The dance music scene spans decades, encompassing everything from illegal dives, to multi-day festivals that attract tens of thousands of fans. Within this varied culture, one mantra rose to prominence above all others—PLUR. However, the ideals of peace, love, unity, and respect only really apply at a philosophical level, and are less than effective at fostering a safe and socially significant scene. Rather, a raver needs a strong set of core values and policies to which he or she can consistently adhere.
5. Be Prepared For Anything
The first, and most obvious, practice a dancer should take to heart is proper preparation. Be it a week long camping expedition or a 3 hour show in downtown Seattle, there are always essential supplies that must be brought. No one wants to be the guy in the front row that has to leave in the middle of a killer set because he forgot to bring any water. No one wants to be the kandiless girl awkwardly watching everyone else trading with nothing to contribute.
Preparation does more than just keep the experience enjoyable, though, it also keeps yourself and others safe. At Paradiso, and most other summer festivals, the weather is harsh and unforgiving. Bringing the proper gear to deal with elements and possessing enough water to keep you hydrated can mean the difference between the weekend of a lifetime and an extended visit to the medical tent.
Bring more than the bare minimum, what can go wrong tends to go wrong, and it’s always best to have a backup. Even if you experience no issues, even if your dancing experience is flawless, there’s always going to be someone in need that could benefit from a helping hand. If you’re over-prepared, that helping hand could very well be you.
4. Leave No Trace
Now, if you packed properly, it’s highly likely that you’re going to be dealing with some surplus equipment (we recommend avoiding plastic water bottles to drastically reduce the amount of waste). Some of this surplus will end up being garbage, and the temptation to abandon it in the festival grounds is always high. After all, there’s staff whose very job is to clean the grounds of debris, right?
While that may be true, as event goers, it is our duty to clean up after ourselves. Those running the festivals put countless hours into creating the very best experience possible. The artists put their personal work on display, baring themselves for entertainment. To leave trash is to disrespect the time and energy that went into making an event something worth coming back to year after year, and it’s also absolutely disgusting to see a once pristine camping area turn into a landfill of discarded debauchery.
So please, leave no trace. If everyone makes an effort to not only clean up after themselves, but to dispose of the trash of others whenever possible, the dance community will honor and respect the show at the most fundamental level. It’ll also increase the likelihood of production teams being allowed to host events in the venue again in the future, so that’s a positive for everyone as well.
3. Rave Safe, Rave Smart
Once you’ve prepped for the event, and made a commitment to pack out what you pack in, it’s time to enter the show and rage your face off. While having a fantastic experience is obviously the ultimate end goal, it’s vital to stay safe in the pursuit of happiness.
Drugs are going to be present. That’s a given in any sort of musical experience, save maybe a trip to the symphony (though we’re sure there’s got to be some absolutely insane classical music festival somewhere out there). By no means do we advocate consumption of any illicit compounds, but if you’re going to be taking anything, be safe about it. Buy a test kit and confirm that the drug actually is what it’s sold as. Educate yourself on the substance; there are resources out there, such as Erowid, which can provide detailed and accurate information on almost any narcotic.
Remember that alcohol and caffeine are drugs as well, and in a scorching environment are very much substances that deserve a healthy amount of respect. While being a drunken mess tends to result in some poor judgement and dangerous behavior, even a few drinks accelerate dehydration—as does consumption of caffeine.
There are a myriad of other dance related health risks as well, from heatstroke to dehydration. Remember to take occasional breaks, when caught up in the heat of the moment, it’s difficult to judge whether or not your body is capable of handling the abuse you’re throwing at it. DanceSafe recommends that you consume 500mL of water each hour in order to maintain a semblance of hydration. Ultimately, if you rave safe, and rave smart, you’ll experience a show you’ll never forget.
2. Be a Good Samaritan
Obviously, not every raver is going to follow these guidelines, and inevitably, someone’s going to get hurt. You may be on your way to your favorite artist’s set when you notice an unresponsive concert-goer passed out on the grass. At this point, a choice arises—ignore what you saw and go rage to the music, or stop and save a life.
In theory, everyone says they’ll help those in danger, but in real life, everything’s a little more complicated. Which is why, as a culture, dance music needs to make it part of the raver mantra to help those in need. The tragedies that darken the scene could likely have been prevented by some bystander intervention.
It’s not as though helping a stranger can put you in any legal trouble. Because of Washington State’s Good Samaritan laws, you are legally protected from any potential ramifications that could otherwise been pinned upon you. If you’re high and witness someone suffering an overdose, you don’t need to worry about the police arresting you for the intoxication—the Good Samaritan law allows you to save others without fear.
Furthermore, at USC’s events, Conscious Crew is there to help. Part of being a responsible raver is to take advantage of those resources, both for yourself and for others. Dance music is a cultural effort, and as a community, we can work towards creating a safe, accepting environment.
1. Enjoy the Experience
Now, of course, there is one final principle every raver should adhere to. It’s a bit controversial, and pretty difficult to pull off, but it’s pretty necessary.
For the love of God, have some freaking fun!
That’s it! You spend hundreds of dollars, take a weekend and endure the elements, all to revel with thousands of your peers while some of the greatest music of the generation plays. You’re young, full of life, and are smack dab in the middle of a culturally unique phenomenon. Live it up!
Make some friends. Talk to strangers and discover that special connection that only really exists in an environment comprised of people single-mindedly focused on a common goal; the goal of listening to some damn good music and dancing your ass off.
When you’re in a concert environment, something magical happens to all parties involved. The stress of the work week melts into blissful contentment and positive energies, and the trials and tribulations of school melt away as the bass drops. Total strangers become the best of friends almost overnight. These shows bring dreams into reality—so dream lucid.
Granted, there’s going to be people trying to ruin your vibe. There’s going to be shoving, pushing, and some discontent. There are going to be a bunch of bitter old ravers complaining about how the scene has died. There’s always going to be THOSE guys. You know the ones.
Find good people, and have yourself a blast. This is the number one principle that MUST be adhered to. Here at Dance Music Northwest, we’re ready to go crazy this festival season, but we’re also adamant about sticking to our moral policies. Do you have any other festival mandates you think all ravers should adhere to? Let us know on our Facebook, Twitter, and comments section!
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