16 Things Every First-Time Raver Needs To Know

16 Things Every First-Time Raver Needs To Know

Rave safely, my friends.

So, you’ve begun to prepare for an upcoming rave. Maybe this is the first time you’ve even heard of a rave, and the only EDM you’ve been exposed to is Calvin Harris. Maybe you have a friend that convinced you to purchase a $500 ticket to a festival that won’t happen until June of next year. Maybe that same friend is dragging you to a Halloween-themed rave extravaganza and you have no idea what to expect. Or maybe you’re an experienced raver, but don’t know how to express the experience and vibes to your hesitant friends. Collected from the mouth of “Buzz” (an unnamed rave-goer who acquired his “raver name” at EDC 2014), a professional EDM expert, rave yogi with a PHD in “Being Lit,” and self-coined member of the PLUR Patrol, these tips and tricks should satisfy all those headed to the last music festivals of 2015 and beyond.

1. Go with a group of friends you trust.

You'll want to surround yourself with people who are respectful, and who will take care of you when the shit hits the fan. Not saying that it will, but raves are overcrowded, and with large crowds comes a huge chance of being lost. Utilize the buddy system and find a friend who is interested in seeing the same artists as you, so if you decide to break away from your group, you won’t have to do it alone.

2. Or, consider going solo!

You shouldn’t feel afraid to go to a rave alone! Although this is recommended for someone who has been to a rave before, many groups of attendees are quick to help solo ravers and welcome them with open arms into their group. If you’ve always wanted to go to a rave, but don’t have anyone to go with, it’s not unusual to find others who are alone at a rave and in the same mindset.

3. Dress to impress.

One of the best parts of a rave, other than the music, is the fashion! A quick search for “Rave Outfit” into Google Images will give you an idea of what to expect, although every rave or festival is different. There are many wonderful online sites that carry outfits for ravers, including more respectable sites like iHeartRaves and cheaper stores like Yandy for essentials. There are more traditional outfits of bright neon, “fluffies” for the legs, and thin fabric wraps worn on the legs, arms, and torso, but although these are popular, they are not the only thing people wear to raves. You’ll find that at a rave, you’ll want to wear something that balances between practical and unique, comfy and dazzling (although one should never sacrifice a good pair of shoes for something fashionable, especially at a rave. No one is looking at your feet). Even men take part in the rave fashion trends with bright, graphic-printed tank tops and even fluffies themselves. The culture of peace, love, unity, and respect fostered between rave-goers (PLUR for short) is what breeds an environment of tolerance for people of all walks of life, where people feel comfortable in their own skin. For this reason, you’ll see many attendees wearing next to nothing, and this is not frowned upon but instead celebrated. Whatever you decide to wear, be yourself!

4. Look over the specific guidelines of the rave you’re going to.

Online, there is usually a “Do & Don’t” page outlining the rules of the specific rave you’re going to. One rave may allow plastic water bottles, while another will not let them in. Some will allow sealed packs of gum, and others none at all. Some clothing items like LED gloves as well as kandi bracelets may not be allowed at some venues while they are completely accepted at others. Be aware of these guidelines and don’t expect a venue to be lenient, as bringing any of these contraband items, no matter how innocent, could be thrown away at the door.

5. Prepare the week before!

Go on an almost cleansing regimen: get a good night’s sleep every night, keep hydrated, take daily vitamins, and eat healthy. Give yourself a day or two off work after the festival to account for some sleeping in and recovery, as your body will be tired! A rave can turn into an entire night of sleeplessness and constant motion, and you’ll want to prepare your body for all the energy you’re about to use over the weekend! This is especially important for a festival that is longer than one night.

6. Bring your essentials!

Straight from the expert himself, you won’t catch a raver without the following items: water container/camelback (whatever is allowed for the festival), bandana (especially for outside venues), comfortable shoes/outfit, charger for phone (a portable charger works best, as outlets will be few and far between), and sunglasses!

7. Have a Kandi-making party!

If you’re going to a venue where Kandi bracelets are allowed, it’s good practice to make some beforehand so you can trade with other ravers! Buy some pony beads online or in the store along with some stretchy cord, and have at it! There is no wrong way to make kandi, and as you’ll see, many ravers enjoy making elaborate bracelets with alphabet beads, charms, glow in the dark beads, and even whole masks to bring to raves exclusively to trade with other attendees to spread the love that went into the kandi-making.

8. When you arrive at the venue, decide within your group on a nonmoving check-in spot.

If one or more of your group is lost, schedule a time for the whole group to check in midway during the event and afterwards before you all leave. This will ensure that everyone is being checked on and that you all leave the venue with everyone accounted for!

9. See an artist you’ve never heard of.

While perusing the set times, pick an artist you’ve never heard of and make it a point to go to their set. It could be the start of a love for a new artist who you’ll want to follow from one rave to the next.

10. Don’t rely on technology.

More often than not, your phone is going to die. Or you won’t have service. Or the one outlet you were able to find in the dark corner of the dirty bathroom at the venue is being hoarded by other technology-addicted festival goers, and your phone utters one last beep before it dies for what seems like eternity. If you need to bring your phone into the venue, turn it to airplane or low-battery mode, and put it into your bag and away from your hands when it’s not of immediate use – you’ll find that without your phone, you’ll be able to truly appreciate your surroundings. Plus, saving your battery for those perfect video moments during a set will help you relive your festival experience once the night has turned to day.

11. Make at least ONE new friend!

This is the time to share that Kandi you made before arriving! Make sure that if it’s your first rave, you tell them before you exchange, and they’ll show you the ropes. Meeting fellow ravers will only benefit you by giving you a chance to meet new people while also making friends who you may continue to rave with for years afterwards.

12. Dare to be sober!

Don’t let anyone pressure you to drink a lot of alcohol or take any type of drugs that you don’t want to take – especially if it’s a random stranger or someone in the crowd. That’s why it’s extremely important to pick a good group of friends to go with in the first place, who you can trust will be looking out for your best interest. Although you may meet ravers who swear that drugs and rave culture are inexplicably tied, it is simply not true. There are countless rave goers who stay completely sober for the entire festival, there simply to enjoy the music and the atmosphere!

13. Ask for help if you need it.

If you decide to forgo being sober, understand your limits and know when to ask for help when you need it. IF you begin to feel dizzy, faint, or sick for any reason, most venues have EMTs stationed throughout in order to help those who need it. Whether or not you are under the influence of substances, it is important to always disclose what you have drank or taken to an EMT. By doing this, you allow the EMT to properly care for you, which is the whole reason they are stationed there in the first place.

14. Stay hydrated, hydrated, hydrated!

Most rave venues now have water refill stations where you can fill a water bottle or camelback to stay hydrated during a set. Being in close quarters with huge crowds, especially for outside venues, is going to zap your energy, and you are not going to want to lose your perfect center spot in the crowd in order to fill up on water. Prevent this by refilling every time you pass a refill station and by drinking as much H20 as possible.

15. Don’t sit – DANCE!

A major element of the rave is, of course, the music! The best part of the accepting atmosphere of a rave is no one cares how you dance – feel free to let lose, relax, and be yourself. Everyone around you is there to listen to the music, so dance to your heart’s content!

16. Be open to new experiences.

A rave or music festival is an overkill of the senses – the crowds and the kicked up dust, the lights pulsating to the highs and lows of the music, the closeness between you and others around you ebbing and flowing, moving closer and closer with time. Embrace each environment as a new experience, and approach each venue, artist, and crowd with open eyes and arms, and you’ll be sure to have an amazing time.

At the end of your experience, whether you were a first-time raver or an experienced attendee, make sure to immortalize your experience by writing it down in a journal or scrap-booking the pictures you took during the event. And, of course, once you wake up the next morning...decide which rave is next!

Cover Image Credit: http://edmmaniac.com/

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I Write Fantasy Stories For More Than An Escape

As our world changes around us in a constantly broiling and bitter flow, fantasy does not lose its appeal.

For the past month, I have been in a time of waiting. As an impatient person, waiting is difficult sometimes, and in those times I try to remember the basis of my actions or why I do what I do, which is mainly to write. Of all my hobbies, I have nurtured my writing the most. When I didn't think I could draw or play an instrument well enough, I made up stories in my head to daydream and eventually those daydreams made their way onto paper.

I've also been editing a book which took me a few years to finish, and editing my old awkward writing is beginning to take its toll on my mind. I write this article to further remind myself why, specifically why I write mostly fantasy stories.

1. I write fantasy because it still is relevant.

As our world changes around us in a constantly broiling and bitter flow, fantasy does not lose its appeal. Separated from real-world societal context which creates defensiveness and bias, fantasy can be a reminder of what it is to be individual and to remember that each of us is the center of our own reality. Fantasy is valuable because it teaches, entertains, and reflects on our own lives, sometimes in a satirical way.

Stories like those in the A Song of Ice and Fire series read like history because it is based on history and each of its characters are players in a drama and satire on the struggle for power and the costs of war. Its fantasy elements reflect our world and speak to the creativity of the author. For the span of these pages, we can believe that dragons exist, people can change faces, unknowable gods bring people back from the dead, people of the forest create wights, rebellious hearts withstand the flames, and trees with faces listen to prayers.

There are old gods, new gods which complement our old customs and our new ones, changing ways of showing reverence to the unknown forces that may or may not be at work in our lives. Fantasy causes us to question and think deeply about what we think we know about people. Out of the contexts of our own society, people as individuals can be viewed differently and think differently. When we peel away the context of our own societies, what is left?

2. I write fantasy because other and better writers did it before me.

This seems counter-intuitive, and admittedly I used to doubt myself because there have been better writers before me. Yet, this has become my motivation; they all started with an idea and developed it into something successful. There was a time in my early teen life when I solely read the Inheritance Cycle and Harry Potter.

I read them until well past my bedtime because I enjoyed the escapism. Though I talk about fantasy's relevance, I do think that fantasy can be simply for telling a good story or for escaping the present. There's nothing wrong with enjoying books for that reason, especially when there are so many authors who are so good at writing such stories. The books I read when I was younger inspired me to make my own stories.

Today I still can read a great fantasy book for hours on end, even though I seem to fall asleep sooner now. Last year, I read six books and ten comics by Neil Gaiman and four books by Terry Pratchett. When I first started, I wanted to be like them. It took a while to want to distinguish my own writing style or to be like me.

3. I write fantasy for the joy of telling a story.

When I first began this series I'm still working on, I was fourteen and a freshman in high school. It started with me daydreaming as an intensely introverted child. It then turned into me writing in a thick black notebook every day after school. I drew pictures of the characters, made them character profiles, and imagined up a new world for those people, before writing random pieces of stories.

Then, I shared those pages with a girl I had met on the first day of high school, and that connection fostered a friendship that would last well past those four years. We talked for endless hours about stories I had just made up in my head, and her listening ear made me feel as if those stories were worth the effort.

She has read every scrap of anything I ever wrote for this fantasy series. She let me have the immediate joy of sharing a story without me putting in all the effort to introduce it to someone because she watched it as it developed. Now, I like to think that my stories gave me a best friend to help me write them.

Nearly ten years, a Bachelor's degree, and a few book drafts later, I finally have a story and a series I'm proud of. I struggled for a long time with growing pains of becoming a writer. It isn't exactly the easiest thing to do because writing a book is not nearly as easy or as fun as daydreaming, which is how my writing hobby started.

When I lost my zeal for writing the first draft, it all seemed impossible. After I got used to writing that first draft, editing was another obstacle altogether. After spending five hours in one sitting editing a single chapter of my current draft, I still groan that "writing is hard" and I'm tempted to quit, but I won't. I enjoy stories too much, and there are too many untold stories inside of me to give up now. So even in my waiting, I will be writing.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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