Mad Decent Block Party Establishes Strict New Safety Measures (Banning Kandi)

August 11, 2014 by David Klemow 56 Comments

By now, you probably have been exposed to tragic stories of music festival attendees overdosing matched with the soaring number of drug related arrests at large events. You’ve probably begun to understand that our culture is collectively fighting off a full-fledged onslaught driven by the mainstream media, that paints dance music’s most celebrated events as glitter-saturated, drug-fueled clown parties. Thankfully, industry heavyweights, including producers, DJs, and tastemaking event organizers have all either taken to voice or action to put a stop to not only the gross hyperbole employed by the press, but also fix some problems from the inside too. One of the key people taking steps to perpetuate these changes is Mad Decent‘s head honcho, Diplo.

After reports of two untimely deaths and more than 20 arrests following the Washington, DC edition of the traveling Block Party, the festival’s organizers are beginning to crack down and levy modified security and safety measures. For everyone’s own good. One of the most notable changes to the festival’s rules is the now strict ban of kandi. The remaining Mad Decent Block Parties will now turn away kandi-clad attendees, shifting the attention from the outdated, sophomoric rave-culture “trend of expression” to where it should be; the music, the reason we are all there anyway.

The festival has also included spiked jewelry, fur, open packs of cigarettes, and the obvious illegal substances to its list of non-approved items, in hopes that Mad Decent Block Party can distance itself from the regrettable association of rave culture and drug use. With the reduction of bead bearing bros and fur draped masses at the Block Party’s remaining dates, hopefully dance music as a whole takes a page out of Mad Decent’s books and begin to turn positive attention back to where it should be. The music.


Mad Decent Block Party Establishes Strict New Safety Measures (Banning Kandi)

Filed Under: News Tagged With: Diplo, EDM News, Kandi, Mad Decent, Mad Decent Block Party


  1. There were drug sniffing dogs, and they made us take off our shoes before entering Boston’s MDBP yesterday.

  2. Really? A music scene can’t be about expressing yourself? We have to ban people from wearing plastic bracelets? I can’t believe that actually seems like an appropriate response.

  3. what about music being partr of self expression ? Without that it’s just another form of corporate revenue.

  4. Theres a difference between expressing yourself with music and wearing a bunch of beads and having the old lame ass 90s retro rave gear . Mdbp isn’t a “burning man” type of dance cutler, it’s a “Block Party” Their basically just saying hey just come out this this event, be yourself and have a good time.

  5. Scoot Kammerer says

    August 12, 2014 at 3:31 am

    I personally dont wear that stuff, I really just go to feel the music. It would be weird seeing no kandi in the place though. Thats ashame theres always a couple ppl that gotta fuck it up for everyone. Fuck it…its kandi.

  6. Matt Lukas says

    August 12, 2014 at 3:59 am

    …typical reactive PR move. These changes affect me in no way (personally, I’ve always thought kandi looked ridiculous) but it seems increasing awareness and education (think Dance Safe) would probably yield better results than regulating fashion choices. This sounds like a solution you’d hear at a PTA meeting.

  7. Peety Peterson says

    August 12, 2014 at 4:01 am

    This article has done nothing but anger me. Not the fact that they decided to ban kandi, but the fact of calling us bead bearing bros. The media today has brought the electronic community to nothing but a popularity scene. It used to be underground parties or “raves” where anybody and everybody could dress up how they feel and express themselves. We used to be able to just go, fit in and and have a good time. Not saying that you can’t do that now but when someone says EDM, all i can think of is big bulky “bros” with chubbies and no shirt, hopped on molly trying to find which skanky, less dressed hoe to grind on. I just want to go back to the 90’s where everyone could dress how they want, and fit in and still be considered normal. The time when if you listened to “techno” no one wanted anything to do with you. so that way we can weed out these “bros” and “raver chicks” that are in it for any other reason than just the music. its just different and worse. but its roller coaster and its starting to go downhill and hopefully back to normal, then the cycle will restart.

  8. The point is, unfortunately, the image of kandi has now been permanently infused with ex/molly and a ‘drug culture’ – of course there there are always going to be drugs, but this negative image is a huge stunt in the evolution of EDM as a whole. Of course expressionism is still strongly encouraged, it just needs to evolve and move away from that negative image – this is definitely the right step the EDM community needs to make so we can first of all stop all the generic carbon copy bullshit that will surely turn this culture stale. And second to brighten the image and perception of it for the people outside the culture.

  9. @ Kyle, how can you ban bracelets and say that you sort expressionism? You can’t enforce a dress code and say that people should express themselves.. they might as well start banning shades and neon clothing too because, after all, we need to “evolve” from what the media has labeled as a negative image. Why should we care what the media thinks??? It shouldn’t matter because WE know that kandi is not directly correlated with drugs. They want to get rid of the culture behind edm so that we idolize the artists rather than socializing and making new friends. It’s big names like diplo that have moved so far into the limelight that they have lost touch with their fan base and will do anything to improve THEIR image and make more money without any regard to what the fans want. If the real objective was to decrease the amount of dangerous drugs coming in, then they would just beef up security!

  10. As someone who know the person in the MEME at the bottom I’m very annoyed. It is never okay to make fun of someone for expressing themselves through a creative outlet. THEY ARE PLASTIC FUCKING BEADS… NOT DRUGS! I have pieces of kandi from when i first entered the scene and they mean to much to me because of the people that gave them to me and the memories they created. This is total bullshit.

  11. Alessandro Rossi says

    August 12, 2014 at 8:00 am

    Diplo love to take selfie with Heavy alcohol bottles and tons of Pot… there is no difference with other drugs…

  12. Kyle Riccio Many events in history having to do with limiting substance abuse and addressing unwanted social movements in youth culture have shown us that outright prohibition is never an appropriate response. This especially true when it comes to drug use. This is just another step in the wrong direction towards preventing unwanted deaths due to drug use at events like this. Instead of saying “No absolutely not!” and banning things like kandi, increased efforts should be put into educating this large influx of people into a relatively new scene about how to know your limits, know where your drugs are coming from, and know how to party safely and responsibly. This is only going to make people resentful and lead to more harmful behavior, like people taking a lot of drugs just before entering the show instead of inside.

  13. Alessandro Rossi says

    August 12, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Josh Lane i mean that alcohol abuse lead to the main problematics of Music Party i.e. aggressivity , fights, dehydration and so on… so pointing attention to a “Raver” (that usually use Psychotropic substance) its just a mediatic strategy in order to keep Diplo s team out of trouble. EDM music its at least at 50% about extreme mental and physical self-destruction (HUGE HARDCORE DROPS and EXPLICIT LYRICS). Also EDM now put mainly HARDCORE and HARDSTYLE drops in the tracks connecting this style of music to the oldschool ravers and doing this also they connect the music to some DRUG abuse.

  14. Andrew Streib says

    August 12, 2014 at 9:15 am


    Mad Decent & what it represents is more sophisticated & underground than that corny ravey shit

  15. TBH I love EDM but as someone who grew up going to raves in the 90’s and 2000’s the constant ocean of drugs and drugged out people around you gets old after a while.

  16. Jeremy Hull First of all, you are on a Diplo article right now talking about Mad Decent Block Party, which mainly features the big boys – obviously if you go see Laser Disk Sex Party and Lady Faith at an underground warehouse rave in NY like I have, the kandi culture will be flourishing. Diplo has taken the noble position of representing EDM in the public which is not easy, and therefore just want’s to try to sway the public because he is in that position – EDM is larger than just a sub-culture now, so obviously people who are hardcore into the kandi culture are still going to exists outside this mainstream branch of EDM. You are picking an argument in the wrong place.

    Second of all, you say “They want to get rid of the culture behind EDM so that we idolize the artists rather than socializing and making new friends,” are you kidding me??? Are you that selfish that you can’t respect the people who gave you this culture in the first place? The Artists that GRIND every single day just to have the satisfaction of seeing everyone enjoy what they make… and you just want to run around and make new friends completely disregarding the music? You can still talk to people and have fun, everything isn’t ruined because you can’t wear pieces of plastic around your wrist.

    Thirdly, Diplo want’s to make money because he has been pouring his heart an soul into this music and this scene for years and he deserves to be paid, that’s why he cares about the image of kandi. He donates to charity, started a label, and throws parties that people like you are so humbly invited to, to have fun – all just because he loves this community. So for you to complain about one simple thing that he is asking for involving the dress code is beyond selfish.

  17. Jose Rockwell You really think that no one has pushed these kids into understanding their limits? Do you really think that you can convince a rebellious 18-year-old to only take a little bit of molly? If you can single-handedly stop this from happening please be my guest and do so. People will take drugs inside and out anyway no matter what they do – all this is, is making it harder to do so by not allowing open cigarette containers, meaning the chance of overdosing will go down, and removing the negative image kandi is imprinting on EDM culture – like the swastika on Germany. They just don’t want this sub-sub culture of kandi to bring down EDM as a whole in the PR world.

  18. Martina Kennedy says

    August 12, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    I do get confused by the whole kandi scene at times, but it could be anybody bringing in drugs. Picking one type of “raver” is almost discriminating this Kandi scene. It would be nice not having any kandi kids but I feel like anyone is able to expresse themselves at festivals however they want without the judgment of selling drugs or not. I agree it is about the music and not drugs but if people are going to do them they’ll find a way with or without kandi kids. They should look into harm reduction instead by setting up a booth with drug info and facts and how to party safely if you choose to.

  19. Kyle Riccio Okay first of all, quit putting words in my mouth. Where in my response did I say that I didn’t think that the artists deserve any respect, money, etc.? I’d be ignorant to say that they didn’t deserve to be paid or rewarded for what they do. Obviously the artists have worked to get to where they are and I respect that.

    And second, you’re missing my point. I’m trying to say that artists shouldn’t have any say over what I can and cannot wear to their shows simply because they are who they are. Who the hell is Diplo to tell me what I can and cannot wear??? How am I the selfish one where this is ONE person telling THOUSANDS that they can’t wear what they want??? And also you said he’s “asking” us to do this, but in case you didn’t read, he said that wearing kandi will bar you from entry. That doesn’t sound like asking to me… He claims it’s in the name of “safety”, but come on please tell me you don’t really believe that garbage. Anyone with common sense knows that it won’t change a damn thing…

    People will always find ways to criticize EDM culture. If they don’t point to the kandi, they’ll find another way to associate EDM with drug use. They always have, and always will as long as there’s drug use at shows. This stigma has followed the culture even before the term ‘EDM’ existed. Do you really think that banning plastic bracelets will do anything at all??? The only way to 100% fix the problem is to completely eradicate drug use which, like you said, is near impossible to do. Kandi isn’t what’s bringing down EDM, it’s the new wave of people coming into the shows, bringing with them a new wave of dealers selling molly with bad filler. Combine that with thousands of inexperienced drug users and you get what happened @ EDC this year. The kandi isn’t what’s sending people to the hospital.

  20. EDM in general is associated with drug and rave culture. They’re completely, absolutely kidding themselves if they think for a second that less Kandi is going to completely change people’s minds about the “scene”.

    If I JUST cared about the music, I would lock myself in my room and blankly stare at my wall while I listen to it through my headphones for a few hours. The biggest reason I go to shit like this is for the widespread acceptance, including the dress code. Without the freedom of creativity and expression, and the bond of such individuals, what is the point of the music?

  21. Well if one of those breaks somebody could slip on the beads and fall over. Not to mention some hooligan could use them like rubber bands and start shooting them at people, I think they should be made illegal across the country. Think of the children!!!

  22. As someone who is fairly connected in the local edm scene I would like to point out the OBVIOUS that the whole edm scene has more lately than not been spiraling into what has been stated in the article a “drug scene” think about it from diplos point of view : Hes on tour and and these people are gathers to see him among others and some kids die under his watch at a show he put together, Id be sick of it too.
    Maybe the kandi ban is a little ridiculous yes… but if youre that butthurt about not being able to wear fucking colored beads to a show you should should probably stay home anyways , no one wants all these dumbass kandi kids who takeit to the next level of ignorance and stupidity especially with drugs. And as a musician myself,you see these DJs on stage and are they dressed with kadi all up their arm with the fur hats and the nameless other things you see? No.
    Because they are their for the music , unlike sheep who follow.
    You may be at the mental capacity from the amount of molly you’ve done anyways, but please just take the fucking binkie out your mouth.

  23. Kyle Riccio Yes, I do really think that. If these drugs were allowed and regulated instead of prohibited (and now so are apparel items possibly associated with particular drugs) then the “rebellious” 18 year olds would have less incentive to do them. Also, if there was greater education and regulation surrounding the culture (again in place of outright prohibition) those who did want to do drugs, even too much of them, would have a better understanding of what it was they were doing as well as likely be doing cleaner, “healthier” drugs.

    This level of legalization is of course decades away, at least for a country like ours, but my only frustration is that this action taken by mad decent is just another step in the wrong direction in my opinion.

  24. Josh Lane Yeah, there is a huge difference. The difference being that alcohol is unanimously considered around the world to be the most destructive substance to human lives. With these festivals we have had about 10 (high estimate) deaths in the U.S. due to suspected MDMA overdose. Compare that to the 88,000 deaths a year caused by excessive alcohol use.
    By being registered as a schedule one narcotic a substance is considered to be “highly addictive with a high risk of abuse and having no medical benefits.” That sounds an awful lot like alcohol to me, but it’s legal and heavily supported by these festivals. MDMA on the other hand has tremendous potential for use as a psychotherapeutic aid in treating PTSD and has no physically addictive properties. Those are just the facts, though. Cultural stigmas, agism, racism, and homophobia all play a much bigger role in how this country decides what’s appropriate and what isn’t.

  25. Kyle Riccio this was done because people died, and they had to look like they were doing something to rectify the problem… banning kandi is a piss poor excuse at rectifying that problem…. diplo doesn’t give a fuck.

  26. Never done molly or any drug at a rave but I love kandi. Agreed that people need to stay safe, but kandi has absolutely nothing to do with that. Kandi has a lot of culture behind it and Diplo banning it is just a publicity stunt. But what sucks is he’s alienating a huge part of his fan base, me included. Will I still go to MDBP? Sure, cuz I do love the music. But yeah I’m not happy about the ban.

  27. Are you serious? Half of mad decent culture is twerking. How is that more sophisticated? And how is it more underground? Diplo collaborates with the biggest names in music

  28. just go to a real party… they still exist everywhere… Im not sure about which ones on the east coast… I would look here ( to find underground parties like you’re looking for, get locked in with the burner community in your area.

  29. Chaotic Chris says

    August 13, 2014 at 4:13 am

    This article enrages me…..The music. The music. “rave cultures sophomoric trend of expression”….WTF is this guy on??? Is he really that fucking DULL?!? MUSIC IS ABOUT EXPRESSION ASSWIPE!!!

  30. Cameron Krivitsky says

    August 13, 2014 at 4:59 am

    so what they are saying is open a black market for kandi, I kan dig it

  31. Kelvin Mayer says

    August 13, 2014 at 8:50 am

    expressing yourself? Jumping on a banwagon is the very opposite lol

  32. Leif Sorensen says

    August 13, 2014 at 11:39 am

    I understand bans on kandi kids. What is next? You want expression of the music. Then quit putting bans on hlowstickers and poi spinners. The is how we express ourselves through the music. What is next? You are not allowed to dance to the music. Why don’t you understand that you will never change the culture or the scene. All you are doing is making it harder for the fans to appreciate the djs. This you are killing the scene that apparently you claim to love so dear. So with that I finish by saying respectfully


  33. Leif Sorensen says

    August 13, 2014 at 11:42 am

    Oh ya and they really like drugs and expressing themselves at burning man any differently you fucking DUMB ASS!!!!. Maybe instead of knocking it you should actually try it for yourself. DUMB ASS!!!

  34. Mad decent block party shouldn’t even be be considered a rave… It’s banneing people who express themselves and those who believe in peace,love,unity and respect. Kandi is something that’s been around long before edm music was popular. All kandi is plastic beads that people trade with others to show plur. Take away plur in shows and u have a shit show. This just makes me sad. I’m not a kandi kid but receiving my first pieace of kandi was a moment I’ll never forget. Thanks for taking away the plur outta edm shows.

  35. Nate Nate-Nate says

    August 13, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Maybe they should include unlimited water at these events. Never would yyou guess you wwould have to buy a 5$ water for a four event with a temp of over 110 inside. No to mention you can’t refill the water bottles in the bathroom for fear of Jesus turning that water into rred bull vodkas. II’ve been to countless shows and not having water for free or included with the ticket is a joke. If your trapped up front and are ccompletely dehydrated your fucked then on top of that you gotta keep paying for water. Which leaves your. Body almost as soon as you drink it. Shows should always have FREE WATER. Just say

  36. Kelvin Mayer So everything you’ve ever done in your life has been an absolutely original form of expression?

  37. Kelvin Mayer So everything you’ve ever done in your life has been an absolutely original form of expression?

  38. Because twerking to a song that says express yourself is a much more respectable way of expressing oneself…what a load of crap.

  39. you know…i can’t say i’m not absolutely 100% stoked about this. cheers to diplo. maybe i’ll start going to edm shows again if this is a trend that picks up across the board. got sick of the inclusive ass, drug fueled social fashion contests. it’s about the fuckin music. if you’re offended…maybe you’re a part of the target demographic. if you’re there to do anything other than support and watch the artist, you have no reason to be there in the first place.

  40. David Strebel says

    August 18, 2014 at 5:20 am

    Be yourself…………but don’t wear this, this, and this, actually..just be yourself in your head.

    ^ yeah how about nope

  41. Why are yall bitching like stfu they are just bracelets, it doesnt stop anyone from doing drugs people will still find a way to get fucked up rolling and shit and enjoy the show;)

  42. You forgot to mention electronic cigarettes. Why the fuck are those banned. Fuck you Diplo. I’m allowed to suffocate on tobacco, but not use the helpful instrument that got me off of cigarettes. I think he was lobbied by big tobacco and they paid for a portion of the tour. It was an absolute disgrace at Red Rocks being turned away for my e-cig. I won’t soon forget that Diplo.

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