer producing EDM and instead taking on a new venture...country music. At the 30-minute mark of an already abysmal set, Avicii experienced technical difficulties for about a minute and a half just after dropping Levels. Maybe this was a sign from the rave gods to walk off the stage or maybe it was his own equipment trying to tell him not to play his new music, but whatever it was, he should have listened. What Avicii came on with next were unreleased tracks off his next studio album featuring bluegrass artists Mac Davis, Audra Mae and Dan Tyminski. Does anyone else see a disconnect here?
What Avicii did to the 100,000+ attendees at Ultra on Day 1, I wouldn't wish upon my mortal enemies. For those of you who have been living on planet Neptune for the past couple years, Ultra is an EDM festival – EDM – meaning electronic DANCE music, emphasis on the DANCE. 100,000+ fans that paid hundreds of dollars to come all the way to the dance capital of the nation do not really want to be entertained by cowbells and harmonicas for an hour holding their lighters in the air waving them back and forth. Miami is not that crowd, nor will it ever be. A lot of critics are saying it was hit or miss, he was trying something new, it was too advanced for our time, blah blah blah blah blah..it sucked donkey balls! Ginormous, oversized, sweaty, hairy donkey balls! You wanna try something new Avicii, then do it on your own damn time! I came to dance to electro tunes, and dance to electro tunes I shall!
You should have seen the droves of people fleeing the scene the second that wreck came back on the speakers, as if a murder had just been committed and people were running away to any stage they could find, just so they wouldn't die too. Avicii's set seemed more like a PR stunt by his managers than a true DJ set. They knew the show would be streaming across the world so they tried to take advantage of that. They saw opportunity to try and bring in a “fresh new crowd” of people seeing as country music (for reason I'll never understand) is the most listened to genre of music in North America. But what they didn't plan for was that those country folk wouldn't be watching a live stream of Ultra Music Festival if their lives depended on it! They're too busy in the barnyard sipping on moonshine whacking off the family cow while their daughters watch and churn corn!
Avicii swung hard, and boy did he miss the ball completely. His set as a whole was just too scattered with no fluidity whatsoever. He tried referencing too many hit beats like Rattle and In My Mind without giving any of them a chance to build up. I thought it got bad with Duck Sauce's funk track “Anyway'” but his snippet of “Thrift Shop” was the icing on the cake, showing how he didn't care about his particular style of music anymore and that it was more about appealing to as many people as possible… oh and while throwing in a shotty transition to try and make them all flow. I got news for Avicii; people enjoy his music because of the feel-good, uppity style that resonates in all of his tracks. Once you go bending over backwards to try and appease everyone else, you end up putting out songs that sounds like Taylor Swift getting run over by a lawnmower. If Avicii wants to stay relevant, for the love of god does he need to fire his managers like yesterday and go back to what made him big to begin with.
So if you couldn't tell, Avicii was a stone in my shoe on Friday, but at Ultra Music Festival its hard to stay down in that kind of environment. Between kickass after parties every night and A+ DJs around the clock, there was always something to do. If you shuffled back and forth between two stages all weekend then I pity you. Ultra is your chance to see people you've never seen before, not guys who tour on the reg and you've seen 6x over. Probably one of the best times I had was when I wandered over to the trapped stage early in the day on Saturday for DJ Craze's set. Space to dance as far as the eye could see, and deafening speakers that caused your ears to ring within 5 minutes of being in the immediate proximity. That's one thing that Ultra does great - the way they section off different subgenres of EDM between different stages. Nothing is better than hopping back and forth between, trap, dub, progressive, trance… and even a little tech house here and there helps you relax yet keep the beat going!
Day 2 was highlighted by Deadmua5's hypnotic set, and anyone that was able to make their way towards the dropzone more than likely stayed there for the remainder of the day. With heavyhitters like Flux and Bassnectar throwing it the fuck down, there was no reason to leave that stage for hours on end. Day 3 and the final day of Ultra was the most raw day in terms of turnout. Everyone who showed up in the morning to midafternoon were the troopers of the weekend, the ones who dug deep after 2 days of raging out to give it one last hoorah before going back to the real world the very next day. If you were amongst these select few people I salute you, as did the DJs who played some of the best sets of the weekend. SVD and Dirty South were remarkable during the day and if you hadn't had the chance to scope out the main stage due to the overwhelming amounts of people there all weekend, this was your best chance. Probably the most anticipated day for many, Sunday was the day Carl Cox's mega structure transformed into ASOT dragging the inner zombie out of all of us. Honestly, any time spent at the trance tent is time not to be taken granted for; time always has a way of flying by when completely zoned into whichever spellbinding DJ takes the reins.
So everything about Ultra weekend sounded pretty good right? Well the way I prefaced this post should be a word to the wise that not everything appears as it seems. To the untrained eye and mainly the first timer's experience at UMF 15, Ultra is an adult's playland, a fairytale in which one can behave and do whatever their heart desires…and it is. But to people like that little assless chapped kandi girl I met at Ultra 11, its a ticking time bomb to Ultra's max potential, and ya know what my friends...I think its been reached.
The amount of people that Ultra attracts every year has been growing exponentially ever since its inaugural show in 1999. Given this trend, it’s only a matter of time before the park reaches its maximum capacity right? That time is now and anyone who had attended Ultra before this year can attest to that. When I go to a dance festival, the main reason I go is to dance. In the past couple years I've had no problem doing this whatsoever, and I'll be the first to tell you if you don't have enough room to dance its because you're not dancing hard enough--if people see someone getting after it they're going to respect their space if not join the unavoidable dance circle brewing. However, given the overwhelming amount of people at UMF 15, there wasn't a spot in the entire park that you could go without a conga line of people passing in front of you at any given time. The same spots that I would use for land markers to meet up with friends during Ultra the year before were so congested this year that you would have to use sites 100 yards further back from the stage just to have room to breathe. Consequentially, the further you are from the stage the less you feel the music, and if you can't feel the music then you can't dance, and if you can't dance at a dance festival, then what's the point? Seriously?
I've never been more frustrated in my entire life struggling to gain space to simply breathe at times and that’s saying a lot considering the amount of times I've been to Pacha NYC, that place is tighter than a mouse's asshole. The way the park was setup, you could tell the coordinators of the event did not foresee certain areas being problematic once completely filled up with people. Perfect example was the addition of the Dropzone tent in between the Mega Structure and the main stage. This stage was nonexistent last year so passing through to get to other stages in the park wasn't an issue whatsoever. Unfortunately, the brainiacs behind Ultra decided to add this monstrous edifice and fill it with some of the best talent all weekend, therefore creating a walkway that would bottleneck people just trying to get to the other side of the park. This area became immobile and any wanderers would be sucked into a sea of people and spat out where ever the crowd took you. The poor placement of this single stage drastically limited how quickly people could move from one stage to another restricting the DJs you could see and the experience that went along with it.
The most evident display of how Bayfront park can no longer be the site for UMF was during Swedish House Mafia's so called "final performance." For anyone that witnessed the live stream of this set, they probably heralded how unbelievably epic it was and how the hour and a half set brought them to tears. To the untrained eye that may be so, but what you probably didn't notice is that they never once showed a visual of the park from the street. If they had, people would have seen that every square inch of space was completely filled, nowhere to walk, nowhere to dance, nowhere to stand without getting pushed by the person getting pushed next to you. Personally I thought the Swedes set ranked as one of the worst of the weekend. It was very predictable, and nothing more than a greatest hits performance segued with 5 minute interludes of the Swedes talking and saying how much they love us and love music and vomit.
If Ultra wants to continue to outdo itself by adding more stages, more DJs, more people, they're going to need to relocate the festival, cause Miami certainly isn't the spot anymore. From 2006-2011 Ultra reigned supreme at Bicentennial Park, a 30 acre venue that had all the stages set up as a giant circle so it was very easy to move about, too bad there was only about a quarter the amount of people in attendance then compared to what the festival draws now. Ultra relocated to Bayfront in 2012 and designed the venue to be more scattered - almost more amusement park-like to spread out the crowds. Great idea right? Would have been if Bayfront wasn't only a whopping 2 acres bigger than Bicentennial! Sounds to me like a lot of great ideas, just the lack of resources to do it.
If only there was an untapped goldmine somewhere in the U.S. where all the debauchery and everything a festival stands for could coexist? On second thought, one of the most talked about festivals around the EDM watercooler last year was Counterpoint - the first of its kind that brought campers together for three days in the Chattahoochee Hills of Georgia. The festival was such a huge hit that the widely acclaimed Tomorrowland is making its United States debut in the same exact location! So what's so good about the distant and placid plains of Georgia? Only about 32,000 acres of land! With that much space you can have whoever and whatever you want at a festival! The sooner the creators of Ultra realize this, the sooner they'll be able to assemble the greatest festival ever made. Yea you miss out on the nightlife that South Beach has to offer with a move like this, but at this point something's gotta give.At the pace Ultra is headed given the location, the rapid growth, and their propensity to sell tickets to an already sold out show the day of just to milk a few more bucks, I simply can't see this festival's run going more than another year or two. In the meantime though, we have a lot to look forward to in the upcoming months. With EDCNY right around the corner, Governor's Island reopening for all the summertime festivals, and how can we forget the 5th year of Electric Zoo. We are on the precipice of entertainment in the metropolitan area, the most difficult part of which is choosing which spots to unleash your inner BK. Don’t know where to start? That's ok, I'll be sure to give you the 411 on all the new shows coming up in the near future and where to find your queens of the dance. Stay tuned and stay sweet my BK kids.