Letter to the editor: Electronic music improves Greensboro’s local arts scene
To whom it may concern:
There has been much discussion recently about how the city of Greensboro can improve its local arts scene. There’s also been discussion about how to get young people to engage in the local arts scene. I believe there’s been something missing in this city to influence out-of-towners to come into and enjoy Downtown Greensboro. I believe encouraging electronic music in Greensboro could deeply influence the economy and culture of the city.
Electronic music employs electronic musical instruments, digital instruments and circuitry-based music technology. Drum machines, synthesizers, sequencers, and keyboards are all instruments used to make this globally popular music. Music like this can easily be made in someone’s home without expensive studio equipment, allowing amateur musicians to make great-sounding music just by experimenting with ideas at home.
Globally, electronic music, specifically house music and techno, are enjoyed in almost every major city in the world. For example, this music is so popular in Europe that many festivals attract upwards of 150,000+ people every day. Tomorrowland, one of the greatest electronic music festivals in the world, attracted 360,000 people in 2014. A weekend pass to Tomorrowland is $340, demonstrating that festivals can be a lucrative business. Locally, Durham, NC has Moogfest, one of the best electronic music festivals in the United States. Approximately 10,000 people from all over the world visit the small, intimate venues at the festival, generating $7 million into the economy and $200,000 in tax revenue to the city, according to the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Culturally, electronic music and the nightlife surrounding it attract an urbane, sophisticated demographic. German courts recently ruled that electronic music and its club scene are considered high culture because they provide more than just entertainment. In France, a Detroit-based electronic artist, Jeff Mills, was recently named an Officer of Arts and Letters, the second-highest honor awarded in France for enriching French culture. (Elton John was given the same award years ago.) Electronic music fuses elements of jazz, rock, punk, classical, blues, R&B, gospel, disco, Latin, tribal, Middle Eastern, dub, and any many other genres.
Electronic music culture also has accompanying health benefits, as most subgenres of electronic music are considered dance music. Dancing is great cardiovascular exercise and helps with social anxiety and releases endorphins, which help make people happy.
Another beauty of this music is that it pairs beautifully with almost every setting. I’ve seen electronic music shows or DJs playing dance music at farmers markets, night clubs, yoga studios, opera halls, temples, castles, art museums, libraries, parks, mountains, even on the Great Wall of China! Electronic music is a global, contemporary art form that should have proper representation here in Greensboro. Locally, Strictly Social, a dj collective, hosts a proper electronic music event every first Friday of the month at LaRue that engages not only musicians but visual artists, silk aerialists, graffiti artists, and even professional chefs. It attracts what may be one of the most diverse crowds in the Triad.
Overall, we need our growing electronic music scene to be supported by the city. Right now, despite living in Greensboro, I’d rather go to a Durham for shows since the city helps promote the electronic music scene. We can be better than Durham! We’re the third-largest city, but the music scene currently lacks diversity, consisting almost entirely of bluegrass, pop, or cover bands. With the talks about the performing arts center and the new hotels downtown, Greensboro deserves to have a contemporary electronic music scene that regularly draws additional young people to Greensboro. I personally believe that having electronic music events in facilities such as The Weatherspoon, Van Dyke, Center for Visual Arts, Carolina Theatre, Elsewhere, and White Oak Amphitheatre would absolutely make Greensboro a great city for art and music enthusiasts to visit on a very regular basis. It’s all in the programming and the production.
Radio DJ 103.1 FM Wuag (“The Drive” Wednesdays 11pm-1am)
Event organizer/promotor Strictly Social https://www.facebook.com/StrictlySocialGso/
Event organizer/promotor Dance From Above http://dancefromabove.com/