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April 4, 2018
April 4, 2018
Before electronic music was more accessible and popularized, there were certain customs that early fans adopted. Some of these customs have continued to flourish despite the EDM community’s rapid growth. Both new and old fans respect these customs as it represents an important aspect of EDM’s core message. The most well-known symbol within this community are kandi bracelets. For those of you who haven’t seen kandi before, they’re bracelets with colorful beads and often sentimental or ironic sayings on them. As someone who is pretty submerged in the EDM scene, these little bracelets act as reminders to memories or moments that I can reflect on as I’m completing the mundane tasks of my life. They are an important part of the community, but few know how this important staple really started.
The hippies did it first
Kandi bracelets are based on “friendship bracelets” (the tiny pieces of string that your best friend made you at summer camp back in 2005 that somehow is still attached to your body). Actually, though, hippies did it first back in the ’60s. It was a way to remember someone and to keep them with you at all times. The exchange of friendship bracelets was a moment of love and this tradition continued within the kandi culture. Today, the exchange of kandi remains an important aspect of the community. You will frequently see attendees with many different kinds of kandi on their arms to represent the diversity within EDM.
It all started because a fight broke out
In 1993, at an early rave in the Bronx, DJ Frankie Bones yelled out to a rowdy audience, “You better start showing some peace, love, and unity or I will break your f*cking faces!” After that, the idea of PLUR (peace, love unity, respect) became a movement within the electronic community. Later, Bones opened a label called Groove Records and every time an event was held, PLUR was reinforced. The idea was to unite a diverse group of fans and to make each fan feel safe and respected in the community. Many kandi bracelets and other festival attire carry the plur message.
There are specific types of Kandi
One of the most incredible aspects of kandi culture is the extensive types of kandi available. The most common kandi are single cuffed due to the fact that they are pretty simple to make. A step up from the typical cuffed Kandi are 3d cuffs. This Kandi is made by stacking rows of beads on top of each other to create a stronger, more durable bracelet. Another extensive type of kandi is called an epic. Epic kandi is usually a larger piece that can be anything from a face mask to a bikini top to an entire totem.
There is some controversy within Kandi culture
Some people believe that purchasing kandi is going against what kandi and PLUR stands for. However, that doesn’t stop shops from selling their creations. These more elaborate pieces are highly valued and respected among the kandi community, not because they require a great amount of time to produce, but simply because of what they represent. The trading of Kandi is a common aspect of the culture and giving a fellow music lover a piece that is made by someone else can be seen as rude. While most kandi wearers probably won’t care too much about specific “rules,” these guidelines speak to what makes kandi so unique.
Kandi wasn’t always allowed at festivals.. some still aren’t!
In the past, raves have had to ban kandi due to litter and perceived drug association. When kandi first started getting popular people worried that the collectible bracelets promoted drug use. Because of this, certain events made attendees leave their kandi bracelets at home. If you have experience with kandi you know that these bracelets can break quite easily if not secured. These beads go everywhere when the bracelet string snaps and venues started deciding to get rid of them all together in order to protect the venue.
Members of the kandi culture began to and still do educate others on what their bracelets truly mean and today they are a well-respected custom among EDM fans.