The best part about traveling is the people you get to meet along the way, especially at events, but nothing can compare to to what I experienced at my first rave.
Being a musician, I have heard about raves and what they are like through my friends and even seen some videos about what they are like. But, nothing compares to what it’s like being there first-hand. I have been to rock concerts and I have been to music recitals, but on a concert spectrum, this was a world beyond my own comprehension.
Where does it compare?
Similar to a rock concert there is the dance floor where people would headbang mosh and bounce. For this venue, there were few places to sit down, except for the back alley behind the venue (which was guarded, thankfully) and the tables and lounge chairs where people took a quick break.
This was also my first EDM (electronic dance music) concert, focusing on the genre of Trap. It was different from what I was used to listening to growing up, only experiencing house and dubstep, Trap was a blend between the two styles.
Everyone dresses for fun!
My favorite part about it was the way people dressed up for it. Me being an anime fanatic, I was already familiar and comfortable with weird and whacky getups, but this was a whole different level from the expos and events I have gone to. Best part alongside it is that I saw a lot of familiar faces too!
While I was there, I felt I like I entered a cyberpunk world with a kaleidoscope of people. Everyone there was dressed in the weirdest fashion with a lot of colors and influences. People were fuzzy, shiny, glowy, buff, furry, sporty, practically nude, sometimes masked but most of all sweaty on the dance floor.
It was a lot of fun being in the center of the crowd, it ranged in so many different ways of enjoying the music. There was a lot of headbanging and moshing, like a rock concert and then there was a lot of motion in the crowd from dancing to grinding and jumping to the sound of the deep bass waving through the crowd.
It was just a sea of bodies packed like sardines on the concert floor and everyone was having a blast! No one had a care in the world, it was like everyone was in an escape in some way shape and form. It was just them, the music, and the good vibes spread from the most pit.
People of a different kind
At some points I had to step outside to cool down, which was easier to do compared to a rock concert since people tend to move around a lot. Outside, I got to meet more people in a more intimate setting either 1-on-1 or a few friends at a time, albeit with a bit of yelling (my ears were ringing)!
Even then the good vibes were still all around, everyone was having a good time. It’s different chatting with strangers here, versus a class setting or an expo setting. Everyone was friendly, it had a Woodstock kind of feel where it was just free-love, which I learned is key about rave culture.
Principles of PLUR
One common theme I got out of experienced ravers and the occasional ones is that they intend to go with good vibes and those vibes are based off of the concept of PLUR. PLUR stands for Peace, Love, Unity, Respect and everyone gave off that energy!
Someone I talked to mentioned that “everyone is out here to have a good time, it’s good vibes, it’s good fun” I barely remember the guy’s name but he was right, the rave was like an escape from reality. I went the weekend after elections and there, everyone seemed to act as if the world isn’t breaking into chaos.
With the idea of PLUR it helped show me that everyone was having a good time, they wanted to have fun and be fun. People walked around with gay pride flags as capes, couples openly made out, and strangers shared hugs. In a mini utopia of noise, people just wanted to have fun.
A lot of the people who were there had beaded bracelets called “kandi” which are good conversation pieces and ways of sharing the love. Attendees would trade these with anyone, but “you don’t pick them, they kinda pick you” someone said to me while showing me the way to trade. One of my friends helped me make a few to give out and/or trade. It is a bit hard to explain how to do the trade in words, it’s more of something you have to try yourself.
Return to the world beyond, paying for more than just music
After the whole event was done, my ears were ringing but I had a smile on my face. It was something new to experience and it was a lot of fun! Everyone was walking out sweaty, in hugs, with their friends, or even just chilling out on the sides catching their breath.
It was surreal, meeting new people, getting to know them for a few minutes, dance with them, trade hugs, trade kandi, and then disappear back to our daily lives wherever that may be. For all I know I met a few students, I met a few dancers, and maybe even strengthened my already existing friendships.
I understand now that the rave world goes beyond the music. It’s an experience you pay for as well. You then become a part of that experience for others too! Everyone contributed in some way to the event I went too, be it a crazy getup, starting the mosh pit, doing cool light shows, making sure your friends don’t faint and even just giving a stranger a hug and sharing a story, it all added up to a unique experience.
It was, as the kids would say: “hella lit.” I can’t wait for the next one, I hope to meet some of you at one! We can trade kandi and stories, and make an awesome experience.
Picture Credit: Anjeliko San Mateo