Not all heroes wear capes. Sometimes they wear headphones.
If you're a major fan of dance music, you might find yourself asking the same question at least twice a year: "Why can't we just have our fun?" To those on the outside looking in, festival patrons are a bunch of glowstick-waving kandi freaks on drugs waiting for the next beat to drop so they can bang their heads until their next seizure. I could go on and on about the transcendent nature of electronic music and the truly special events it inspires, but that would be pointless due to the unwavering negative stigma with the genre. It's an arbitrary outlook intended to ruffle our feathers, but we just keep doing us. And so does Salvatore Ganacci.
Ganacci went viral over the weekend after his hilarious on-stage antics at Tomorrowland, perhaps the most recognized dance music festival in the world. In the clip below, you'll see him making love to the speaker system, climbing an imaginary rope, upside-down scissor-kicking and even taking a little siesta in the middle of his set.
In a succinct yet vicious article, VICE wrote that Ganacci was "shouting into the microphone without even trying to transition between tracks." However, a quick skim of his full Tomorrowland performance is all it takes to realize that despite his antics, he was indeed DJing live. That's the problem with highlight clips nowadays – they only show the most outrageous aspects of an event while omitting its core information. The non-dance music enthusiast sees an ombré-haired clown thrusting his crotch to Vengaboys' "We Like to Party." What they don't see is a seasoned music producer and renowned international artist with releases on Def Jam, Interscope and Virgin and countless high-profile collaborations with Pusha T, Major Lazer, Enya, Bunji Garlin and many more – simply having fun on stage.
This kind of thing isn't just happening in music. Take, for instance, the middle-aged man who allegedly stole a baseball from a young fan during the Chicago Cubs game on July 22nd. After broadcasters showed the 12-second clip, the man was ruthlessly besmirched throughout the baseball community as some sort of cap-wearing villain. However, fans in the same seating area quickly responded and revealed he had already given the boy a ball earlier in the game. The social media smear campaign got so bad that the Cubs eventually intervened, gifting the child an autographed baseball despite the fact he was already holding a game ball.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 22, 2018
Just like the curious case of Salvatore Ganacci, social media got it wrong.
With his ridiculous on-stage dance moves and tomfoolery, Ganacci legitimized the general public's view of dance culture as absurd by satirizing it in a grandiose display of affection that invigorated the genre's most staunch followers and further galvanized its narrow-minded detractors. It's a display that hopefully will encourage those detractors to finally lighten up and smile at Ganacci's irreverence, even if it's through clenched teeth. Because after all, it's not an artist making a biblical impact on the music zeitgeist here. It's a music festival.
What those critics can't possibly comprehend, though, is the fact that the beauty of the culture lies in its absurdity. It's the special sauce that makes a music festival a quirkily blissful environment and a temporary escape from life's pitfalls. Would you rather watch a spiritless, quasi-debonair DJ dressed in all black and a gimmicky mask monotonously pushing buttons or an exuberant personality with a kinetic stage presence and the musical chops to back it up?