Above all else, Candyland deserves an award for being South Florida's longest-running annual electronic music festival. Yeah, uh, "festival" — that's what they're called now, to avoid that pesky "rave" word. Make no mistake, though; in its late-'90s heyday, Candyland was one of the highest-budget, complete-fantasy "parties" ever. Of course, it has changed over the years, contracting and expanding along with dance music itself and moving from mostly Broward venues to Miami in recent years.
Although electronic music in general continues a blog-fueled renaissance, this year Candyland returns in its most reduced form yet, at the intimate White Room in downtown Miami. Despite a laudable effort of late to book newer, hipster-style acts, the event has had a hard time shaking its lollipop-sucking, glowstick-waving image. Last year's edition featured relatively big names such as Treasure Fingers and Kill the Noise playing to small crowds in cavernous Soho Studios.
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So the move to White Room is smart, as is longtime promoters Culture's teaming up with the Overthrow and Embrace crews. The venue and the two promotional juggernauts boast a built-in following of scene regulars who probably wouldn't otherwise attend. And the lineup this year, while lighter on out-of-towners, reflects the downtown crowd's rediscovery of the low end, with a Juan BassHead-sponsored room heavy on dubstep.