(from Venues Today, September 12, 2012) Electronic Dance Music (EDM) events are not like typical concerts. The event itself consists of a single artist, deep bass and high decibels that draw an audience that enjoys the music and dances all night long, lasting up to six to seven hours. EDM events have been hosted in arenas as well as outdoor areas and sells tickets for the “experience.” The EDM events draw typical concertgoers who want to hang out together and interact with others who share similar interests. Arenas all over North America have started to host EDM events. Air Canada Centre has a vice president position specifically for booking electronic events like EDM. Over the past decade or so, EDM has been a growing attraction, becoming a $4 billion industry and continues to grow. It has been predicted to be “the wave of the future.”
The environment, however, is what makes EDM different. Darren Davis, the arena manager at Orleans Arena, admits, “There will be drinks and drugs at the event.” Security and medical personnel are numerously staffed at these events. To monitor issues like illegal substances and traffic control, police officers (dressed in reflective vests), vehicles and even canine units are stationed around and within the venue. The goal of EDM event is to simply get everyone out alive.
This is why the International Association of Venue Managers put on an Arena Management Conference in Las Vegas on September 9-12. The conference, attended by 270 professionals, consisted of security and venue managers educating the attendees about EDM events. They compared venue types for this event and why indoor venues are preferred over outdoor festivals. Security is the main reason, from the ability to manage the crowd to climate control. The panel of specialists also provided information about staffing the events. The event staff needs to be aware and educated about what to expect come the event, as well as have enough staff on hand to control the large, typically out-of-hand, crowd. Overall, EDM is the future of music events, and the venue and event industry needs to prepare for it.