Rave 101: A First Timer’s Guide to Raving and EDM

Raving has always been an escape from reality, a reason to let loose, or an excuse to be a little weird. As the popularity of dance music continues to rise, so does the number of new-comers to the community. We’ll admit that our scene can be a little strange to newbies, and possibly a little overwhelming. It’s not often you go out for the night and meet 50 new friends who all want to high-5 or hug you while wearing a onesie or tu-tu. However foreign the experience may feel, we’re here to tell you you’re welcome with open arms and hope to provide you with some insight to being a member of our community!

Anyone’s first rave, or EDM experience, has the potential to change their lives forever. The notion of “music changed my life” is really something that rings true for any music culture, but most recently the EDM scene. The music itself has inspired thousands of artists, writers, dancers, photographers… you name it. We don’t blame anyone for wanting to be apart of our culture, especially since it’s one that open minded and so willing to accept people for who they are.

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Keeping an Open Mind

One of the first things most people will notice about the raving community is how incredibly accepting it is. The moment you step through the door (if there is one), you step outside the bounds of your normal routine. We’d suggest leaving your worries, troubles, and concerns behind – you won’t be needing them. Recognize that you are, just like everyone else is, there for the purpose of having fun and it’s that shared connection that brings us together.

This shared connection is most commonly referred to as “family.” Raving truly brings people together and creates a space were people feel safe. Total strangers become best friends, everyone has each others backs; including yours. It’s this feeling that allows people to feel free and expressive in many forms, so expect to see a thing or two that surprise you. No matter how odd or strange, it’s important to not pass judgement. Understand that you are stepping into a new place others have worked hard to create. By not passing judgement, you’ll be accepted for who you are, and now others won’t be judging you. This inherently will create a sense of welcome for you too!

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Respect

Of all the things about the raving culture, most people may have likely heard about its PLURR (Peace, Love, Unity, Respect and Responsibility). These 5 key aspects make up what some would consider the “pillars of rave culture.” Of these five pillars, respect is probably the most important to our community. Respect means accepting the fact we all are entitled to our opinions or forms of expression and, more importantly, we are all human regardless or race, religion, or sexual orientation.

It’s vital to not only respect others, but respect yourself as well. You are welcome to your opinions and beliefs, and we encourage you to stay true to them. While we’re not condoning nor condemning the use of illegal substances, we do acknowledge they will be present, and are a part of the culture. It’s important to recognize that drugs don’t make the rave, the people do. Don’t feel like you need anything to have a good time other than yourself.

Equally as important and closely connected with respect is consent. For anyone new to the scene, it’s a bit of a shock to see someone at an event dressed in so little. Keep an open mind and respect the fact that this person’s decision to dress a certain way shouldn’t affect you or suggest any sort of consent. As a community we’re naturally friendly and open to talk to strangers, but don’t mistake it for something more than it may be. Consent is something we strongly stand behind, and believe it creates a safe space for everyone to enjoy. When it doubt; ask, it’s best to ask permission than beg for forgiveness.

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Being Yourself

Likely the most important piece of advise we could give you is just to be yourself. Raving is both an individual experience as well as a collective one. Each person brings something unique, and it’s the combination of it all that really makes for such an incredible experience. Don’t feel the need to dress or dance a certain way, raving is about expressing who you are by any means. So if you want to be the guy in head to toe fur… DO IT, same as if you’d rather be someone hanging in the back with jeans a t-shirt. Be the person YOU want to be, and not what others want or expect.

We are a family, we will accept you no matter how you choose to look. You have the ability to choose how involved you want to be. Whether it’s heading straight for the rail or slowly working your way into the crowd, there’s really no wrong way going about it. It’s key to remember that you’ll be taking away from the experience whatever you put in. Go in with zero expectations and leave with only the best of memories. Fear not, however, as you’ll not be alone, there are likely dozens of other people also there for their first time. Beyond that, most people won’t even know it’s your first time unless you tell them.

Photo: Xavier Walker

Photo: Xavier Walker

No two nights out are ever the same, and it’s a constant learning experience even for the most seasoned ravers. If you end up hooked like us, and we hope you do, you likely end up counting down the days until your next show. Not to mention, slowly building a collection of amazing outfits and costumes… or maybe not. We encourage people to try new things, but most importantly be themselves, respect others, and keep an open mind. As the late Dylan Thomas said, “do not go gentle into that good night, old age should burn and rave at close of day; rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

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