[Editor's Note: Miami's Ultra Music Festival happens this weekend, which for the EDM crowd is sort of like Electric Daisy Carnival, Coachella and every nightclub in Vegas all rolled into one big bass-dropping ball of awesome. We will bring you Ultra coverage on Monday. In the meantime, our friends at Miami New Times' Crossfade blog shared this handy guide to Ultra's attendees, which we think applies pretty well to the EDM festival crowd here, as well.]
By S. Pajot
Ravers are like snowflakes, right?
Wrong. It's actually not uncommon to find two (or twelve) who look (and sometimes behave) almost exactly alike.
In fact, we here at Crossfade have spent a lot of time wandering around EDM fests in a state of perpetual déjà vu, encircled by thousands of party people who seem to be nearly identical human copies of specific stock types.
Here, for instance, are ten walking cliches you meet at Ultra Music Festival in Miami.
He always wears shorts. He often rocks an obnoxious tank. And he's made many questionable facial hair choices. But close your eyes and the bro can still be identified by his especially dexterous use of the word bro, bro. He may employ it as a friendly term of endearment, as in, "Want a massage, bro?" Or a verb, as in, "We are bro-ing so hard right now!" Or even an expression of surprise and amazement, as in, "Oh! Whoa! Broooooo!"
The Kandi Kid
A PLUR-tastic mystic once told us that "these beads are magic." And admittedly, at the time, it sounded like a bunch of hazy-minded hokum. But after several trips to Ultra land, we are kinda-sorta beginning to believe that covering one's body (especially the forearms and face) in rainbow-colored plastic finery just might have life-sustaining and age-defying effects. After all, the kandi kid is among the oldest raver types still found 'round EDM fests. Yet these bead-bedecked wonders never seem any older than a wide-eyed, rosy-cheeked 15.
The Bad Girl
At first glance, she seems to be a sweet young thing, sporting whimsically dyed hair, wearing bookish glasses or a flowery headband, and making hand hearts with her BFF. But then you read the handmade fabric-paint sign. And you notice that she moves from stage to stage by riding atop the shoulders of a male slave. And instantly, you recognize that she is a bad girl who parties way harder than you can handle.
The Peak-Hour Performer
The human body is a machine made for dancing. Just ask the Peak-Hour Performer. After training all year for this moment, dropping about 20 pounds of off-season water weight, spray-tanning to perfection, strategically shaving, and finding the perfect pair of short shorts, he or she is finally prepared for three whole days of rave. (Now, a quick party etiquette tip: Never interrupt a serious Peak-Hour Performer's mid-fest deltoid dips to ask for a photo op. You wouldn't badger Tiësto for a pic during his main-stage DJ set, would you? Please wait till the last rep.)
The Party Animal
When a person is about to perpetrate an act that requires a certain degree of anonymity, it's never a bad idea to cover one's face. Robbing a bank? Try some pantyhose. Making a ransom tape? Pop on a balaclava. Raging so hard that it might embarrass your parents? Have some fun going incognito and assume the identity of a half-human, half-burro with an awesome collection of sombreros. Other party animal options might include fancy gorilla, dead chicken, and drunk unicorn.
If untold hours of your life have been dedicated to a DIY party accessory project, like this carefully crafted, fully functional replica of Deadmau5's signature headgear, you are going to show off that handiwork, whether or not the King Rat is doing a set. In 2011, Mr. Mau5 headlined Ultra, and there were Mau5heads. In 2012, he slammed the fest and skipped it, and there were Mau5heads. In 2013, he headlined again, and there were Mau5heads. Now he's missing UMF for the second time in four years, and there will be Mau5heads. It's kind of like a real pest problem, if the diseased rodents were moody (but otherwise nice) fanboys and -girls with excellent styrofoam carving skills. [Editor's Note: It turns out Deadmau5 will be playing Ultra 2014 after all, replacing Avicii, who had to cancel due to illness.]
The Spring Breaker
Unlike many raver types, the Spring Breaker isn't fussy about personal style. He or she basically dresses like it's frosh week at the beach. If it's a guy, he's probably wearing a "Spring Break Forever, Bitches" tee, old flip-flops, and whatever neon trucker hat was on sale at the tourist shop. And if it's a girl, she just romps around in a bikini top and sunglasses scored for free from some guy on the street. But beware, they travel in packs and they're prone to stampedes. So steer clear of possible Spring Breaker flash mob scenes like Avicii condom drops and Alesso tote bag giveaways.
The Pale Face in a Native American Headdress
Even a community supposedly built on "peace, love, unity, and respect" occasionally needs a lesson in cultural sensitivity. Like, seriously, what's with all these pale faces wearing cheap knockoffs of Native American headdresses? And extra-special shame on all of the imitation indigenous peoples at Ultra who've been dumb enough to break out the hand-over-mouth, "oh-woah-woah-woah" war chant as a way of requesting that your favorite DJ do an encore.
The Hammock Dweller
Though the most common recreational activity at an EDM fest is definitely dancing, there's always a lot of snoozing going on. Here's the Hammock Dweller, a sort of Rip Van Winkle of rave, who can be seen sporadically waking up throughout the day and night to lick his lips and wonder, "Where am I? Who is making all that noise? Where did my girlfriend go?" Another frequently spotted, possibly narcoleptic Ultra raver type: The tree sleeper, a surprisingly adept climber who likes to curl up in the branches of Bayfront Park and only rarely falls out.
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The Party Prepper
He's got the fingerless gloves to protect his palms without preventing fully articulated fist-pumps. He's got the doomsday-themed neoprene motorcycle facemask. And he's got a fully loaded bug-out bag, stuffed with water, snacks, and a fresh set of glowsticks. So when the apocalypse (or maybe just a main-stage power outage) arrives, the Prepper's gonna be ready to party. Of course, without electricity, it'll be near impossible to enjoy electronic dance music. And that's why he's stockpiling epic iPhone vids in preparation for that moment when the power grid goes down.
Rave while you still can, people.