HomeaflStranger Than Fiction: 23 Absurd EDM Stories That Actually Happened in 2023

Stranger Than Fiction: 23 Absurd EDM Stories That Actually Happened in 2023

If we’ve learned anything about the EDM world by now, it’s stranger than fiction.

The electronic music community is no stranger to the outrageous, but 2023 stretched the limits of its plausibility. It was a year that redefined weird from the club to the main stage, and even seasoned ravers were left shaking their heads in disbelief.

From Rezz developing a branded sex toy to Skrillex DJing inside a school bus in Times Square, this past year saw no shortage of head-scratching and “you can’t make this stuff up” moments. Though at times challenging to believe, these surreal stories show that sometimes reality dances to the beat of its own drummer.

As we prepare our champagne countdowns to ring in 2024, let’s take a look back at some of the year’s most bizarrely true tales. Read on to discover 23 of the most absurd stories that actually happened in 2023.

A man was sentenced to prison after “terrorizing” neighbors with loud EDM for five years

A man in Barcelona was sentenced to one year in jail after deliberately “terrorizing” his neighbors with loud electronic music every day and night for a period of five years, we reported in August.

The man’s neighbors had complained to him about how disruptive the “unbearably loud” music was starting in 2012, claiming it led to physical and mental issues. After ignoring a warning issued in 2014 by the local municipality, he frequently played music exceeded 57 decibels, which is significantly louder than the 35 decibels allowed by law.

A sister of one of the victims said her “bones were vibrating” at one point, and an elderly neighbor reportedly testified that he was prescribed a “sedative-hypnotic treatment” due to severe insomnia. Another neighbor’s Alzheimer’s disease is said to have worsened due to the anxiety from the loud music.

Consequently, the man was sentenced to one year in jail. He’s also banned from working in any job related to electronic music.

Rezz developed a branded sex toy

Fans of Rezz will be vibrating to a different beat in 2024.

The electronic music superstar is releasing a HypnoVizion-branded dildo as part of her merchandise line, we reported earlier in December. The sex toy, which will come in a custom box—no pun intended—started out as a joke within the brazen engines of EDM Twitter but became a reality after legions of fans expressed genuine interest.

Naturally, the responses were outrageous. “Things I can expect: Serotonin,” one fan quipped. “my rezz dildo purchase can be a tax write off,” wrote another, an OnlyFans creator.

Beyoncé swept the Dance/Electronic categories at the Grammys

There’s no doubt you heard about Beyoncé’s dominant Grammy sweep of this year’s Dance/Electronic categories back in February. She’s never touched a sync button nor has she ever split a sea of v-necks to order a Red Bull-vodka at Club Space, but Queen Bey is now etched in the EDM history books.

Despite the grandeur of her RENAISSANCE album, it’s tough to argue how bizarre it is to see Beyoncé’s name in the annals of the Grammy Award for Best Dance/Electronic Album, where she’s joined by Daft Punk, Aphex Twin, Kraftwerk, Skrillex and other pioneering producers. Naturally, Twitter had a field day at the time.

Beyoncé.

Kevin Edwards

Will Ferrell DJed at a USC frat party

Will Ferrell graduated from USC in 1990 but has since returned in an official capacity to deliver the school’s commencement speech in 2017. His return this year rallied students once again, albeit in a much different capacity.

Ferrell hasn’t been known to grace the decks, but the Old School actor made like Frank The Tank and delivered some college hijinks that members of Sigma Alpha Mu are sure to remember. Sporting athletic shades, headphones and a backwards USC cap, Ferrell’s headlining moment was clipped and shared to TikTok, where it amassed millions views in short order.

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DJ Snake threw an impromptu rave in a McDonald’s

Picture this: you walk into your local Mickey D’s expecting a quick Big Mac fix, only to find the place transformed into a full-blown rave with DJ Snake. That’s exactly what happened back in June, when he took over a McDonald’s restaurant on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris and hosted an in-store pop-up rave to celebrate his partnership with the iconic fast food chain.

Tables were cleared to make room for an improvised dancefloor and cash registers were replaced with Snake’s turntables before he took the stage—well, counter—at 10pm. McDonald’s employees continued to hustle in the kitchen behind him, fist-pumping and raving as he threw down his menu of hits. Talk about a perk.

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A DJ duo snuck into the 2023 Creamfields festival through a waterlogged tunnel

Bread Gang have turned sneaking into music festivals into a science of sorts, but a visit to Creamfields saw the squad rolling up their sleeves unlike ever before.

After initially being stopped by security, the Australian DJ duo searched the surrounding area and identified an unlikely entry point: a waterlogged tunnel. After stripping down to their underwear, the guys navigated the narrow passage and found themselves squarely within the inner security perimeter of Creamfields, one of Europes largest electronic music festivals.

Bread Gang documented their misadventures sneaking into the iconic fest back in August and declared an undefeated record of “three for three” this summer after ill-advised gatecrashes at Boomtown and Tomorrowland.

Shaquille O’Neal threw his own electronic music festival

Basketball legend, angel investor and headlining DJ Shaquille O’Neal added another title to his résumé this year: music festival organizer.

The NBA Hall of Famer and shatterer of backboards, fans of whom affectionately call DJ Diesel, is an outspoken advocate of electronic music whose unbridled enthusiasm for the genre has captured the hearts of its most impassioned enthusiasts. They’ve embraced Shaq as a “dubstep dad” who tirelessly champions rave culture and the whimsy of its community, especially the fellow music producers with whom he provides its soundtrack.

The charismatic Diesel, who collaborated with many promising bass music artists this year and released a full-length album, announced “Shaq’s Bass All-Stars Festival” back in June. He then threw what he claimed was the biggest bass music festival in Texas, a one-day event in Fort Worth featuring Alison Wonderland, Crankdat, Kai Wachi, Sullivan King and more heavy-hitters.

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Electric Zoo turned into a zoo

New York’s famed Electric Zoo sadly lived up to its name in 2023.

It all started when the festival’s organizers canceled its first day entirely. Blaming nebulous supply chain issues that hindered their ability to construct the main stage on time, they posted the announcement just hours before gates were scheduled to open on Randall’s Island.

Citing unforeseen challenges that arose from that controversial cancellation, they then revealed they were denying entry on Sunday due to capacity concerns. Videos of ticket-holders storming the festival’s gates promptly circulated on social media, leading to an announcement by NYC Mayor Eric Adams that the city planned to take action against Electric Zoo’s proprietors. They are now facing a class action lawsuit.

Electric Zoo.

Alive Coverage

Skrillex, Fred again.. and Four Tet DJed from a school bus in Times Square

Skrillex, Fred again.. and Four Tet, fans of whom affectionally dubbed “Pangbourne House Mafia” this year, managed to completely dominate New York City’s music scene for an entire week.

The trio’s once-in-a-lifetime rave at Madison Square Garden, which sold out in a matter of seconds, was the culmination of a week that included a surprise DJ set live from a droptop school bus in the middle of Times Square. The pie-in-the-sky performance also gave rise to Four Tet’s viral “Country Riddim” moment, which took on a life of its own and exploded during their headlining Coachella set.

A DJ surprised a young bullying victim by driving him to prom in a fleet of supercars

High-schooler George was prepared to walk to his prom after experiencing an especially difficult school year due to bullies in his class. But when London-based DJ and automobile enthusiast Tomi Adenlé showed up on his doorstep with a jaw-dropping fleet of luxury supercars to give him a stylish lift to prom, his school year wrapped with quite a finale.

Among the impressive convoy taking George to his prom was a Lamborghini, Ferrari, Aston Martin and multiple Porsches and McLarens. He also got to travel in Adenlé’s personal ride, a Lamborghini Aventador SVJ estimated to cost over $500,000.

“When his friends booked a Limo without telling him we had to show up for the boy! Shout out to George for still heading to his prom even though he had a tough end of year,” Adenlé wrote on social media. “Also, his Dad told him that he would have to walk to prom but he had actually organised a supercar convoy instead! School is tough, especially when bullying is involved. But things do get better.”

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Mau P launched an OnlyFans account

Back in May, red-hot Dutch DJ and producer Mau P dropped his sweltering house track, “Your Mind Is Dirty,” on John Summit’s Experts Only imprint.

But fans were forewarned to wait until they got home from work to press play, because the track certainly falls into the NSFW category. Combining Mau P’s signature thick basslines with frisky beats and provocative vocals, “Your Mind Is Dirty” ultimately became a global house hit and riled up crowds all over the world.

The breakout producer also launched a tongue-in-cheek OnlyFans account in tandem with the frisky release. “what am i even doing,” he commented at the time.

A man shocked himself on an energized train rail on his way to Lollapalooza

A man on his way to the 2023 Lollapalooza festival was hospitalized in critical condition after making physical contact with an “energized” train rail, we reported back in August.

He reportedly jumped down onto the tracks “to take pictures” before accidentally touching the charged train rail. A woman was then shocked, police said, when she attempted to assist the man. After both were electrocuted, several of their friends descended onto the tracks and managed to remove them.

When the Oak Park Fire Department arrived on the scene, the woman was conscious but the man was in cardiac arrest, officials said. Both victims, who are in the 20s, were transported to Loyola Medical Center, where the latter was listed in critical condition.

Chris Hemsworth introduced Chris Lake and FISHER’s historic concert on Hollywood Boulevard

Thor dropped the hammer on Hollywood Boulevard in October, when Chris Lake and FISHER made history after shutting down Tinseltown. The house music superstars recruited Chris Hemsworth, who plays the god of thunder in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, to record a custom introduction for their historic “Under Construction” concert in the heart of Hollywood.

Hemsworth, one of the world’s highest-paid actors, understood the assignment. His narration offered a Mjölnir-sized dose of awesomeness as the duo took the stage, laying the groundwork for a mind-blowing night that fans won’t soon forget. He even hit FISHER with a playful jab at the chrome-domed DJ’s head, which he called “as bald as a full moon in the sky.”

“They looked at each other with stars in their eyes and said, ‘Build it,’ and they shall come,” Hemsworth said. “Well, it turns out dreams do come true because these dickheads pulled it off.”

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Eprom DJed alongside actual robots

Dispirited by the bleak tenor of today’s conversations about futurism, Eprom conceptualized a full-fledged alternate universe for Syntheism, his third album. He even went as far as studying Akkadian cuneiform, the earliest known writing system, to develop its universe.

He then built a portal to that universe by virtue of his groundbreaking “Syntheism Robotics” concert at Denver’s Mission Ballroom back in July. Fans attending the one-night-only headlining show saw Eprom perform in tandem with motion-control robots manufactured by Motorized Precision, a leading robotics company with a portfolio including Disney, Netflix and Star Wars producer Lucasfilm.

“It’s always super exciting to work with the robots, and we’re really pushing the limits of what is possible technically,” Eprom told EDM.com at the time. Read the full interview here.

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An artist turned a loaf of bread into the artwork of Aphex Twin’s debut album

What’s wrong, babe? You barely touched your Selected Ambient Works 85-92 bread.

Iain Ross, better known as “Thug Loaf,” has amassed a large following by stenciling iconic album covers into baked goods. The grain-smith’s creations have featured everyone from MF Doom to Taylor Swift to Playboi Carti. Along the way he has paid homage to famous electronic music works too, perhaps most impressively when he recreated Aphex Twin’s influential debut album in bread form.

So what exactly comprises Ross’ unique recreation? He said the recipe consisted of 300g of Canadian bread flour, 50g of dark rye, 242ml of water, 70g of levain starter and 7g of salt. The painted cover art on top was executed using a combination of black activated charcoal powder and food-grade coloring.

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Skrillex dropped two new albums

When we published an article with the headline “Welcome to 2023, the Year of Skrillex,” way back on January 2nd, we knew something special was coming. But no one could’ve foreseen what went down next.

His first album in nearly a decade, Quest for Fire, arrived completely without warning in February before its follow-up, Don’t Get Too Close, stunningly released a mere 24 hours later. Tack on a historic Madison Square Garden rave and a totemic five-hour set at Red Rocks, and 2023 was indeed the year of Skrillex.

The dubstep icon was ultimately named one of EDM.com‘s best music producers of 2023 after the most prolific year of his illustrious career.

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Dada Life’s Stefan Englbom climbed the highest mountain in the Americas

Dada Life’s Stefan Engblom traded bananas for snow boots in 2023, a year that saw him conquer the tallest mountain in the Americas. One of the world’s elusive Seven Summits, Aconcagua is situated within the vast Andes mountain range at a summit elevation of 22,838 feet.

Engblom’s route through the perilous terrain of Aconcagua was far from a walk in the park. He said he suffered from Acute Mountain Sickness, a condition caused by reduced air pressure and lower oxygen levels at high altitudes that can lead to shortness of breath, fatigue, headaches and difficulty walking.

Two others developed serious medical issues during the climb and had to be rescued by a helicopter after falling victim to high-altitude pulmonary edema, or HAPE, a severe and potentially fatal progression of AMS characterized by an accumulation of fluid in the lungs.

“Climbing Aconcagua has been an extraordinary adventure,” Engblom told EDM.com in an interview earlier in December. “The expedition didn’t start upon entering the Andes but rather began nearly a year ago with dedicated training. I sought a tangible experience with real-world implications.”

Dada Life’s Stefan Engblom Climbing Aconcagua (; 0:32)

Carl Cox DJed at the Great Pyramids of Giza

Techno icon Carl Cox is revered for taking the genre to places it’s never been, but he outdid himself on May 29th, when he DJed at one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Just like Cox’s timeless techno tracks, the Great Pyramids of Giza were built to last an eternity. The tombs were erected some 4,500 years ago with an estimated 2.3 million stone blocks, each of which weigh up to 15 tons, per National Geographic. If there were ever a structure to withstand Cox’s blood-pumping brand of electronic music, it’s the Pyramids.

With the illuminated pyramids setting a mystical and jaw-dropping backdrop in the distance, Cox performed an awe-inspiring DJ set packed with techno bangers that echoed through the Al Giza Desert.

David Guetta created a deepfake Eminem vocal—then dropped it a show

Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?

Back in February, we reported that David Guetta paid homage to Eminem by developing a deepfake vocal and dropping it live during a DJ set. He said he prompted an AI-powered app to write a verse about his signature future rave sound in the style of Eminem, then fed it through a separate platform to generate the eerie deepfake as though the Detroit hip-hop icon were reciting the bars himself.

The social experiment proved to be a thought-provoking one given the proliferation of AI in the music industry in 2023—and how seemingly easy it is to recreate an artist’s vocals with uncanny accuracy.

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Taylor Swift-themed raves toured the country

Taylor Swift’s historic “Eras” tour somehow morphed into an electronic music phenomenon in 2023. Amid the explosive success of the record-breaking tour, which is on pace to become the biggest in live music history, Swift-themed raves continue to pop up all over the nation.

The organizers of a dedicated series of Swiftie raves have been attracting thousands to their events, which blend heavy-hitting drops with Swift’s many singalong anthems.

Meanwhile, a “Taylor Swift-Inspired Dance Party” is currently on an extensive nationwide tour, which has already hit Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago and many other major cities. The party even took over New York City’s iconic Webster Hall to close out the summer.

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SVDDEN DEATH had to condemn fire-breathing at shows after ravers ignited plumes in a crowd

After a group of ravers engaged in the hazardous act of fire-breathing during a performance by SVDDEN DEATH, he spoke out to condemn their reckless actions.

The electronic music superstar, one of EDM.com‘s best music producers of 2022, headlined his own curated festival, Summoning of the Eclipse, back in October. Videos shared on social media in the wake of the event appeared to show a number of attendees using lighters to ignite and blow large plumes of fire amongst the crowd watching his set.

The risky stunt is accomplished by filling the cheek cavity with a lighter’s gas before sparking it as close to the face as possible and spitting through pursed lips, forcefully directing the gas through the flame. Most states require fire performers to obtain a certificate of registration from their Fire Marshal’s Office since amateur, unlicensed fire-breathers may have difficulty controlling the direction of the blaze’s spray, often leading to severe burns.

Emphasizing the importance of responsible festival behavior, SVDDEN DEATH ultimately took to social media to dump a sobering splash of cold water on the ill-advised antics and condemn the “dangerous” act of fire-breathing.

A $52 million adults-only mini golf course with live DJs is coming to Vegas

Back in August, we reported on Swingers Crazy Golf, an adults-only miniature golf course coming to Las Vegas.

The brand’s proprietors recently raised $52 million to fund an expansion and open the new Sin City offshoot, which is expected to debut in the spring of 2024. Featuring five courses, the 21-and-up “crazy golf” experience will tee up across 40,000 square feet of space inside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

There won’t be any shushing here as live DJs spin dance music throughout. And since liquid courage is par for the course in Vegas, caddies will deliver themed cocktails to players as well as bites from Vegas street-food vendors.

An artist’s rendering of Swingers Crazy Golf in Las Vegas.

Swingers Crazy Golf

A cache of drugs valued at $400,000 was seized at a rave in Australia

An illicit rave in southern Queensland ended with the seizure of over $400,000 worth of drugs by local authorities this summer.

Titled “Weedy Wonka’s Winter Solstice,” the four-day event had been promoted by way of social media. Its organizers reportedly attempted to evade authorities by advertising a decoy address while the real gathering took place on a rural plot of land well outside downtown Brisbane.

A large cache of drugs was seized, including an estimated $160,000 worth of ketamine and $127,000 worth of MDMA. Illicit quantities of cannabis, cocaine, LSD and more were also recovered.



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