According to the psychological principle of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, self-actualization, or experiencing personal growth and finding meaning in life, is one of the most important human necessities. Cal Poly graduate Ryan Fullerton created Innovative Dance Music (IDM) Productions to provide people with a place to soul-search and connect with one another in a community-based setting.
IDM is an event company in San Luis Obispo that hosts concert experiences circulating around music, art and philanthropy.
“I feel that a lot of people, yeah, they have their basic food and water, but they don’t know where they belong … they just want to be a part of a community. I feel like that’s a gigantic need that needs to be addressed, not just in [San Luis Obispo], but everywhere,” Fullerton said.
Music has always been an integral part of Fullerton’s life, and he began to DJ recreationally during his freshman year at Cal Poly. What originated as a hobby soon began to transform into a career when Fullerton invested in production equipment, such as a sound system, lighting and generators. He had initially planned to launch IDM after graduation, but he decided there was no use in holding back. IDM was officially born November 2016.
“It’s something I always knew was my calling,” Fullerton said.
IDM’s first real public event was in January 2017 at The Grange in collaboration with the nonprofit Along Comes Hope. The event featured live music and painting. Since then, IDM has hosted 12 events and has “evolved into multifaceted experiences with interactive art.”
The IDM team is composed of several different members from Cal Poly and the community. Positions include DJs/co-producers, creative leads, an art director, art leads, a build lead, a customer service lead, and merchandise designer.
“The more I’m working with the company and the more I’m making more things, the more I’m able to create with different materials and step up my game as far as design and creation,” IDM creative lead and theatre junior Cleo Mayer said. “The incorporation of all of this art now is really making it more of a community.”
To keep the music of IDM separate from the art and philanthropy aspects of the company, Fullerton created OmniMind, a DJ collective and record label. OmniMind consists of Fullerton, or DJ Lovesponge, and three other DJs: DJ ROA, DJ McDougall and DJ Nozu.
IDM has been working on holding events once a month and hosted two events in April, Tech Resonance and Focal Point. Tech Resonance was held at The Graduate April 11 and was a collaboration with Santa Barbara DJs who focus on techno music. Fullerton wanted to see how the audience would respond to a genre of music that is typically less prominent in the electronic scene.
IDM’s most recent event, Focal Point, was held April 15 at Bang the Drum Brewery.
People of all ages were encouraged to join in on the live music public murals, henna tattoos, crystal wire wrapping, painting, Reiki energy healing, fire spinners, vegan food and beer for attendees over 21.
Fullerton said incorporating art expanded their audience.
“I have my best friends here and we showed up to support [IDM]. It’s a really fun, outgoing event and we ended up making a lot of friends,” Cal Poly alumnus and Focal Point goer Holly Turner said. “None of us have ever painted before, so we just get to express ourselves, hang out, have a girls’ night and just feel free.”
“Lately, a lot of our events generally attract people that are [ages] 18 to 25 and we’re trying to expand that from kids all the way up to 60-year-olds, and I think art’s a great way to do that,” Fullerton said.
Fullerton finds creative inspiration in music festivals, which he said are providing “the most cutting edge music there is in the scene.” He hopes to eventually convert IDM Productions into a music festival company, relating his vision to transformational festivals such as Lighting in a Bottle and Burning Man that incorporate spiritual teachings.
“We’re really doing this for community development and I think it’s super important for people to have a sense of belonging,” Fullerton said. “I feel that, for myself, I was able to find that sense of community and belonging that felt authentic at music festivals.”
IDM is continuously encouraging people to attend local events and is aiming to travel more throughout California this year. More information can be found on the IDM website or Facebook page.