Straight out of a near-future movie they come -- bearing glowsticks and
blow pops. They mass by the hundreds and sometimes thousands in
tripped-out warehouses, abandoned shopping malls and roller rinks. Their
clothes glow beneath black lights and pulsing, electronic music drives
the throng to dance as one.
They don't pay the $20 entrance fee to see anything. They go to
experience the vibe -- the feeling of goodwill and acceptance the
all-night gatherings generate. It's a state of peace and unity kids say
they can't find in the real world. It sometimes is also a state of
drug-induced euphoria that real world authorities often condemn as
dangerous. It's a rave.
Just what this new youth culture so fascinating and addicting? Loud
music, drugs, and the freedom of expression is the key to these
generation X youths way of ventilating. You can almost see a bit of the
60's hippie LOVE fest in the open social gatherings which lasts all
The History of RAVE Music:
As is the case with popular music over the past forty years or more, it
tends to move between continents - import/export. Rock & Roll, Punk,
what have you. House music originating in Detroit and Chicago was
directly influenced by European outfits such as Kraftwerk and Depeche
Also in the early days in Chicago DJ's like Frankie Knuckles would
program drum rhythms and play disco records over the top of his beats in
the club environment.
American House music was being played in the Gay Clubs in England for a
good two years + before any sign of acceptance in the straight scene
(circa 1985 - 1987) and even a few chart hits like 'Jack your Body' and
'Love Can't Turn Around'.
During the Eighties in London a warehouse party scene developed that
featured soul music ie. Hip-Hop, Disco, Uptempo R&B, Rare Groove,
Jazz Funk etc. This directly gave rise to Pirate Radio, notably Kiss FM -
a weekend station that was listened to by over a million people. There
has always been a strong underground soul scene in England ever since
James Brown & Co . invented the Funk.
Sometime in 1987 a few unconnected groups of people started throwing
all-night House parties. 'Schoom' and 'Phycic T.V '. Schoom was a group
of South - London soccer 'fans' from the soul-side whereas Phycic T.V
came from the Industrial edge. These small parties grew in size and
started to attract the 'Trendies' (i.e fickle club kids). Inject a new
designer drug (Ecstacy) and stir with a nice helping of media and .......
According to an Asian rave fanatic, "The world that we live in is
far from perfect. In actuality, it's a mess! There are wars being fought
over money, power, religion and other selfish disagreements. There is
hatred caused by bigotry and racism. There is hunger and famine. There is
crime caused by greed. There is chaos caused by confusion. There is an
overall lack of communication among us fellow humans. We are slowly
destroying ourselves. Somewhere along our historical chain of events,
humankind took the wrong turn and kept on going. However, the youth of
America today can either keep following the same old road or start
leading a new path for themselves. Though not one person alone can change
this world, we as a people can send a positive message from our
international movement; and our movement is called RAVE."
RAVES are a spawning ground for inspiring today's youth towards building
a new awareness in their individuality. An awareness that promotes inner
peace, open-mindedness and free expression of one's thoughts and feelings
about themselves and of others. It is a bonding ritual that promotes
peace with all, love with one another, and unity for all humankind. RAVES
are a celebration of life; an escapism against the reality of the world's
imperfections. It is an anticipated social event where one can release
their anxieties, fears and worries while at the same time gain insight
that there is hope.
RAVES are a therapeutic unified gathering that can continuously help an
individual learn more about their strengths and weaknesses and can also
help channel their energy towards a positive direction in their life. For
those RAVERS who truly understand the concept of RAVING (DJ's spinning
powerful Techno/House music as the masses perform an all night tribal
dancefest), the event itself becomes a spiritual and educational
A great book to read on the RAVE Culture is "Altered State" by
Basically the best historical/sociological book about the rave scene
written so far. If you're curious how the scene came to be, its roots,
etc. then this is the book for you.
Here is an excerpt from the book. "At its heart is a concerted
attempt to suspend normal transmission, if only for one night. A mission
to reappropriate consciousness, to invent, however briefly, a kind of
utopia - what anarchist philosopher Hakim Bey describes as a
"temporary autonomous zone" Such zones, says Bey, are
"successful raids on consensus reality, breakthroughs into more
intense and more abundant life", fleeting moments where fantasies
are made real and freedom of expression rules before external reality
intervenes. "Let us admit," Bey demands, "that we have
attended parties where for one brief night a republic of gratified
desires was attained. Shall we not confess that the politics of that
night have more reality and force for us than those of, say, the US
The idea that ecstasy culture has no politics because it has no manifesto
or slogans, it isn't saying something or actively opposing the social
order, misunderstands its nature. The very lack of dogma is a comment on
contemporary society itself, yet at the same time its constantly changing
manifestations - ravers fighting police to gain access to a warehouse
party, criminals shooting each other in feuds over the dance-drug trade,
teenage girls baring flesh in baby-doll dresses, black-market
entrepreneurs selling records from the back of vans - serve to dramatize
the times we live in. Ecstasy culture offers a forum to which people can
bring narratives about class, race, sex, economics or morality.
Again, its definition is subject to individual interpretation - it could
be about environmental awareness, it could be about the simple bliss of
dancing, it could be about race relations and class conflict, it could be
about the social repercussions of the drug economy, it could be about
changing gender relations, it could be about reasserting lost notions of
community - all stories that say something about life in the
You Know You're a REAL Raver When....
have sleeping patterns that would kill normal human beings.
start coveting all of your dad's old 1977 polyester sweatsuits.
every letter of the alphabet has an alternate meaning to you.
begin to think of blow-pops as a separate food group.
mere mention of a 3 digit number with a "0" in the middle of it
causes you to drool uncontrollably.
odometer of your car increases in big chunks over the weekend.
get an evil grin every time you see commercials for "E: the
have to fight back the urge to beat the hell out everyone who thinks
raves are like the club scene in Basic Instinct.
can keep a straight face when you tell people "really, not that many
people are on anything....i'm serious!"
are happy when there's a recession because it means more empty
water, air, Vick's...all are about of equal importance.
can live for an entire weekend out of your bookbag.
are no longer just a raver...but a promoter, vendor, DJ, etc...
know about the INFORMATION POLICE.
white and have dreads.
have trouble naming 5 friends who are not pierced SOMEWHERE.
pay $20 for a ticket to an event that may very well not happen... and
you'll pay $30 for a pill that may very well be aspirin...but you WILL
NOT pay $1.00 for that big glass of water!
can't pass an empty warehouse, church, school, big open field, barn,
airplane hanger, phone booth, nuclear power plant, etc...without getting
that far-off look in your eye and saying...'wow, what a great site for
you see Capn Crunch 4 times in one week!
not only notice that household appliances like washing machines can
generate a funky beat, you also argue about whether it's tribal or
even then you're not a TRUE RAVER...because no one but myself can
possibly THINK about calling themselves a TRUE RAVER!
* "Altered State" by Matthew Collin