Colorado vs. Michigan Differences in Rave Culture

Electric Forest By:  Jack Beaudoin Photography 

Electric Forest By: Jack Beaudoin Photography 

       Between the Bass Capital of Colorado and the birthplace of techno music Detroit, we can see very different normalities within each rave scene. Growing up in a suburb just north of Detroit I was exposed to the Detroit scene; once I moved to Boulder, CO for my first year of college I was exposed to the Colorado scene.


           What I’ve noticed about the Detroit rave scene is that it’s more rooted to the principals of “PLUR” than that of their bass counterparts of Colorado. Growing up and going to all of the local shows I noticed a higher number of individuals wearing a plethora of “kandi” along with other “kawaii” affiliated apparel. Covering their arms with intricately placed colorful bracelets that just make the individual “pop” from the rest of the people at a show, kandi kids are a sight to see.  Yet, this heavy influence of “PLUR” is lacking in Colorado in my opinion.

           The people at each of these shows, in my opinion, are some of the most interesting people i've ever met. Not only do most local Detroit ravers respect one another but treat one another as if they were family. They actively express principles of peace, love, unity and respect with each attendee at the show. Every show that I’ve personally experienced in Detroit everyone has treated me as if I were family. If I needed water people wouldn’t hesitate to get me water. 

           However, another differential factor that separates Detroit and Colorado is definitely the music itself. What I mean by that is from what I’ve experienced over the years, people in the Detroit scene take pride in their heavy dubstep influence. I’ve seen that more and more individuals prefer dubstep rather than any other genre/sub-genre.


Bassnectar  @ Red Rocks Amphitheater 2014 

Bassnectar @ Red Rocks Amphitheater 2014 

    On the other hand, Colorado’s electronic scene is a little different if comparing to that of Michigan’s. Colorado’s electronic scene has very heavy influences of jam, funk, and downtemp. With artists such as The String Cheese Incident, Big Gigantic, and Pretty Lights all hailing from the great state of Colorado, their music not only shaped the scene itself but as well as creating a new “craze” throughout.

           This “craze” that’s in Colorado, as well as many other states, is that individuals will wear iconic labeled hats, such as Grassroots California hats, and collect various abstract pins on their hats to that of certain artists. For instance, Pretty Lights and Big Gigantic both have personalized pins. Whether it be artistic incorporation of their logos or their name on these pins, they have swept the Colorado scene. Although I have seen a good amount of “kandi kids” at the shows here in Colorado, I would say it’s outweighed by this “heady” subculture. 

           Everyone knows that most big-named EDM, Jam, and Reggae artists are always present in Colorado. Whether it be at the epochal Red Rocks Amphitheatre, or any other venue within Colorado, artists always make their way here. As Detroiters love their heavy dubstep, Colorado doesn’t come short when it comes to bass love.  Their bass love is a little different, although everyone can get down to some Bassnectar I’ve noticed that the bass love in Colorado is geared more towards electro-funk. The electro-funk craze in Colorado is anything short of a plethora.  That’s the main difference in music love between Colorado and Michigan, i'd say. Most people in Colorado can jam out to some funky beats while most Michiganders prefer some down and dirty filthstep.

Written by:

Chris Urbanek