Published on Beatsmedia 21/11/2013:
We needed this. Not just because it was a marathon held in a country with obesity issues, not just because proceeds went to charity, and not just because it was an electronic music event. More importantly, it was because for once, people of all ages could be happy, together.
What was it like before the Electric Run came to Sydney? On some festival pages, there was hatred towards the younger crowd from older festival attendants. Some claimed that the young were cramping their style, and some ranted about being caged in the 18+ area due to alcohol restrictions. On a global scale, reports have blamed electronic music festivals for promoting anti-social behaviour. There have even been movements by parents themselves (e.g. Mothers against Molly). In short, there was too much hate.
Yet, four days after the Sydney Electric Run, there was none of that stereotypical reporting style or negativity. This was not the first time an under-aged electronic music event was successfully held, if the Aussies can remember Good Life Festival’s 16 plus event. However, this was definitely the first time where there were hardly any complaints, or hate towards the under-aged or the 18 minus. Yep, 18 minus; there were children around the age of four!
For many of the attendants, it was the first time they had ever been to an electronic music dance party, or even the first time they heard the word ‘rave’. Thus, it was a great way to form a positive first impression. When the American MC started talking into the microphone at the waiting field, people congregated at the marquee with decks and speakers. They began dancing in no time. It was a bit odd to have the attendants so pumped up prior to the event though. Maybe they should have realised it might be important for people to conserve energy for the 5km run.
Although the children were drug-free, they weren’t literally clean…because they had face-paint on! Ha! The neon face-painting stall was quite close to the merchandise store, and the queues were surprisingly long. Some attendants came prepared with their own face paint. There were even a couple of grandparents dressed in the wildest outfits and make-up. That made them just as cute as the children!
After the pre-run warm-up, people started to move towards the equally musical lane. They got excited when they were allowed to move forward. As soon as they were stopped again, the MCs got up the glowing UV-lit towers, and pumped up the party like the pros they were. It was funny to see the crowd and teenage girls get hyped up over free shirts and glow sticks. Kudos to the MCs who managed to do this for about two hours as volunteers released runners in waves. Actually, kudos to the volunteers who decided to help out in the rain too!
Unfortunately, the MCs weren’t throwing out ponchos to shield the some of the runners from the rain, and no one seemed to be giving them out. People brought umbrellas, which would have been banned at festivals for security concerns. It was particularly unnerving to see a girl propped up on a man’s shoulders, holding her umbrella on one hand and trying to catch a free shirt with the other. A slip would have been dangerous, to her and to the people who would’ve been hurt by that umbrella. However, it would have been a tricky policy to maintain, since some parents did need the umbrella to protect the child in their pram.
Speaking of prams, while I was running, I set a funny goal for myself: To outrun the prams. This went well for a while, and I felt really awesome for outrunning the people with prams, until I failed to keep up with one of them. As a person who really didn’t exercise much, it did cross my mind that I should make more time for exercise. Honestly, the Electric Run was a brilliant event that encouraged Aussies to incorporate more physical activity into their lives!
Another aspect that served as a great motivation for runners was the decorations, which stayed relatively well lit despite the wet weather. The only areas that were probably affected by the rain were half of the tree lanterns of the ‘Electric Rainforest’, and one of the pillars in the ‘Pillar Party’. The most magnificent displays were definitely from Rainbow Road and The Powerhouse, even though they were the same types of displays used for the US version of the Electric Run. Running through those arches was definitely more satisfying than walking through them. Very interesting!
Although the other installations looked great, they lacked interactive elements and attention to detail. People could walk up to surfaces or black lights and take pictures of their friends, and there were boards where they could take their photos against a background. However, those board spaces would have been brilliant as spaces for additional game stalls for the children to be entertained, or great energy drink stalls. Game stalls would have boosted the amount of money raised for the Cancer Council too.
In terms of what they could have done to add detail…Well, here’s an example: The neffmau5 area could have included cute cheese on trees and deadmau5 mask lanterns, the speakers could have played both sounds of mice squeaks and Dubstep, there could have been a deadmau5 impersonator on stilts like how there were fairies on stilts at the waiting area, or deadmau5 impersonators giving out cheesy snacks. Instead, they only had pictures of deadmau5’s mask, and round lanterns on trees.
At the finish line, there were boxes and boxes of water bottles being given out for free, which was much needed and appreciated. There were lights everywhere, music was pumping, and there was the great smell of hot food, though this did mean that there was an increase in food pricing. The hot food at the after party cost around $9-$12, whereas the pre-run snacks sold at the waiting area were around $5.
The sound level at the after party was way too loud for both children and adults, and the audio wasn’t exactly clear or crisp. Unfortunately, they didn’t really give out or sell earplug on site. It was great that the Electric Run team got DJ Dingo and Alison Wonderland, who weren’t afraid to mix various genres in electronic music. They played genres such as electro house, trap, hip-hop, and Dubstep. However, DJ Dingo’s skills needed a bit of polishing; he took up too much time when he tried to switch to a Rihanna remix.
26,000 runners participated in this marathon-slash-rave, and donated over $11,000 to the Cancer Council. Without a doubt, this event was a brilliant and creative way to promote physical activity, charitable acts, electronic music, and unity. Hopefully there will be more exciting sights and sounds to come!