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The Science Behind P.L.U.R.

October 14, 2013 5 min read


The phrase “PLUR” is commonly used in the EDM community to describe how ravers should strive to treat each other. Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect are all beneficial attributes for large groups of people raving and essentially living together at a festival to possess. There must be peace between fellow patrons at events to maximize positive experiences. There must be love between one another as a united entity experiencing something electrifying together. Whether you are a PLUR-pusher or not, these four letters, signifying important words, are constantly heard and maintained in the back of one’s minds when at shows and festivals.


One of the most incredible attributes of the EDM community is the PLUR backbone. When a dirty, filthy, completely gross beat drops and I can’t help but jump up and down flailing my arms around in all directions, I likely end up accidentally smacking into someone nearby. The hilarity and PLUR-nature of all of this is that the majority of people I have ever come in contact with will turn around and apologize to me before I even get the chance to say sorry for accidentally bumping into them. There is something to that. The respect shown between everyone at these shows and festivals is incredible. When one person receives respect it begins to cascade from them onward through everyone else in the vicinity. Pay it forward.

Just the other weekend, at TomorrowWorld, my tent-neighbor offered me his extended-battery phone case while my phone was dying, since he knew he could give it to a friend later to recharge. I had never met him before and will probably never see him again, but he treated me with such kindness. This attitude is prevalent throughout the community. When I got separated from my crew at one point I took a seat on some grass while I waited for them to contact me to meet up. In the five minutes I was sitting I had three people come up and ask me if I was alright and if I would like to join their crew for the night so I didn’t rave alone. This attribute of the EDM community is what sucked me in and got me hooked. There is nothing like it anywhere else you go in this world. In reality, most people walk by you on the streets without even looking you in the eye, let alone saying hello with a smile.

But how? How can there be thousands of people at these large scale festivals but so few confrontations? Take TomorrowWorld for example. Throughout the three days, 140,000 people took part in one of the most incredible weekends and yet I did not see one single fight or confrontation.  I only saw people helping each other, looking out for one another, and above all, bonding with each other.  There is a palpable feel-good vibe throughout festivals and shows and I think this is what the community thrives on.

Now, everyone might instantly think that these feel-good vibes come directly from drug use, but I have developed my own theories to this positive aura that I wanted to share. As a disclaimer, this is a nerdy science based theory that I believe holds true value. So, here it goes…

The first law of thermodynamics, the most important law in all of science, states that energy is conserved in a system. For all scientific problems, the system is established by the one solving the problem. The problem I am going to solve here (which isn’t actually a problem at all) is the feel-good vibe at music festivals.

Take TomorrowWorld (TW) as an example, as this was the most recent festival I have attended. TW is essentially a city in itself. There are showers, bathrooms, tents, convenience stores, bakeries, food courts, water spouts, and essentially anything else you would need to maintain life in a camping scenario. TW itself is a system. Once you enter the gates of DreamVille you leave everything that was bothering you behind in reality, for you are no longer part of that outer world, but instead, a citizen of DreamVille. I know I am not the only one that thinks this. Escaping from reality and experiencing the music, the people and the surroundings is the festival experience.

reality fuck off

Now, let’s take the TW system and analyze it. What goes on at these festivals? In short, there is loud music, bright lights and deep bass. I’m sure you rarely ever think of it, but how are the stages powered? You can’t simply just plug these things into an outlet. Massive generators are brought onsite to power all of the lights and speakers as well as the smaller things. These generators, running on diesel fuel, will output hundreds of thousands of watts throughout the festival weekend. But where does all of this energy go?

On the surface, it goes into powering the lights, lasers, speakers, subwoofers, etc. But when looked at on a deeper level, under the first law of thermodynamics where all energy is conserved in a system, it can’t just end there. We are a crucial part of the system. When standing in the crowds in front of these magnificent structures ambushing us with music and lights, we are the ones that conserve the system’s energy. The photons that carry the lasers, strobe lights, LED’s, any type of light, contain energy. The sound waves of music hitting our ear drums contain energy. The bass contains vibrational energy that each and every one of us feels throughout our bodies. All of this energy takes a long path from the diesel fuel, to the generators, to the lights and music, and then finally into all of us. That is how energy is conserved in the festival and concert system.

Karma. What goes around comes around. If you put good energy out into the world, good energy will come your way. This is exactly what happens at these festivals. We are all saturated with positive energy day in and day out from the music and surroundings that we can’t help but possess those great characteristics described by PLUR. This energy which permeates throughout everyone and everything is in large part due to the type of music being played.

I will not go as far as to say that these feelings are not experienced at any other type of music festival, but if you take the heavy metal scene for example, you will see a lot of moshing and aggravation towards one another. EDM festivals are nothing like that. The music played at festivals such as TomorrowWorld and Ultra, and every other EDM festival, is positive uplifting music. It has been said that our culture is all about the ‘now.’ New York Times writer Jon Pareles describes this positivity and uplifting attitude of electronic dance music in an article concerning Electric Zoo:

“Electronic dance music is purposefully, single-mindedly life affirming, all about being alive in the moment, awash in sensation. Hip-hop, rock, R&B and, of course, the blues are well aware of struggle, sadness, mortality, memory and anticipation, as they tell stories and fill their song forms; electronic dance music takes place in an eternal present.”

I wouldn’t be able to make this argument if this were not the case. I believe things would be totally different. Since energy is conserved in the festival system, and all the music and lights are created with the most positive intentions, we can only be absorbing positive energy throughout. And from all of this energy comes PLUR.

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