Red, blue and green lasers shot through a thicket of smoke as the fog machines exhaled their cloudy layer over the dance floor. Flashes of light pulsated with a crowd of pumping fists. Feet shuffled back and forth over a sea of glow sticks that lit up the dance floor. Overhead, red and white balloon arches created a summit for the energetic ambience that increased throughout the night.
Complete with fog machines and bright lasers, the Electronic Dance Union (EDU) hosted its first outdoor, electronic music festival — SUPERLOVE. The free event conveniently took place at UC Irvine’s Student Center on Thursday, Feb. 7, reeling in a projected number of about 400 students throughout the night.
Attendees began trickling in at around a half hour before the event itself started at 6 p.m.; a constant flow of foot traffic established a lively ambience that was easily maintained by a diverse crowd of energetic shufflers.
“This is my last year, so I’m really going all out,” Michelle Young, a particularly outstanding dancer who loyally kept to the dance floor all night with her girlfriends, said. “I really love electronic music, and I feel that if you’re a real fan, you can come out to free events like this and not have to spend $60-100 on a ticket.”
Indeed, with four different DJs throughout the night, SUPERLOVE covered a wide array of styles to satisfy all attendees.
“The mix was interesting, it had a little bit for everyone,” Dolly Sznyster, a visitor from Pepperdine, said. “This is my first time in Irvine,” she admits. “And I would definitely come back again.”
The DJs definitely left a lasting impression on their audiences. Brian, who has been DJ-ing since his sophomore year of high school and is now a junior at Irvine and member of EDU, created a roar in the crowd as he thundered into the mic, “I’ve been waiting all night to drop this one song. So when I drop it, y’all better get crazy!” Immediately, as soon as he dropped that song — “The Code” by W&W — the crowd went wild.
“Connecting with your crowd is so important, knowing that your music affects them. You can see it, their expression when you play something they like,” he said afterward, while he still beamed with the residual rush of excitement.
While there was plenty of dancing for the electronic music lovers, EDU members — of which there were approximately 20 staffing and ensuring that students were having a great time — thoughtfully arranged for other activities that took place simultaneously in the surrounding area. Whether students were looking for a place to dance the night away, or to simply grub with good friends and hang out, EDU invited numerous vendors, and even Dave & Buster’s provided free goodies and raffled gift basket prizes.
“Essentially, we want to excite the nightlife here at Irvine,” Brenda Avila, secretary of EDU, said as she began explaining the objective of SUPERLOVE. “For those who can’t really go out far to places, like freshmen for example, this event provides a good time directly on campus.
“We want students to have awesome memories of being at Irvine. And if we accomplish that, it makes all the planning that began in summer worth it.”
Convenient as it was, for what could be more convenient than a free getaway a few yards from home?
While the crowd was not heavy, the energy of those who attended compensated.
“That EDU came and put this together makes our campus really special,” Andrew Kincare, a senior who admits his expectations of a much smaller crowd, noted. “I thought it would be small because of the cold weather, but the energy really showed; now I am really looking forward to events in the future.”
Despite the fact that the weather was indeed in the mid-50s, students were not hindered and the turnout was impressive.
Due to an interrupting drizzle, the night slowly came to an early end slightly before 11 p.m. However, while the booths began closing up, the crowd was still warm and lively. Students lingered in the Student Center, enjoying still each other’s company as the energy slowly gravitated toward the pub, which was also thriving nearby.
As the night came to a close, I saw a dear friend chatting away with a group of friends. He admitted he did not know them, and that he had showed up on his own. It was then and there that it hit me — the mantra. Andrew, a senior with whom I had spoken with earlier that night, had mentioned “the raver’s mantra” — he called it PLUR. “Peace, Love, Unity and Respect.” This feeling had undoubtedly taken place that night, and students had come together under one common interest. People were dancing together and hanging out.
“No judgment,” Andrew said as I headed toward the exit, “Just love for the music.”