Ground Control: How One Festival-Goer's Love of Helping Others Became a Movement
If you’ve ever been to an Insomniac event, then you’ve probably had a run-in with Ground Control , the collective that meanders through the crowds, clad in bright purple tanks and arms full of kandi. They've probably given you a festival map, a bottle of water while wandering Electric Daisy Carnival's Dandelion Forest, or even a high five as you passed them while heading to kineticFIELD. Always with a smile and the warmth of old friends, Ground Control has everyone’s safety in mind, and that is how they keep festival patrons happy, healthy, and hydrated.
Ground Control is more than your typical festival guest services team. They understand festivals inside and out because they are part of the electronic dance music community. They’re fellow ravers, friends and family who devote their time to ensure anyone who needs medical attention, or help getting to a stage, receives it swiftly. “Whether it’s helping someone find the Mayan Art car or escorting them to a medical tent, everything we do helps headliners have a better festival experience,” Ground Control member Lexi Drexler mentions in a Ground Control newsletter. Their positive energy radiates throughout the festival, leaving us with pleasurable feelings that makes us think about our next Insomniac event.
Behind this group of dedicated, enthusiastic people is Laura Newton. She founded Ground Control in 2011, only a year after her first Insomniac festival, Electric Daisy Carnival in Los Angeles. “I was dazzled by the sheer happiness and compassion that seemed to envelop every person,” Laura recalls when she first fell in love with the festival community. “It was a folk music festival [Strawberry Music Festival at Camp Mather in Yosemite National Park], which is a far cry from Insomniac’s events. It dawned on me that the sensation was not unique but an inherent trait of music festivals.”
Through her connections and a chance of luck, the Cal State Long Beach graduate was able to blend the aspects of the culture she loved with her propensity to help others with the idea to create a group that united like-minded individuals who wanted to lend helping hands or hugs to everyone they encountered at festivals. “I was fortunate enough to grow up with mentors, one of them being someone who had connections with Insomniac, and I was able to pitch to Pasquale [Rotella, CEO and founder of Insomniac Events]. I was 19 at the time and was flattered that he understood what we wanted to accomplish.” Ground Control was officially alive.