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!