This is nothing new. The United States has always had a troubled relationship with the music to which it gave birth. The last time 4/4 dance music was considered mainstream in the U.S. was back in the '70s with disco. When garage, house and techno began to emerge in the '80s, it was quickly embraced by audiences in Europe, but in the States, the music remained beneath the radar of mainstream media outlets like FM radio and MTV. The result is that most Americans can't tell the difference between various subgenres, like, for instance, techno and trance. No one knows this better than Lynn Tejada. Her Los Angeles-based PR firm, Green Galactic, has been representing electronic artists and events since 1993. Tejada explained to me how time and again she has encountered a complete lack of knowledge about the music in her contacts with the mainstream media in the States. In one case, she told a journalist about how she loved Detroit techno and the journalist responded that he liked Paul Oakenfold, too.
It's this lack of knowledge about the music in the U.S. that has become the biggest hurdle for promoters to overcome. There is a big difference between techno and trance, not only in terms of the music itself but also in terms of each genre's audience. In the same way, there is a big difference between a music festival and a rave. But try explaining that to local government officials and the media. Someone who is trying to educate the public about these differences every chance he gets is Gary Richards, the Los Angeles promoter and DJ who started the HARD events.
Also, for good measure, a famous Minimal mix by the legendary Michael Mayer