Hawaii Electronic Music Festival organizer Sprocket said he considered ending the three-day electronic dance and art party after an attendee took a drug at one of the shows in 2012 and had an “out of body experience.”
“Our beautiful festival didn’t happen last year because people didn’t respect it and acted stupid,” he said. “A lot of people work very hard to put on a high-caliber, safe and enjoyable art event and somebody comes and confuses it with a rave and takes drugs and gets messed up. That’s why I didn’t do it last year. “
Sprocket said he took a year off to reflect on the incident.
“I was done with it,” he said. “I didn’t want anyone to get in trouble. I don’t want that for the scene or for myself.”
But then, he changed his mind.
“I thought, ‘I’m not going to let this shut down such a beautiful thing. I’m going to use this incident to educate the public about what we’re doing and that I don’t want that to happen at our party,’” he said.
This year’s installment marks the 10th HEMF, and will showcase artists from the Big Island and elsewhere.
The first event kicked off Thursday at The Love Shack in Pahoa. It continues 8 p.m. today at the Amethyst Nightclub in Kailua-Kona. Prices are $10 at the door for each night.
The festival ends Saturday at the Palace Theater in Hilo. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.
Sprocket started the festival in 2004 in hopes of sharing his love of electronic music with the island. Since then, it’s grown as a way for local DJs to demonstrate their talents.
“It’s a local event with local talent and a way for us to showcase and hear local DJs and producers,” he said. “I can only bring a limited number of international talent to our little festival, which is very much a place for our local talent to shine and perform and play with some bigger names that are part of this. There have been a number of artists that have launched their careers by performing on the big stage at HEMF.”
Some Big Island artists including Sky Makai, Big Island DJ Ricardo Rodrigues Feher or “Polyrhythmic” and Kona resident and DJ Brian Lamb performing as “Unit:e”; Luckey Brown, of Volcano; Karen “DJ Shakti” Ippoliti, of Kona, who will be performing at the HEMF for the first time; Big Island-based DJ Opulence; and Craig Kohland, founder of Shaman’s Dream. International acts also will be flying in from Tokyo, Oregon and Germany for the islandwide event.
Sprocket said having the festival islandwide is intentional.
“There are a few very sweet spots on this island to play music and dance,” he said. “Why only do it at one if you can have three parties in three places in three days. The concept is pretty unique, I know. It’s a mixture of Burning Man meets Shambhala at the SXSW music festival.”
For more information, visit bigislandlove.com.
Email Megan Moseley at email@example.com.