Growing up as a dancer, I was introduced to various forms of electronic dance music at a young age. Due to this influence, I grew accustomed to listening to this genre of music and found myself favoring it over any other. Throughout high school I was occasionally teased in a joking matter for choosing this form of music over what everyone else was into.
Here’s the thing: I listened to funky, upbeat music that everyone else considered weird only because they thought it was the “cool thing” to like what everyone else did. I chose to go about listening to artists such as Paul Van Dyk, Papadosio, STS9, Krewella, Flosstradamus, Griz and so many others and enjoy what I did and ignore what everyone else “liked”. I even dressed a little different choosing to wear long, flowy sweaters, palazzo pants and leggings with fun patterns. Now it seems everyone is jumping the bandwagon and attending raves, wearing crazy leggings and dressing like they did in the 70’s.
I remember one day specifically that a girl in my graduating class saw an artist name (Gareth Emery) playing on the computer screen as I did my work and she asked who it was. I went on to take my headphones out and play the music so she could hear hoping to introduce my music preference to someone in a positive way. She chuckled and said that it wasn’t music, but just a bunch of noise. Since then, I have had many say the same thing to me and all I can do is laugh at their ignorance.
The point here is to portray the message that it is important to be who you are, not what everyone else expects from you. I attended my first rave in high school and kept it to myself. Why? Because I knew it was what I enjoyed doing and it was nobody’s business but my own what I liked to do in my spare time. I embraced the fact that I was a little different and select people had things to say about my appearance and music choices, but you know what their opinions meant to me? Absolutely nothing. It’s funny how something that I was teased for just not too long ago is now such a widespread phenomenon that many partake in.
Now I know that there are many people who have already gotten to experience the rave community, but for those who haven’t, I recommend doing so at some point in your life. It is an experience like no other. One that promotes peace, love, unity, and respect or PLUR as rave goers call it. Now many may be thinking, oh yea. Shows are full of drugs, booze and party goers interested in everything but the music. But as someone who has gone to every show ever sober, that is NOT what they are about. Bass that makes your heart seem as if it is beating out of your chest, people bumping into you left and right and sticky floors covered with spilled beers all make the show scene home.
The stereotypes that raves withhold are false. Yes, some people do go for the drugs and the trippy experiences that come along with the lights and drugs, but many like myself go for the atmosphere. It is important for people to know the real rave scene.
One of my favorite aspects to a rave is the friendliness of everyone. Never in my life have I felt so welcome and accepted as I did when I attended my first show back in 2011. I walked into the venue to an array of girls dressed in funny costumes, loud bass pounding throughout my body and lights flashing so bright I worried I might go blind. To say I was scared would be an understatement. The friends I went with went off on their own and within minutes a “rave family” took me in as one of their own. We danced, sang, and told our life stories as if we had known each other our entire lives. To this day, I still keep in contact with those loving individuals that allowed me to be a part of them. Every show I have ever been to has been full of Kandi trading (bead bracelets that promote PLUR), totem poles promoting positive messages and love. Everywhere there is love and friendships growing. That is my favorite part.
It is truly hard to put into words how life changing raves and shows can be. A bunch of people hanging out and listening to the music that everyone in the venue enjoys coming together to share their passion. Making friendships that last a lifetime and learning that you are not alone in your interests. It is as if all the hate and negativity going on in the real world is gone once you walk through those venue doors.
As I look back and realize how negative people acted towards me when shows were not as popular as they were today (at least where I live) and to see how much they have blossomed into such a popular past time, I am overwhelmed with happiness that others get to experience such an amazing, life changing event. Whether you attend raves and shows or not, you should always promote love and happiness in this way no matter what. Our world needs it.
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