Flower headbands, a Jamaican flag, fake money and bass that I can still feel vibrating through my skull several days later: as someone who just learned what EDM was last year, I decided to better prepare myself for the next festival on my list, Mad Decent Block Party. Eager to give myself a little crash course in the DJs who were scheduled to perform during the Boston stop of the Mad Decent Block Party tour, I was happy to see that a lot of the songs listed on the website had lyrics listed in them. Thankfully, it seemed like I wasn’t only going to be listening to grinding bass lines and sirens--not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I like to be able to sing along to the music I listen to (and make a fool of myself in the process).
On the day of the concert, I was admittedly quite excited, despite my limited knowledge. As the Silver Line bus stopped just a few blocks from the Blue Hills Bank Pavillion, I could already feel the music blasting. Girls wearing bustiers, fanny packs and glitter with guys following closely behind, showcasing a variety of shirts with pop culture references and symbols on them, jumped to the beat the moment the bus doors opened. The excitement was building and only continued to rise as I waited to get in.
While in line, Walshy Fire, one of the DJs behind electronic-dancehall project Major Lazer, was playing one of the few songs I knew, “Watch Out for This”, and hyping the crowd up over its voracious beat. I had to wait, however, as security protocol mandated that I stand shoeless on the burning asphalt while my things were searched. At this point, I was already craning my neck to get a glimpse of what I was about to get myself into. The minute I was cleared to go through, I headed straight towards the music—my mind was blown.
While it was relatively early when I got in (3 p.m.), the festival had started at 2 p.m. and was to last until 9 p.m., with Diplo as the closing act. By the time I got there, there were tons of people of all ages already in the crowd, swaying and jumping to the songs. It looked as if they had been waiting for this day their whole lives and seeing this energy and excitement made me indescribably happy. It reminded me of the feelings I had experienced when I went to see the Queen and King (Bey and Jay, of course) earlier this summer. Displayed on a huge stage, these DJs, Flosstradamus and DJ Snake among them, had control of the crowd as they slowed down songs, built them up, kept everyone on edge, before dropping the beat and making the crowd go absolutely insane.
As the day went on, people kept on spilling in. The many rows quickly filled as the open grounds began to populate with teens and adults enjoying the concert-fare food and staying well-hydrated amidst the blaring sun. There was all sorts of dancing each direction I turned. From a girl trying to twerk on her hands, feet propped up against a boy and falling over, to a group of young men simply jumping on the seats, everyone seemed to be fully soaking in each and every song.
The way that everyone, from middle school to high school, from college to people who looked to be past middle-aged--and who I wouldn’t have thought enjoyed this music--expressed themselves through their movements or clothing was so refreshing to see. No one cared about anything else besides the music these DJs were spinning. I could feel everyone in such a heightened state of enjoyment that it made the atmosphere of the “Block Party” that much more enjoyable.
Even for someone who wouldn’t have gone to something like this otherwise, I had an incredible experience that I suggest everyone try out. It might not be your typical EDM concert but whatever it is, putting yourself out there in a completely unfamiliar environment, surrounded by people with such love and enthusiasm, can really open your eyes to things you never expected them to see before.