The EDM Movement in the UK

EDM stands for ‘Electronic Dance Music.’ It has gained quite some attention in the recent era on an international scale. 21st-century music aficionados are unlikely to be aware of the origins of the music they revel in because almost all music nowadays is a mixture of several genres as artists experiment with their creativity and talent. However, there was a time when all the regions in the world had not lost their cultural identity and possessed their own sound which found expression in cultural and musical avenues. One of the phenomena worth mentioning is the British scene. The 1990s and early 2000s in Britain witnessed the rise of many sub-genres of electronic dance music such as bass or dubstep, which have acquired quite the limelight in this century. Given below is a short account of the rise of EDM in the UK and the subsequent creation of EDM sub-genres.

edm music festivals in the united kingdom

Jungle (oldschool jungle)

Around the 1980s, the rave music scenes had become quite popular in England as DJs began spinning techno and acid house music regularly. However, this was starting to become redundant in the early 90s when partygoers craved new and different kinds of music. Acquiescing to such demands, DJs at London rave clubs began spinning records with beats ranging from 150 BPM to 170 BPM. They started mixing genres, often fusing techno with Caribbean music genres such as reggae or dubstep, in an effort to bring forth extensive and unique sounds. This is what led to the creation of the jungle music. Some of the renowned artists which kindled this creation are Johnny Jungle, Kingsley Roast, and Rebel MC. With time, however, oldschool jungle has almost faded away and is usually referred to as drum & bass. This has attracted quite some debates.


The drum and bass genre has the same fast beats as jungle music. Its earlier versions involved a mesh of dub and reggae elements with breakbeats, which are intricate drum beats. However, its modern version is more enigmatic, possessing a more feisty tone. It has led to several sub-genres such as drumstep, techstep, neurofunk, hardstep, and breakcore. Popular producer names worth mentioning in the drum & bass genre are Goldie, Sub Focus, Dillinja, and Bad Company.


UK garage music came into existence in the mid-1990s when the domination of jungle at rave scenes had become monotonous to music lovers. In an effort to escape the giddy jungle beats, UK clubs opened up new rooms for DJs to play slower beats with a more R&B element in them. This type of music relied more on vocal snippets and included time-shifted beats. From this genre emerged more sub-genres such as speed garage which is a faster version of UKG involving syncopate beats. Another sub-genre is two-step garage, better known as new school garage.

Dubstep music

This EDM sub-genre remained undiscovered by the general public until the 2000s when it began to be featured on radio shows by famous DJs at the time such as John Peel and Mary Anne Hobbs. Its origins lie in B-side tracks which were basically a by-product of the two-step garage music. In the late 90s when two-step was a dominant music form, many artists released experimental tracks and remixes as B-sides. These had syncopated rhythms and included sub-base frequency in bass lines. Over the years, this sound developed and eventually transformed into the current known version of dubstep with unique elements such as spinbacks, bass drops, and wobble bass. Now, artists such as Skrillex and Skream are keeping the dubstep tradition alive.

Grime music

Most recent of all genres in the UK, this is a combination of other UK genres, American hip-hop, and European house music. Although it has a transcontinental sound, its origins lie in Britain where it was featured on pirate radio stations in London in the early 2000s. This sort of music is unique. However, it does include common features such as enigmatic sub-bass tones and half-time rhythms. Also, its major artists are found to be MCs rather than DJs. Currently, it remains mostly out of the limelight, but artists such as Dizzee Rascal and Kano have helped it gain some exposure.