The best crazy advice, from seasoned ravers

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Raves festivals nightlife club party afters house techno EDM tips advise how to pro tips

A rave in Dallas, early 2000s. Photo: Alex

In the 1980s, rave culture emerged from Chicago’s gay black club scenes. Today, people around the world continue to rave all night long, in legendary clubs, legendary festivals and the dark subway, shrouded in thumping bass, hissing fog and electrifying laser lights.

Often accused of being on the wrong side of the law, ravers have had to rely only on themselves to keep their culture alive through the generations. From bass drops to dance breaks, seasoned ravers teach newbies of all ages the sometimes abstract but essential “rules” of lifestyle, club etiquette and harm reduction to how to survive a festival and to manage a comedown.

“I met so many nice people and saw so many amazing dancers. The atmosphere was very welcoming and safe. Having grown up in an area where I always felt like an outcast, this community never let me down. feels the same,” Jamieson Bruce, a 44-year-old from Ontario, Canada, said of the night of his first rave.

VICE asked Bruce and other longtime ravers the most important things they learned on the dance floor and their top tips for those joining the party.

Wear earplugs

Bruce has DJed at events, performed at festivals and hosted parties all over the world, from Montreal to South Korea. Listening to loud music for long periods of time, like people do at raves, is known to cause hearing problems like tinnitus. Now, Bruce says he’s grateful he wore earplugs while delirious, allowing him to continue enjoying music after years of, well, enjoying music.

Large crowds aren’t always better

For Bruce, nothing beats dancing in a room with your closest friends while listening to your favorite music. He said he prefers parties where the DJ is dancing on the dance floor with everyone, not massive events (known in the culture as “massives”) with big stages and 50,000 people. A good party has “small venues, big sound systems, quality crowds, not quantity crowds, and zero judgment”.

“I’ve danced in front of the best DJs, on the most expensive sound systems, while witnessing the most immersive visual presentations of lights and lasers. Dancing alone in a room with my closest friends is always so much more fun,” he said.

There’s more than meets the eye

Whether in a giant open field or a small room, it’s easy for many to dismiss raves as mindless, drug-fueled binges. But not all ravers use drugs, and even those who do will tell you there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Xavier, an executive in his 40s, attended his first rave in the 90s and began to rave regularly in the early 2000s. He preferred to use a pseudonym to protect himself from the professional repercussions of talking about his rave experiences.

He hasn’t been delirious in years, but remembers some of the important things he learned.

“The most important lesson I learned was about healing. Too many people stigmatize illegal drugs and those who use them, and we don’t hear enough of the stories that come from people who have suffered severe trauma but found acceptance and solace through peace, love, unity and respect. [a set of principles associated with rave culture]– allowing them to talk, digest, process and heal from this trauma. Sometimes you really need to “just dance,” he said.

Medicines are not necessary

Alex, a 38-year-old nurse, began delirious in Texas in 1999. During her first year of delirium, she did not take any drugs. “I was just literally stoned by the music,” she said. Alex also preferred to use a pseudonym to protect his reputation at work.

Different raves are characterized by different genres of music, and it’s a love for those genres that keeps raves on the dance floor. Alex said she danced her anxieties and frustrations in genres like gospel house, jungle, and trance, among others.

“My most important lesson I’ve learned is just to dance, to just appreciate the music,” she said.

let go

Jordyn Kortman, a 28-year-old waitress, has been raving since 2016. She’s also encouraged ravers to move their bodies however they want, regardless of how they look. For her, it’s a way of accepting herself and belonging to a community that does the same.

To new ravers, she advised, “Please listen hard to the music. Please enjoy the show. And please, please, please, please don’t worry about how you can look at others.

Find your scene

Raving helped 27-year-old Hamburger Tim learn to love being himself. Tim preferred to use his first name only to protect his privacy.

“I have been delirious for eight years. It really is a special community. I never witnessed any violence [at] delirium. Parties where alcohol, for example, is the main drug are very different,” he said. “It’s pure bliss.”

Tim’s best advice is to find a rave scene you like. Most of the time, he says, people do things because the people around them like those things. This is true for music, clothes and even the way people dance.

“Try not to do that,” Tim said. “Raves are the perfect environment to experiment with who you want to be and what you really enjoy.”

Moderation is the key

As Bruce and Tim have said, many ravers don’t feel like they belong in any community until they learn about their particular rave subculture. But when they do, it can lead to overwhelmingly positive feelings that drive many to dive into the scene as deeply and quickly as possible. Some who have done this say it is always best to proceed with caution.

Arizona-based content creator Elena Lopez, 23, started raving in 2016. She went to underground desert raves every weekend for her first two years of raving, then to every music festival in his condition for three years afterwards. Now she goes to a few different festivals a year.

“The most important lesson I’ve learned is that moderation is key,” Lopez said, noting how easy it can be for some ravers to fall into cycles of benders, wasting time and waste. energy and losing money.

“A year or two will pass and you’ll realize that you’ve done nothing but party and fuck off with people who aren’t in your life anymore, doing the exact same thing. year after year.”

You don’t stop raving when you’re old, you get old when you stop raving

Cheeseburger, 40, is a California-based aerospace materials supervisor who became delusional in 1999, when he was 17. “Once I started, I never looked back,” he said. He only stopped delirious during the pandemic, when he didn’t think it was “worth the risk of dying or killing someone.” He’s been delirious for 23 years now because he loves music and because he’s made lifelong friends from all over the world through it.

“Probably the most important lesson is [that] you don’t stop raving because you’ve aged, but you age when you stop raving,” Cheeseburger said. “I learned that from traveling and meeting ravers from all over the world. I’ve raved about people who started in the 80s and people who started a few years ago. It’s the passion that keeps us going. unites regardless of our age.

For him, people should enjoy the delirium for as long as they can and ensure that more people can continue to enjoy it beyond that.

“Once you’re ready to quit, find two new people to replace you and keep growing the rave community.”

Remember the roots and keep the culture alive

California-based Michaela, 26, attended her first rave in 2011 and has been raving ever since. “What keeps me coming back to the rave is the vibe and the culture. It’s really something you have to experience to understand,” she said. Michaela preferred to call herself by her first name only to protect his privacy.

As a teenager, Michaela struggled with depression. It was in her first rave that she first felt free, as if she could be herself. “I closed my eyes on the dance floor and everything that was bad in life faded away. I was in the perfect moment. She said it changed the course of her life.

“I could go on and on about the little things I learned, like making sure to wear decibel-reducing earplugs, wearing comfortable shoes, being respectful while meandering through a crowd, participating in recreational activities while safe, etc. These are very important things to know and practice as a raver,” Michaela said.

“However, I think the most important piece of advice young ravers should take to heart is to keep the roots of the culture alive. Explore the history, respect how and where rave began – which black and queer creators have created this space that we now love and appreciate.Know that this is a place built on diversity, creativity and limitless expression…Let’s all do our part to not let meaning get lost in the midst of flashing lights.

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