Kandi Etiquette: The Guide to Trading for First Timers

Kandi

For those that are new to the scene, we’ve compiled the best tips and etiquette for trading kandi.


When I was first introduced to music festival scene, I was completely oblivious to the music/rave culture. I didn’t know what PLURR was, let alone kandi. It wasn’t till my friends who were rave veterans clued me in on what it meant: Peace, Love, Unity, Respect, and Responsibility. Associated with the PLURR culture is the kandi culture; both really go hand in hand.

Kandi is the small bracelets made of pony beads or stones that people trade at different music festivals and events. Some artists have voiced their different opinions on it. Most are for the trading of kandi, however there are some against it because of the connotation and association of substance abuse that comes with it.

For myself, I see it as a creative outlet. I love creating small pieces of artwork and trading them away because love and creativity goes into each piece. You never know what a person is going through when you trade. That one piece you trade may be their next special memory associated with that piece. It’s a way to connect with others on a completely different level.

Kandi
Pictures from my first festival, Ultra 2013

Festivals can be full of special moments, and kandi can help make those moments even more special. Don’t force the moment.

There have been several moments where the trading of Kandi can happen. For example, I had one guy offer to give me a shoulder ride at TomorrowWorld. I gave him a piece of kandi as a way to say thanks. In return, he gave me a light up paracord bracelet since he had no kandi to trade. I’ve also had people give me an awesome light show, and I gave them a piece to show my gratitude.

Kandi worn on the right arm are for trade, while the left arm is off limits. 

Generally speaking, anything on the right arm is available for trade and the ones that are not tradeable are on the left. The ones on the left may be singles the person has received or have special meaning to them. I know I bring some of my favorites with me to shows to wear proudly. These singles have special meaning or they are with the theme of my costume.

Kandi and Paracord

Don’t ask for a specific piece of kandi unless they offer for you to choose.

Each person goes to great lengths to make these pieces of kandi. It takes both time and money. For me, each piece has its own personality and I want to make sure they are matched correctly. So unless the person you are trading with offers for you to choose, don’t be picky. It may come off as you being ungrateful for the moment.

When at a festival, don’t randomly walk up to someone and ask for kandi.

This is a tie-in to number one. I’m all for giving you your first piece of kandi, but make a connection with me first. Talk to me so I can make sure I give you the right first piece. Once I had this girl come up to me twice for her two friends since it was their first festival.

I understand attending your first festival is exciting but that is a pet peeve of mine. Strike up a conversation or try to talk to me instead of trying to just get a piece of kandi. No one likes to feel like they are being used. I have made some beautiful connections because of kandi.

Kandi and Perlers
My current kandi collection. This is most of the kandi I have received from the countless different festivals I have attended.

Don’t trade away pieces that you have received, especially if they were made specifically for you.

Someone took time and effort to make something specifically for you. You wouldn’t want someone to give something away that you made for them, would you? I personally keep all of my kandi that I received in a special bin at home. Each piece has its own special story.

Create kandi that you would personally want to receive.

Over the years, my kandi making skills have grown since I first started making it back in 2013. I’ve begun to shy away from the pony beads and into the actual strung beads, but you can visit Kandi Patterns to get ideas for your next creation. Your creativity lives within you. Just remember to ask yourself: would I love receiving this in a trade?

In addition, always be sure to make sure the piece you’re creating will fit your wrist or arm. It can be painful if the piece is too small and impractical if it’s too big.

Kandi

If you don’t have kandi, don’t be afraid to trade something else.

Like I mentioned above, I have received pieces that weren’t actual kandi. Last year I received a special tree of life key chain from my soul sister. She only brought one and only hands them out on special occasions. Our moment was special enough for her to gift one to me. It’s the thought that counts.

If you aren’t comfortable making elaborate creations just yet, try creating perlers. You can read about Richard Hoffmann and his massive perler collection here.

Have fun and showcase your creativity.

This was one aspect I fell in love with and have grown with each piece I make. As each year passes, we become a little bit more experienced in the rave scene. As rave veterans, it is our job to pass on what we know to the rave newbies. Pass along traditions and secrets that they will in turn pass on as well. I look forward to trading with you at an event in the future!

After serving in the military for eight years and attending Florida International University in Miami, I attended my first EDM concert in 2012. The DJ I saw was Kaskade and I fell in love with the scene immediately. Since joining the EDM community in 2012, I have been to several different music festivals which include: Ultra Miami, EDC Las Vegas, EDC Orlando, TomorrowWorld, Mysteryland, Electric Forest and many others. I have also been to several shows but prefer music festivals overall. Some of my favorite DJs include: Deadmau5, Kaskade, Rabbit in the Moon, and many others. EDM has always had a place in my heart and it actually came into my life when I really needed it, you could say it saved my life.

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