4theMusic - 2005

I Was A Teenage Raver: Part 1 – The Come Up (Opinion)

Hi, my name’s Jamie, and I was a teenage raver.

I have had several people ask me how I came to be where I am today. I’m freshly 27 years old, and have 12 years of raving experience and nearly 100 festivals under my belt. Considering that many discover this culture in their 20s, it was confusing to some how I did it, especially considering my university education and working full-time since 14. The answer is dedication mostly, and an early start. In this series, I’m gonna detail my rise in the rave scene and give some tips and tricks for how to navigate it.

A little background on this, and an intro. Most people discover the rave scene while in their very late teens, or early 20s. This is genuinely a pretty easy time to start. You know enough people that you can bring your friends, enjoy the music, and then skitter back to your respective homes away from watchful eyes, secret safe(ish).

But, there is a whole generation of people in this scene who, though just in their mid to late 20s now, grew up in the scene. Literally. Starting at a young age and weaving through the crowds, usually with some bogus excuse given to their parents, and experiencing a world that is honestly, a little much for a teenager.

I am one of those people. My first rave was in the summer of 2005 at the of 14. At the time, my brother, who was 17, went to them almost every weekend with his friends. Plus, my cousin had been attending these things in the late 90s, so I knew rave culture, but never thought how much I’d dig it. I walked in, seeing two DJs (who would go on to become two of my very good friends) named Wes Beanz and Xavier, DJing together as W.A.X, and my life changed forever. To come from a different background and see people so united, having fun, dancing, and loving each other until the sun came up, I knew I found my niche.

Me at Fin’l Gruv’n/Bassix, August 19th, 2005, my first rave.

Soon afterwards, I decided that this was my life. I was a scene kid before all of this—thick black eyeliner, outrageous accessories, and was already pretty well-versed with people staring at me. Now, I was just a bit more brightly coloured.

Me and my friend Karyn in 2004 at a punk show, just before I discovered raves

Due to my already resourcefulness, I wanted to get into the scene the right way. I started making friends early, weaving myself into the scene. As a teenager, I couldn’t do much, but this was also the days before USB keys and controllers. Every DJ came equipped with a heavy bag, box, or crate of vinyl, and they did not like to carry them.

So, I began carrying crates through the forest, earning my keep and my rave tickets, and making tons of friends along the way. I got to travel up and down Vancouver Island, chasing bass and good times, all while balancing high school and keeping my parents satiated. I even started making friends with some high profile artists, many of which I went on to cultivate amazing friendships with, but also got a feel for how the party scene operated behind the scenes.

It was also then that I met a couple people, promoters in the scene, that allowed me to sit in on a couple conversations that would change the course of my career forever. But, let’s save that til next time, when we’ll dive in tojust how a 17 year old kid managed to create one of the most successful rave series in BC history.

What are you thinking so far? Anything you’d like to hear from future chapters? Let us know in the comments!