The time has come once again for our favorite month of the entire year. October holds many pleasures, including some of the best EDM events of the year. Unfortunately, this Halloween weekend Southern California faces something it has never seen before–three massives on the same day. Yes, three; Hard Haunted at the Shrine, Go Venture’s Monster Massive at Orange County’s Oak Canyon Park, and Insomniac’s brand new Escape From Wonderland. Now, I know Hard Haunted is not a massive–but it has a lineup that makes it a contender so lets not discount it just yet. First, a little history of EDM on All Hallows Eve. Find out more after the jump!
Hard Haunted first hit LA’s Halloween scene in 2008. They appeared to be taking advantage of the fact that there was no EDM event in LA the night of Halloween since the 11th annual Monster Massive down the street was held the Saturday before. In 2009, Monster Massive thought they could continue their dominance of the LA EDM community’s Halloween weekend and went up against Hard with essentially only Armin Van Buuren headlining. Hard responded with a two-day extravaganza at the Shrine down the street with Justice, Deadmau5, Steve Aoki, The Bloody Beetroots, and the brand new Major Lazer headlining. Monster Massive was bigger, but Hard Haunted sold out over a week before, and further established itself as a contender against the much bigger Insomniac + GoVenture combo (MM was run by GoVentures but endorsed by Insomniac at the time). Last year, instead of splitting up the talent, the market force of competition gave our community twice the music. Monster Massive moved their event to the weekend before Halloween, and Hard kept their two day Halloween weekend event. We got to see everyone we wanted with 3 separate nights of Halloween. Absent however, was Insomniac’s endorsement of Monster Massive.
Now, this brings us back to this upcoming Halloween: three massives in one weekend. Hard is aiming for another year of back to back sold out shows in Downtown LA, but has the smallest and weakest venue. On a personal level, Hard has betrayed my trust more than once by changing what items are aloud in on the day of the event (fanny packs) and unsupervised lines riffed with cutting. I also dislike moving between the outside and inside of the Shrine at their events, the bright lights at their outdoor stages, and the lack of decor (that being said, I’m still open to the first day since its the only Friday event). Meanwhile, in the OC, Monster Massive is going to try out a larger, more open venue at Oak Canyon Ranch–the beautiful wooded canyon that hosted the Pacific Festival. Monster Massive is relying on having the only US stop for Armin’s current tour, which is a huge selling point because anyone who missed Monster Massive 2009 hasn’t seen him in SoCal in almost 3 years. He is also the only big trance name playing that weekend. But, at TAO last year, GoVentures still was not displaying the crowd control expertise of Insomniac. Hopefully they will do better in their grassy, new, more open venue. And then there is the Insomniac factor–the #1 promoter annually by ticket sales wants to take over this weekend with their own event. In their own words they “sell an experience” which we saw in full force at EDC–more art, fire, dancers, and rides than I bet you can remember. On Halloween their second sequel to Nocturnal promises to bring you art, hayrides, and a corn maze (think about that).
Now, the question is what does all of this mean for us and our community? Is this rampant commercialization of our scene going to ruin its authenticity? I can confidently say I do not believe this to be the case. One of the fundamental pillars of capitalism is that competition will bring about the best options for the consumer (because the firms force each other to create the best possible product in order to be the product the consumer selects). This is exactly what we are seeing here. Whichever promoter makes partygoers happier time after time is going to be the one everyone chooses the next time around. Just look at the progress EDC makes every year, while LoveFest events have gotten smaller and smaller. Furthermore, our community has grown so large that we would no longer fit into the sports arena; the three-venue solution allows for more attendees with less crowding (who likes crowded?). The more events we have, the better, so vote with your ticket purchases–and remember, Insomniac loves you!