Retired 79-Year-Old Becomes Fixtures at EDM Festivals

After a successful career in technology and business, 72-year-old white-haired Alan Grofé is now a well-known name at EDM festivals. Over half a million people saw his enthusiastic performance at the 2016 Sunset Music Festival, where he was featured in a video, dancing like no one could see him amidst a crowd of bikini-clad girls, that went viral. A video of Grofé performing at the event proved popular on TikTok, and his contagious enthusiasm has been used in many more videos.

Grofé’s son and a DJ, Gavin, exposed him to electronic music in 1995. In 1997, he and Gavin went to a party in Washington, D.C.’s Capital Ballroom, which had separate areas for house, trance, drum & bass, and hip hop. Grofé was captivated by his initial contact with ballroom dancing troupes and learned to dance to numerous music types as a kid.

The now-defunct New York nightclub Twilo was where Grofé’s daughter Paige worked in 1999, and he went to see Sasha, John Digweed, and Paul Van Dyk play. Starscape, a long-running electronic dance festival in Baltimore’s Fort Armistead Park, was another one of his favorite events. He never forgot the nine years he spent at Moonrise, the precursor of the Starscape Festival.

Although he is about to become 80 and celebrate 55 years of marriage, Grofé—an avid runner—has no intention of slowing down his wild dance antics. In his ideal world, a three-day Bali beach event would have three or four stages dispersed across the picturesque setting, each with a danceable surface that was a carbon copy of the Capital Ballroom’s hardwood floor. DJ Eric Prydz will perform at the event, using his cutting-edge music and graphics.

If you’re considering getting into rave, Grofé says you must check out the rave culture. According to him, electronic dance music (EDM) culture is all about the thrill and physical excitement of nonstop dancing and the community aspect of the event, where people of all ages enjoy upbeat EDM music. Grofé continues to uphold the original EDM culture’s ethos of “PLUR”—peace, Love, Unity, and Respect.

EDM culture’s positive energy and dance music may benefit people of all ages, and Grofé hopes that younger generations will follow his example.