Relentless Beats

Bass Medicine: Is There a Connection Between EDM Festivals & Well-Being?

Those involved in the Electronic Dance Music community are well aware of the peace-loving, inclusive, and healing nature of scene as a whole. Ravers will often refer to their favorite songs, and festivals as their “medicine” and “therapy.” Critics of EDM have met these statements with skepticism and disbelief. However, despite outside critiques, the EDM community continues to subscribe to the PLUR (Peace, Love, Unity, Respect) model of belief. This two-party debate presents us with a curious question: is there any evidence to back up the claims of us ravers? Do our favorite songs and events really have a positive effect on our sense of well-being?

James W. Cannon and Alinka E. Greasely, who study Music Science, attempt to answer these questions in their 2021 journal titled Exploring Relationships Between Electronic Dance Music Event Participation and Well-being. Their work mainly focuses on the large-scale festivals that the genre is famous for. Cannon and Greasely specifically studied the “Social, Musical, and Emotional experiences of festivals, and the shared values of the rave community.” Lastly, the researchers attempt to connect their findings to the concept of well-being in order to determine effectiveness.

According to their research, the Social Experience was most often referred to as the main draw of these large-scale EDM festivals. The friendly and inclusive nature of the rave scene can break down normal societal barriers. This erasure of social norms can help people express themselves in a much more authentic way, leading to deeper bonds and more fulfilling interactions (Cannon & Greasely, 2021). According to Leman (2007), the Musical Experience of EDM festivals personifies musical embodiment, “one’s perception of music through body movements that reflect and imitate its structural attributes.” Festival attendees commonly have “peak experiences” (Maslow, 1964) when attending shows. These can be so euphoric that they “mimic religious and meditative experiences” (Cannon & Greasely, 2021).

I suffer from claustrophobia, which can be quite inconvenient at a music festival. However, the immersive nature of EDM and musical embodiment often overpowers the terror that accompanies this phobia. This has done WONDERS for my anxiety and sense of well-being. My social anxiety has also DRASTICALLY reduced, leading to more and more friendships within the community. In the span of a few short years, I went from having zero confidence in my dancing abilities, to attending shows nearly every weekend. This genre has changed the lives of countless individuals and will continue to do so for decades to come.

The researchers concluded that multiple aspects of EDM festivals (and culture) draw parallels between increases in attendance and increases in well-being (Cannon & Greasely, 2021). Interconnectivity, acceptance, musical embodiment, and peak experiences (Leman, 2007; Maslow, 1964) can all create lasting positive effects that extend long after the conclusion of the festival.

Don’t delay… attend an EDM festival TODAY!


Cannon, J. W., & Greasley, A. E. (2021). Exploring Relationships Between Electronic Dance Music Event Participation and Well-being. Music & Science4

Leman, M. (2007). Embodied music cognition and mediation technology. MIT press.

Maslow A. H. (1964). Religions, values, and peak-experiences. Penguin Books.

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