Are Big Festivals Ruining Techno?

Techno equals underground and quality, but where do all big festivals and highly paid techno headliners fit in?

Is techno in a a crisis of originality and identity? This is the matter Chandler Shortlidge wrote about in his article on Wearepulse, and here are some interesting statements we agree on.

”Festivals have long been dominated by a handful of DJs. Many of those DJs are connected with just a few big labels; imprints that either have their own stages at festivals across Europe and the UK, or the name recognition and booking power to ensure their artists commandeer the top spots all summer long. Name recognition goes a long way in dance music, and if an “unknown” artist has a highly recognisable label next to their name on flyer, they’ll likely sell more tickets than an artist who doesn’t.”

”That’s something clubs have traditionally had an easier time with. They’re cheap, close by, and don’t have to sell as many tickets to be successful. And with enough local or international name recognition and a few soild residents, clubs can have a steady base of customers flocking through the doors each weekend almost regardless of who’s playing.”

”All that competition puts a huge amount of pressure on festivals, which are already viewed by some as expensive, “once in a lifetime” experiences. Not everyone is willing to risk their time and money on acts they’ve never heard of, making leftfield bookings all the more difficult. To compensate, many parties have upped the size and scale of their stages, giving EDM events a respectable run for their money. That itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but playing almost any large-scale festival stage has a direct impact on music, and producers are taking notice, crafting their sound for maximum impact on the biggest stages and, by proxy, biggest labels in the world.”

”Techno should be more than confetti fodder. And while there are plenty of incredible, boundary pushing techno and house DJs out there making astounding music, much of it rarely hits the festival main stage, where so many more young fans are now consuming their music. That’s why it’s up to today’s promoters to continually put music first, with longer set times, obsessive focus on sound, and unique bookings—even if it’s at the expense of a few pretty lights. But more importantly, it’s why DJs in those headline slots must be willing take risks and challenge their audience, pyrotechnics be damned.”

Read the full article here.