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 indeed one of the highest-budget, complete-fantasy "parties" ever. (We called 'em "parties" back then, to avoid that pesky "rave" word.) Of course it's changed over the years, contracting and expanding along with dance music itself, and moving from mostly Broward venues to Miami in recent years.
And although electronic music in general continues its 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 like Treasure Fingers and Kill the Noise playing to small crowds in the cavernous Soho Studios.
So the move to White Room is smart, as is longtime promoters Culture's team-up with the Overthrow and Embrace crews. The venue itself, and the latter two promotional juggernauts, boast a built-in following of sceney regulars who probably wouldn't otherwise attend. And the line-up 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.
Candyland 14. With Dieselboy, Hydraulix, Juan BassHead and others. 9 p.m. Saturday, December 26. White Room, 1306 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Tickets cost $20 in advance from wantickets.com. Age 18 and up; 305-995-5050; whiteroommiami.com