Music has undoubtedly shaped my life...even from the very start.
When looking into my past, it's impossible to forget that I became an avid concertgoer at the young age of five years old. I spent countless hours dancing around my living room while blasting my favorite CD’s, and then turned to scavenging the Internet for new music to share once I reached my teenage years. I can effortlessly remember all of the artists, albums, and experiences from each show that amplified my unparalleled passion for music. This love for music is a direct result of having parents who began exposing it to me before I even left the womb. I would not be the person I am today without the musical influences of my family, and it came as no shock to them when I eventually decided that I wanted to pursue a career in the music industry.
Stepping into my first music festival at Ultra in 2009 was like finding an oasis in a desert of endless sand. From the vast variety of djs and producers hitting the stages to perform their iconic sets (most notable the bass-filled tech house beats flowing from the Carl Cox and Friends tent) to the alternate lifestyle and vibe that the electronic music community offered, I was instantly hooked. I automatically knew that this was the field for me and that I needed to continue on this path without any hesitation.
My parents have been a part of this journey whether they wanted to be or not. They assisted in paying for all the shows and festivals I attended, were forced to continuously listen to blasting sets, sat with me to watch hundreds of videos, and now, they are supporting my future career in the music industry. Although they’ve been dragged along for roughly six years, they still never fully grasped the concept of “EDM” and never really experienced an EDM event for themselves.
Earlier this month, my university held its annual Parent’s Weekend, and coincidentally, one of my favorite DJ/producers Kaskade was also holding one of his renowned Spark Run events just a short drive away. Instead of participating in the school-approved activities, I decided to take Parent’s Weekend into my own hands and give my mom a more personalized, special weekend. The Spark Run was the perfect event to take my mom to, not only for her first EDM experience but as an opportunity to finally give her a small glimpse into my life.
The Spark Run is a 5K run/walk that was created by Kaskade. It is a nighttime marathon illuminated by electric colors that encourages a fun, healthy, and active way to both participate in an EDM show and give back to the community. Attendees participated in a pre-party, a run or walk of the outlined course, and then after party in which Kaskade performed. The Spark Run partners with local charities in order to raise awareness and collect donations for whatever cause they’ve partnered with.
When I first initially broke the news to my mom, she was a little shocked and sad that she wouldn’t be attending her first Florida State football game. However, she agreed that I wouldn't be her daughter if there wasn’t a surprise lined up for her during the weekend, so she accepted my invitation to head to Orlando. On the way, the idea began to grow on her and she even became excited.
As soon as we arrived, we walked up to the check-in booths to collect our materials. All of those that paid to participate were gifted with Kaskade Spark Run merchandise like a t-shirt, LED bracelet, and of course your own race bib. We quickly changed into the provided attire so we could line up at the starting point of the 5K. At dusk, announcers began to energize the crowd and prepare them for the 3.1 miles each attendee was about to endure. After a short wait Kaskade arrived and lined up with the rest of the participants in order to begin the run. My mom finally got to see the man I made her listen to for countless hours and spoke so highly about, and surprisingly enough, she enthusiastically high-fived him. The rope was lowered and excited fans began to speed into the night. The Spark Run took attendees on a scenic and interactive voyage filled with LED lights, blown up arches and décor, and different zones in which fans could dance to Kaskade hits all the while taking photos with memorabilia from previous tours.
Once the course came to an end, we immediately secured a spot in front of the stage. The most anticipated part of the night had finally arrived; we were going to see Kaskade perform. This was the part of the event where my mom truly got a better understanding of people’s connection to electronic music. She got to see fans decked out in Kaskade apparel, fatheads of his face blown up waving in the air, people trying to get photos, and the craziness of the crowd. As the stage lights turned into a deep yet bright blue color while he dropped his first song, the energy that the crowd created was infectious. My mom couldn’t help but smile and sing along to the songs she knew like “Atmosphere” while dancing in unison alongside everyone around her. The hoopers and glovers skillfully practiced their art form, creating hypnotic tracks in the air that left my mom mesmerized – she had never seen anything like that before. As the night concluded with Kaskade playing his powerful, bass-filled remix to his classic, “I Remember," I couldn't have been happier seeing my mom genuinely enjoying herself.
The environment created at The Spark Run allowed for a unique and unforgettable experience with hundreds of other attendees. They all shared mutual love of Kaskade’s music, and I shared an incredible bonding experience with my mom. The Spark Run gave me the opportunity to say thank you to her for being incredibly supportive of my career path and to show her first-hand what the electronic music community truly held. Although it may seem unconventional to bring a parent to an electronic music event or festival, it really is something I encourage after trying it myself. It was a beautiful memory that I’ll be able to carry with me forever and something I hope to relive in the near future with the rest of my family.