When you walk down High St. there’s no telling what kind of music will fill the air. With an eclectic mix of intimate venues, listening options span the length of the musical spectrum, making it hard to settle on just one genre.
Lately, Morgantown has been dancing to a new beat, trading in it’s traditional Appalachian roots for a more techno-friendly sound. EDM music is quickly becoming one of the most sought after genres for young people, and judging by the growing local lineups – EDM is the top choice in a college town.
“I think EDM is music made for partying,” said WVU student and house music enthusiast, Chelsea Walker. “The fast pace and all the crazy beats – it’s just fun-loving dancing music. When you put that in a college town, we are obviously going to eat that up because we are living that kind of lifestyle.”
EDM is not just a genre – it’s a culture. For most fans, attending an EDM show is about the experience as a whole and not just the performer on stage. The lights, the crowd and the venue all play a role in creating an ideal rave-style atmosphere.
“I think Morgantown is a place that has a lot of students and young people which is very popular with the house music scene, so I think just being a college town here – it’s kind of the perfect hub for EDM acts,” Walker said. “Overall, it’s just a very popular genre amongst students here.”
With die hard fans eager to rave and mingle, EDM’s fan base continues to grow in both size and power. And thanks to the viral response from listeners, EDM has climbed the charts and moved to the top of festival lineups worldwide.
Although many students are loving the surge in house music, putting a genre of global proportions into a small city like Morgantown can be challenging and a bit unorthodox.
One of the biggest challenges students notice, is keeping the genre presence balanced. While EDM shows have become the hot ticket in town, non-techno fans are feeling a bit forgotten. A rising number of EDM shows means other genres begin to get drowned out and students are noticing.
“I think Morgantown could do a better job at keeping things diverse,” said Jen Brown, a WVU student and frequent concert-goer. “I think we get a lot of EDM and I don’t think we get as much hip-hop acts as I would like. Looking back, you can recall a ton of EDM acts but not many hip-hop acts outside of Fall Fest.”
Another challenge for Motown EDM fans is undoubtedly the city’s small size. Keeping the beat alive in a tiny town is difficult, especially in an area as rural as Morgantown. Often times, Morgantown misses out on bigger name acts to the Pittsburgh metro area, which offers a more diverse venue selection. While the town offers quaint venues such as 123 Pleasant St. or Mainstage Morgantown, neither place can support thousands of ticket holders. However, the demand for big-name acts remains high among students and young listeners.
“Having bigger acts like Big Gigantic or Borgore definitely makes you want to be more involved in the music scene in Morgantown because people are familiar with the people performing,” said Brown of Morgantown’s growing EDM presence. “I also think there is something special in Morgantown about the small underground scene, not only of EDM music, but of jam bands as well.”
Although Morgantown’s EDM scene has it’s quirks, the arts culture overall is truly one of a kind.
“Morgantown has the ability to host big and small acts and have the shows be just as exciting,” Walker said of the music scene’s unique charm. “I think Morgantown is a really cool place where we can have big name acts like Kendrick Lamar or more local acts like Giant Panda Guerilla Dubsquad and draw equally large crowds.”