There is a long debate regarding the EDM music scene and it’s age group. Some people think that EDM is restricted to a certain young audience with a maximum age of something in the late 30s. Other people think that EDM is just a variety of age groups depending on the type of music. Some commercial dance music will appeal to the late teens and therefore a younger audience, than perhaps the more deep house and techno music which is known to have a more “connoisseur” and musically mature audience.
In the general sense, music is universal and appeals to all ages; in it’s varied forms. Electronic dance music is also a huge label to put on a lot of various sub-genres and music styles. It is a broad range of percussive electronic music genres, which employ electronic musical instruments, digital instruments and circuitry-based music technology. It is true that every age has a general preference to a type of EDM, but there are several reasons to attend a festival at any age.
You’re never too old to attend an EDM Festival! Art and music are ageless. People of any age, race & background have the right to enjoy them no matter where they are and what they specifically like to do in life.
People have the right to enjoy their life they way they want it, even if it means dancing the weekend away on a festival dance floor. Electronic music culture is all about unity, supporting emotional wellbeing and self-expression without judgment. In addition to that, most headliners are now over 30 years of age, so why not have their fans of the same age group? On another hand, EDM is known to have become the “new rock”.
According to an in-depth study conducted by Currys PC World in Britain, almost half (46 percent) of the polled adults dreaded social events or nights out, preferring to “lounge” in the comfort of their own home instead. A lot of these polled adults gave reasons like facing hangovers, the efforts they need to put into dressing up, the efforts and trouble they’ll face if they need to book babysitters for example and arrange travels, and transportation issues. But these should not be much to consider if you know the EDM culture well. People are more easygoing than these individuals might expect.
Let’s start by exploring music in general and then take a closer look at the specific age groups, before discussing the reasons why you can attend an EDM festival at any age.
Music Is For Everyone
The British Association for Music Therapy says: “Music is something that we can all relate to regardless of age, and is often central to a person’s sense of identity. It provides us with ways to connect and share feeling, memories and moments with others, and offers stimulation and encourages expression. Music therapy can also enhance exploratory and creative abilities, as well as foster self-esteem and the sense of feeling valued and heard.”
On another hand, people around the world can listen to an instrumental soundtrack and know exactly what the person was trying to express. It connects us in that way. It is a way to discover more about the other person and a way to explore our own feelings as well. Music helps people express what emotions they’re facing inside themselves. When it comes down to it, music is basically entertainment for us as well.
It is true that not all types of music will appeal to everyone. But putting musical taste aside, there is something universal about music: all cultures have it. In most cultures, music is a central part of the community. From religious rituals to weddings and social gatherings, music is always present and is a force that helps bring people together.
For example, what makes a wedding reception so much fun? It’s the music! Notice when everyone is on the dance floor and singing along to a classic song, everyone at the party is in joy and the dynamic is perfect.
Scientists still aren’t quite sure why music has so many benefits on the human mind and body. But what they know for sure is that music makes people happier.
Exploring age-specific Music Preference
Let’s explore the music preferences based on age groups in the United States, a major market in the music industry. In 2017, statistics on statista.com showed that pop music consumption accounted for 17.2 percent of total music consumption. On another hand, rock music resulted in 22.2 percent, R&B reached 8.7 percent and EDM only 3.9 percent. According to the source, 57 percent of respondents aged 16 to 24 years stated that pop music was their favorite music genre in the United States in 2017.
According to The Nielsen Company, the electronic music listener is a college educated, mostly white individual. The age group broadly incorporates people of 18 years of age to mainly 35 year olds. To be more specific, males between the ages of 18 to 24 are the bulk of this music’s audience.
On another hand, in a study conducted by Eventbrite, EDM Fans expressed significantly less fandom around specific artists compared to fans of other genres of music. General music fans advocated for their favorite artists roughly 2 times more than EDM Fans did. While there was still a significant portion of conversation driven by people advocating for, and communicating with, their favorite artists, EDM as a whole is less artist-centric and more based around the EDM lifestyle.
The study also showed that EDM fans talk about concerts and events 30% more than other music fans, which builds more awareness around EDM festivals and concerts compared to other genres of music. Overall, 14% of all EDM fan conversation was also driven by EDM subculture topics, such as PLUR lifestyle discussion and EDM Podcasts and DJ mixes.
After a Certain Age, Preferences Change
Some studies show that with age, EDM music taste develops into the harder and darker sub-genres. Some audiences start with commercial EDM music which introduces them to the style (especially since it’s now played on radios and available everywhere). On another hand, with a more mature selection, the person becomes more involved in the underground scene and will choose music that is more “selective”, experimental and unique.
For example, a 34 year old fan of EDM discusses how he listened to all kinds of subgenres throughout the years: from dance to trance developing to hard trance, hard house, vocal trance, happy hardcore, hardstyle which moved to techno and deep house. He also talks about how he always attends parties:
“As soon as I started listening to it, I went to 7-9 parties of only hardstyle. I even dragged my main BFF party mate who’s not that into it along for 2-3 of my rolling rides. I can’t think of a year where I don’t go to Qlimax, I just have to go there to satisfy the hardstyle piece of my musical soul.”
Of all the traits, openness to experience has been shown to have the greatest effect upon genre preference. Open individuals show a preference for diverse musical styles, but do not prefer popular forms of contemporary music, which reflect a certain limit on their openness. No matter the age, people who are open to a new musical experience will always look for novelty in the music, a characteristic of EDM in general, and will always try to experience something beyond the conventional. These are the types of vibrant, positive people of any age that you will meet at festivals.
Reasons to Attend EDM Festivals At Any Age
Art & Music Are Ageless
Art is ageless because anyone can do it. It is an expression of the culture it is created within. It is timeless since it is always present throughout the generations. Music is also a form of expression that spans the ages and cultures.
When it comes to music festivals, some are very commercial and cater to the younger crowds of people are more inclined to like commercial dance music. Other festivals feature more underground artists and sub genres such as techno and tech house, and feature a more mature crowd. Notably, EDM festivals are for everyone and it’s the choice of the festival, based on the artists and theme, that is more important. With time, the 20-year-old audience will start looking for a more “proper” sound, which they might find in tech house and techno for example, or maybe the hardstyle type. These more “developed” sub genres are acquired tastes in music with a scene that feels much more mature.
Choose to Enjoy Life
People choose to enjoy live music, even though many other people of the same age choose not to, or are too tied down to do so.
Maybe it’s because we obsess over youth, and don’t allow older people the dignity of a soul or even hints of a vibrant social and sex life. Maybe it’s because you can look at art or film without knowing if the person behind it is young or old.
The people we admire most are the people who simply don’t care. Think about it, those are the most appealing individuals to us, and they make us feel comfortable to be around them. One great example to note is a Paraguayan woman in her eighties. She smoked cigars, played poker past midnight, and nudged at parties to pass me the bottle of cheap liquor before hitting the dance floor, smiling with one ancient tooth hanging on while she danced with her grandson. It’s beautiful to see happy people of any age enjoying wild clothes, pink hair, and a cocktail in the sun.
I remember a few years ago when Armin van Buuren was playing his A state Of Trance radio show event in Beirut. It was his 600th episode celebration. I remember seeing people from all over the world coming together to celebrate with the artists, but one thing that surprised me was during the warm up set of Armin. It was at the beginning of the show, the doors were barely opening and I was one of the lucky few people who made it inside. The dance floor was almost empty but with a few minutes in, I noticed a large number of “older people”, people in their 40s and later 30s dancing alone and singing along at the early start of the show. They didn’t care about anything else in the world. It was exceptionally beautiful to watch them give themselves to the music, to the beats and melodies. It was like they were truly in a beautiful state of trance.
Why Let people’s Opinions Decide How You Live Your Life?
When other people’s opinions are more important than your own, you live life on their terms instead of your own. Why do you want to live a life that’s not fully based on what you want? Why do you need to cheat yourself into showing others what they’d like to see instead of the real you? Nobody will ever give you permission to live the life you want. It’s only your job to do that.
Are you a 40 year old who likes Skrillex and he’s brining his show to your area? Then what’s wrong with going there and experiencing it?
When people are worried about what other people think, they’re projecting their own fears and judgments onto other people. You don’t need to feel any guilt or the embarrassment, that’s just fear. There’s a reason that embarrassment feels terrible, it’s because of this projection of your feelings onto other people.
Another thing to point out is the comparison with others. Each person’s life is and should be different. We look at everyone around us and want to do the same thing the majority is doing to avoid any feelings of failure. This is self-imposed torture and the results of it will make you feel bad.
EDM is about uniting under one thing: The music
We’ve discussed EDM culture and the PLUR movement a lot throughout several of our posts. It is an important point that should help clarify to you why age is only just a number. This culture and music scene is united under the umbrella of music, of positivity and acceptance of people. Anyone from any country and of any age is welcome to become part of our community of music lovers. Even if the specific genre they like is very different than the one I like. These differences make dance music a lifestyle, they diversify the overall spirit making it a beautiful and normal reflection of the world we live in.
The music is the unifying aspect, it’s beats and melodies bring people together and since it’s all about the music, your age doesn’t matter, your background doesn’t either. So who would not want to be part of that uplifting, supportive culture?
A Generation Should Not Miss Out On Something
Music festivals are made to be an open, friendly and supportive space for everyone to come and express themselves freely through the music they love. Then why do we want to seclude people of a certain age from attending?
Support Emotional, Psychological and Social Wellbeing
We’ve talked a lot about the supportive culture of PLUR and dance music. This positive state is a much-needed “therapy” to anyone of any age. Older people are known to have gone through a lot more than the younger generations, are also people with a lot more responsibilities and stress in their daily lives. That’s just part of everyday life. It is therefore important to express themselves and vent out all the negativity and refresh themselves in a positive, uplifting, and welcoming environment.
We All Need Our Spirits Lifted
Everyone goes through life with their own set of complications and issues to face. We grow through our days that way and we become better human beings. But facing challenges without much needed rest is a tiring lifestyle. Therefore, taking the time to celebrate life and release the stress is a much needed activity to be done every once in a while. EDM festivals are a cocktail of colors, music, art and people. A good therapeutic dose of elements that lift the human spirit to much needed heights.
EDM Could Be The New Rock
The growth of EDM resembles the arrivals of jazz, rock, and hip-hop in a few key ways, from its backlash to its lineage to its mass appeal. From radio stations playing dance music artists to the rise of artists like Deadmau5 and Avicii. The real home of the music are the festivals, the raves and the DJ events where both attendance and excitement has been toppling the previous two decades’ conventional wisdom about the preference of American youth for rock, hip-hop, or country. Similar to what happened with pop music and jazz to rock and roll to hip-hop, the cultural arguments over the value and meaning of EDM suggest that perhaps music has entered a new era.
Nobody’s There To Judge You
Nobosdy at an EDM festival is there to judge what is appropriate, or has the right to dictate what is too old and what is not. Anyone who does, has only a rigid mind, full of fear. This creates separation and does not build unity.
Most Headliners Are Older Now
Today, a few years after the boom of EDM and the massive growth of festivals, headliners are getting older. A lot of them are in their 40s, some in their late 50s. Their creations appeal to a more diverse audience, which you can be part of. With their experimentations through sound, they become more interesting as artists and bring much needed new variety to the EDM genre as a whole and the sub genre specifically.
Remember, age is just a number. There is no need to care about what people think. What would really be pathetic is if you let the imagined opinions of others decide how you live your life. Enjoy it to the fullest, no matter what. Music has no age, it is freedom and love. Let it be a catalyst for your experiences with others.
Thank you for this article. I’m a 62 year old male in Chicago. Lover of music. My entire life from Elvis amd Chuck Berry to Sonic Youth, NWA, Bob Dylan, classical. Well I’ve discovered probably 30 years too late this amazing EDM! I can’t stop dancing and it’s truly uplifting my spirits. My four kids actually dont mind! I will attend a festival and dance. Fun!
Thanks for your kind words! We’d love to help make the best out of your new discovery of electronic dance music!
Welcome to the family 🙂