Charlotte Motor Speedway
July 26, 2013
The healthy rave started right as the sunlight began to fade this past Friday night. Participants gathered outside of the Charlotte Motor Speedway, waiting for gates to open, as our city became the 14th to host the inaugural Electric Run. Inflatable barrels of glow sticks aligned the waiting area as we were treated to a crap rotating playlist of "Levels" vs. "Rolling In The Deep," the worst remix of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" and five more songs that sounded exactly like it.
The tremendously long line was released in sections, so I didn't actually start the run until about 50 minutes after gates opened, and there were way more people behind me.
Looking at the size of the crowd, it was exciting to see so many people participate in a dance-music-related event. Considering the terrible numbers Identity Festival drew a few summers ago (and that tour brought pioneers to the genre). But I digress.
I basically laughed at everyone who dressed to actually run. No glow sticks, no neon, no body paint, just some stretchies and a serious mean-mug on the face. All that tells me is that you don't read the, "Participants are encouraged to join in on the art by lighting up with glow sticks, LEDs and anything else their imagination can conjure up," stipulation (and you didn't read the event preview Creative Loafing).
So, from very early on, there were two groups of people: Those who came to actually run, and those that came to explore and have fun. Whether it was healthy and drug-free is out of my hands.
When you first enter the course, it's a good bit before the first "world" (unless we're counting the starting line as a world). LED bridges adorned the first experience and I was saddened to find that there are NOT DJs that are sound-tracking each phase.
Now, you got to hear Rob Banks and Frenzy both at the start and finish lines, but inside you were "treated" to a playlist. And guess what the songs were in the first two worlds? That's right, "Levels" Vs. "Rolling In The Deep" and that crap "Bohemian Rhapsody" remix again (it's just my opinion that Queen should never be remixed).
Mr. and Mrs. Run (or Electric Run as it were), please don't tell me you used the same playlist for every world just on a 10-minute delay. Because that would just be a waste or creativity on your end.
Many of the world's posed as great picture taking opportunities, like the product placed beauty in the Neffmau5 world. I was surprised at how many dark areas there were. Granted, they said there'd be darker areas along the course meant to reset the senses before the next world, but I didn't think the music had to go with it? We're literally just walking in dark silence, with ambient voices providing the "soundtrack." What is this rave holocaust I signed up for?
Now (in the darkness) is about the time that I wanted some water, but there was only one station at the halfway point (1.5 miles), and spoiler alert - it's unfiltered, tepid, hose water in bright neon cups.
Walking through the concession areas of the speedway, many runners had the notion to look at the track as thousands upon thousands made their way around the 5K course.
Which brought another thought to mind - what if the people who normally attend events at the speedway were in the seats watching the Electric Run? Just imagine the looks on their faces when the gun fires into the sky and instead of race cars, its 15,000 glowing people running around in circles. Just a thought.
My team enjoyed the two worlds that played Prodigy and '90s big beat. There were LED panels juxtaposed to each other and the following world, looked like a raver's Holland Tunnel. But after that, there wasn't anything that stood out particularly in my mind, outside of the festival style finish line. The hanging umbrellas were cool, but I felt that every world could've stood to be more elaborated. Especially when people who signed up the day of without a team had to pay $70. To me, that's very expensive for an event that was ironically not electric for a good bulk of it.
At the finish line, Rob Banks and Frenzy played the high-energy top 40 anthems you'd hear at any show as of late (not what they normally play though). I heard runners bragging to each other about how quickly they finished the run. Which is hilarious because I think you guys completely missed the point. Electric Run is un-timed for a reason.
Personally, I don't know if I would attend the event again. Maybe I expected too much, maybe I've gone to one too many raves, but I just thought this was a great idea and concept whose execution was completely watered down.
For a slideshow of the event, go here.