‘The Kandi Kids’; Fact vs. Fiction
A while back, someone who knew me from my dayjob (and not my nightlife) gave me their opinion and viewpoint as what they called the ‘typical kandi kids’.
They called them drug addicts, they called them deadbeats destined to wash up, and they called PLUR their way of ‘coping’ or perhaps even ‘legitimizing’ their ‘pointless’ lifestyle and unnecessary expenses. This someone said that his main reason for going to shows was just to hear the music, and that the crowd didn’t matter.
Unaware that I’ve coming to feel a resonance with the PLUR-practicing ‘kandi kids’, this person probably assumed (like most people) that I was the typical neon crop-top wearing 20-something who listened to David Guetta and Afrojack, went to festivals with a group of well-groomed bankers in tanks and pastel Dockers, and maybe had one or two ‘bracelets’ because I didn’t understand how trading worked or bought them from Claire’s or Hot Topic.
But, That’s Not Me
But to me, this demonstrates a fundamentally skewed and highly inaccurate portrayal of the scene. The fact of the matter is, yes some of us do drugs…but so do some of the banker-types in their neon frat-wear. Yes, some of the kandi-kids work ‘deadbeat’ jobs to make ends meet…but under some of the beaded masks, under the spirithoods, and wearing some of the LED gloves you also find PR professionals, artists, medical professionals, and yes, even some bankers. Similarly, some of the ‘well-to-do’ types that fist-pump and yell “RAAAGE!” randomly throughout DJ sets are also sometimes working deadbeat jobs, donning the frattier attire to attempt to blend in the more affluent banker-types. And that’s no reason to think of them as any less or better than the rest of the people enjoying the scene.
What PLUR Actually Is
One of the biggest reasons I love the PLUR-practicing community is, you can be that kandi-laden raver with FX contacts, body paint, fluffies, gloves…or just be some guy in a polo shirt and khaki shorts…and you will be treated with equal respect. Similarly, if you’ve only ever heard of David Guetta, and are at a festival to expand your understanding of the scene…the PLUR community will be all too excited to guide you to a stage playing Trance, or Trap, or anything that they think you might like. Hell, they’ll even let you listen to their iPod to help you figure it out sometimes. PLUR isn’t some generic cult that shoves molly down their throat to have a good time…and even those of us that do enjoy a roll here and there aren’t trying to ‘cope’ or ‘legitimizing’ our feelings for the music. In fact, some of us just add Molly sometimes…because we just want an extra kick, not unlike the fratty times that ‘pregame’ with gallons of dehydrating beer: at least we remember the experience we had, unlike the fratty mishaps that get wasted and carried off in stretchers at Festivals (though if that’s how you want to spend a festival, that is entirely your choice).
PLUR, is at its simplest core:
- Peace; the peace of mind of being amongst like-minds. The peaceful vibes you get as you experience the lights, music, and raw energy of the crowd. The peace that comes as you lay your head to sleep after a good show and relive the memories in your dreams.
- Love; a unified love of the music, of the crowd, of what is around you and who you can be for that moment in time. Love of who you are, and love of other people who are there for the same reason you are.
- Unity; quite simply the unity you feel in that moment where you let the music move you. Where you can express yourself not as one person, but as one excited and tangible unit of people aligned in the same emotions.
- Respect; the respect of those around you: if you need water, they will help you. If you need support, they will support you. In some cases, if you can’t see, they will lift you up so you can get a glimpse of your favorite DJ. They understand why you are here, and you respect the reasons they are there with you.
So perhaps if this person knew that I go to these shows wearing a bandana mask, trading kandi, and feeling a mutual love of those around me, they might think differently. But it’s not entirely their fault: if your sole reason for going to shows is to stand still and listen to the music, then stream it live from home or buy a VIP ticket. If you are so far-removed from the crowd and do no wish to interact with the ‘kandi kids’ because you find their unique expression juvenile or take joy in mocking it…just buy a VIP ticket and enjoy your VIP air-conditioned bathroom safely away from them.
But if you do nothing else, realize that the mainstream ‘stereotype’ you are associating with these individuals is inaccurate and unjustified. But because I believe in PLUR and I align with its message, instead of being mad that him for thinking this way, I will simply love and respect him, as I do all my friends.
Sorry for the mega-rant guys!