Comparing Hipsters With Hippies: Are They The Same Thing?


I spent most of 2009 with my headphones on and my mind possessed; possessed by the legendary tracks of The Beatles, the deafening croon of Jim Morrison and The Doors and the passionate cry of Janis Joplin.

Since the birth of this musical fascination, I’ve become more and more enchanted by the freedom and history associated with the 1960s counterculture as a whole—not only was the music insanely good, but everything about the time period seemed to leave me awestruck and riveted. Boy bands and shitty rap just never seemed to do it for me. I’ve now logged countless hours watching 60’s documentaries, reading rock star biographies and Googling anybody and everybody associated with the 1960s counterculture.

Enter my first electronic music festival circa 2011. I felt like I had approached the promise land at the price of an insanely expensive wrist band and some Busch Light. It really got me thinking — what’s the difference between this era and the succeeding “hipster” and the counterculture and it’s “hippie”? It’s true that the EDM music scene and the subsequent EDM festivals have blown up in the last couple of years — is this something we’ll look back on in twenty years and call “The Rave Generation”? It may be a stretch, but it’s not crazy to think that the rave scene is Woodstock’s neon, technology-infused sister.

And no, “hipster” is not mutually exclusive to the idea of music festivals and EDM music (I’m not trying to make generalizations or judgments here). To some people, this term means a skinny Photoshop geek with thick ray-ban glasses and longer hair. But, EDM has generated a seemingly specific type of style and adornment, just like the hippie movement.


1. Beginnings.
The Hippie generation started off with a few die-hard rock-n-roll lovers, radical thinkers and activists, which eventually started an entire movement, bandwagon hippies and all. Is that so different from the rave generation, which started off as an underground music scene of the 90s in America and a more popular genre in Europe, which soon spawned this mainstream music festival-hopping, hippie headband-wearing following?

2. Culture and Purpose.
If you’ve ever been to a music festival or even just an EDM concert, you know what I’m talking about. No, I’ve obviously never experienced a genuine 1960s rock-n-roll concert, much to my dismay, but the dancing, dress and passion for the music at an EDM concert is what I’d imagine it would be like. There’s also a large focus on creativity and art associated with EDM and music festivals, as with rock-n-roll and the hippie movement.

3. Reputation and Exclusivity.
Let’s be honest and say that both rock-n-roll music and EDM music are not well received by most people, especially older people. It seems that both have generated a sub-culture of people who anybody else would consider weird as hell. Play a Steve Aoki or Skrillex song for your mom and dad and they’ll most likely be telling you to “turn that shit off” just like parents in the 60’s said to their kids.

So, will rave music and the “hipster” stand the test of time like rock-n-roll and the “hippies” have? Will it ever be considered a “movement”, or is it just a musical phase? Only time will tell.