We’re chronicling 100 days of Indy 500 history on #SpeedRead leading up to the historic 100th Running. With 83 days to go, Jeff Vrabel continues exploring the many tie-ins between the Indy 500 and pop culture.
For most of its history, the word “music” at the Indianapolis 500 has connoted a handful of genres and musicians, many of whom were Jim Nabors. Carb Day and Legends Day have become annual parties, and there are a handful of songs and bands who have focused on the charm and ferocity of the race, but they generally fall under the rock and country umbrellas. (Sadly, unlike “Daytona 500,” we do not have a quasi-theme song performed by a former member of the Wu-Tang Clan, although there’s still time, and yes we’re looking at you, GZA.)
All this makes the modern incarnation of the Snake Pit that much more fascinating. If you were around in the ’70s or ’80s, you may recall (or not) the original version of the Snake Pit — inside Turn 1 — as the place where things got what we official people writing official things for the official Speedway would call “unruly.” In fact, over the years things got unruly enough that organizers instituted a hiatus that lasted for much of the ‘90s and 2000s so everyone could kind of just chill out for a little bit.
But that changed preeeeeeety hard in 2012, when the Snake Pit reopened inside Turn 3 as something completely different: an electronic dance festival that starts just after the gates open and lasts for the duration of the race. It’s also, if we might be so bold, not bad at booking: This year’s headliner is Skrillex, one of the most famous faces in EDM and a guy who can claim eight Grammy Awards and more then 10 million singles. He’s the fourth-most viewed artist on YouTube, partly thanks to his reasonably popular work with Justin Bieber. Also on the bill: Martin Garrix, Zeds Dead and DJ Mustard.