Stereosonic at helm of rising Australian dance music movementStereosonic13d 233

Stereosonic at helm of rising Australian dance music movement

Stereosonic at helm of rising Australian Dance Music movement

While December may be off-season for the American EDM scene, on the other side of the world the party is just starting, and one festival has earned its title as hottest event in the hemisphere. Stereosonic is the brand most people associate with Australian dance music. It is not only the country’s largest dance event but a true highlight of the year for a region where the number of fans is only outstripped by the number of miles required to get top talent onto the continent.

Photo Credit: Rukes


Unlike the one-stop festivals that put thousands of dance fans in motion in the US, Stereosonic is a multi-city tour set up so that artists move together as the festival moves throughout Australia. The flagship event starts in Sydney with other events occupying Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, and Brisbane. Outside of Miami Music Week and Amsterdam Dance Event this is really the only time where a gathering of artists stays put for an extended period of time. When looking at large scale festivals such as EDC Las Vegas, Electric Zoo, and TomorrowWorld, most artists leave after their respective sets and are off to their next show on their own tour; At Stereosonic, artists are catching each other’s sets, hopping on planes together, and often even collaborating.

Photo Credit: Rukes

What does this mean for the fans?

The gathering of multiple artists gives an aura around each respective set. Unlike an in-and-out business transaction, artists view their time slot as more of a showcase of their talents (and a chance to show off to their peers). This means Australian fans get to see their favorite artists at the peak of their abilities. The lack of flights to catch or details to sort out also lends itself to an easygoing atmosphere where creativity can flow.

Photo Credit: Rukes

Community feel

Part of that atmosphere can be explained by the camaraderie that goes on behind the scenes. While Above & Beyond took the main stage at Stereosonic 2013, Afrojack was hanging with Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano enjoying the music while Rukes swung from shooting the crowd to shooting off-duty stars. With the festival tour lasting two weeks, long-lost friends had a chance to catch up after months on the road, hit the clubs together and create a caravan from city to city. The fact these friends were the world’s best DJs is part of what makes Stereosonic, Stereosonic.

Photo Credit: Rukes

All in the family

Another unique element of the Australian fest is its dedication to fellow Australians. The Aussie Locals Stage played host to over 300 homegrown acts poised to join the ranks of Tommy Trash, Nervo and Dirty South as world-class exports. This year saw Tommy Trumpet play local favorite in Sydney, Sunshine rock Melbourne and Black & Blunt carry Perth, with hundreds of up-and-coming names spread across three days.

Photo Credit: Rukes


Though fostering local talent is a service in itself, Australia’s stringent safety and health laws protect festival-goers  – and their experience. Unlike festivals that overestimate their capacity to sell tickets, Australian festivals take the opposite approach, allocating space for not just the attendee but their dance moves. Water stations are also plentiful, as are facilities and security personnel – the type that are actually happy to help you find an artist, a stage, and potentially even your MIA friends. These personnel weren’t limited to inside the arena, but could be found directing traffic and easing headaches for the tens of thousands of people making their way in and out of the grounds.

Photo Credit: Rukes


Because rave culture was a thing of the 90s for Australia, those security guards also might have an easier job than their American counterparts. With a lack of Molly t-shirts, binkies and Camelbacks the Australian audience seems to have a different appetite for fun, and acts and dresses accordingly. You won’t find furry boots or tutus on this tour, and the 18+ age cap welcomes a more mature audience. That’s not to say it’s not a party on the circuit, but all involved seem to have their work/play balance down pat.

Photo Credit: Rukes


Though the five-stop tour technically covers two weeks, Electronic Music Conference falls directly in the middle of the two weekends of Stereosonic. Industry folk (and aspiring industry personnel) come to both speak and participate in panels held throughout the event. This fosters a sense of Australian dance music community because it brings everyone together for the week between both festival sessions. What this creates is a lot of business between Australian-based dance companies, pushing the entire Australian market further than it had been the previous year. This organic collaboration between Australian companies comes from an environment where everyone supports each other, and this all comes to a head during EMC. Capped on either end by the festival that is a main pioneer of the Australian Dance Movement, the conference, and the companies like Sound Alliance that organize it, is testament to the power of the country in the global market.

Photo Credit: Rukes

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