The AZ Hard Dance scene exists, but has significantly fallen into the shadows with the rise of other mainstream EDM genres. When I say ‘mainstream’ I mean the Electronic Dance Music that appears in the Top 40’s on the radio or the music people dance to in clubs. In the recent EDM scene there are droves of people who don’t know whether they like Hardstyle or not. How would they know if they did like it? They have not been in the scene long enough to have experienced any old-school rave culture, they have never been exposed to it in a large-scale setting, and such people would probably never go out of their way to attend a purely Hardstyle show. However, they might attend a Hardstyle show if it was sold to them alongside headliners they already like. The only logical way to expand the scene and create a larger fan base for Hard Dance is a hybrid show. A hybrid show would include a few Hard Dance artists, a few mainstream EDM artists and a few local artists. The idea behind a show of this nature is that crowds from a broad spectrum of the EDM culture would attend the show to see their favorite headliners or their local friends, while also given the opportunity to explore new, harder music genres.
Trap is really big in today’s scene. Trapstyle is the newly emerging combination of Trap and elements of Hard Dance Music. Trapstyle is gaining popularity with artists such as Yellow Claw and RL Grime selling out shows in the state. In order to keep up with the crowd, some Hardstyle artists, like Coone, are working Trapstyle tracks into their sets. Not everyone agrees with it, but from Coone’s point of view, he is just expanding his fan base and giving people what they want to hear. A lot of Hardstyle fans were upset that he played Trap during his set at EDC. They complained that he “watered down” his set and changed his style. Fans need to realize that at EDC, Coone was not only playing for hardheads, he was playing for “everyone”. Not everyone is going to bother sticking around for something they have never been exposed to before! In my opinion, Coone was perhaps trying to bring more people over to Hardstyle by giving them what they were familiar with, and easing them into liking his music. That is, if they were intrigued by his EDC set, they might actually look him up and find a liking for the harder music he plays. With hybrid shows, purely Hardstyle artists wouldn’t feel obliged to “water down” their sets for everyone. Because of the coexisting stages with other genres, the crowd would be able to choose its placement at the show based on what it feels comfortable listening to.
Throwing hybrid shows that include a little bit for every attendee, will help unearth the present Hard Dance scene, and recruit new appreciation for the harder styles of music. Not everyone can handle ‘the hard stuff’ right away. Most of us who started out early in the rave scene are familiar with Hardstyle, Hardcore, or Gabber. We love it ‘raw’, and that’s why we listen to people like Radical Redemption or Ran-D. If we want our scene to grow we have to somehow bring new people in, and they might not like it ‘raw’ right off the bat. In order to expand the Hard Dance scene we have to show people why we love the music we do, in a safe setting, not scare them off or disregard their interests. We can enjoy the music we love while they enjoy theirs in an open environment with an accepting crowd.