I’m not sure when most people started attending raves, started listening to EDM, or even where all of you began partying, but since I’m beginning to get a feel for all of you, I would like to share my personal story about my experience with “raving” so you can understand my background and where I came from. Get your box of tissues because this is an emotional one and all of you are about to learn a whole lot about me that you didn’t even ask for. Here it goes:
In high school, although I looked seemingly normal and like I fit in, every day was a struggle for me. I was so confused about myself that I didn’t know where I fit in. Although I had a group of friends when I started high school, everyone moved on real fast and I was stuck on my own often feeling like a loner. All of my friends from high school disappeared and I ate my way into obesity. Nobody wanted to be my friend and I was stuck in a high school of over 2000 students and was constantly ashamed of myself. I kept gaining weight and felt more and more alienated as I continued my education. I couldn’t believe my friends had “disowned” me and I was left to fend for myself in a new body that I hated. I hung around the weird nerdy kids at school, the theater geeks, because they accepted me and thats when I got turned on to raves.
I attended my first warehouse rave in 2006 at the age of 16 and couldn’t believe that everybody loved me for me. It became so addicting that I couldn’t stop. All of the people in the warehouse looked like a bunch of outcasts and finally I felt like I could go somewhere where I wouldn’t be judged by my appearance or where I had come from. It was about partying, it was about the music, and it was about the secret society that you could only dream about venturing into. We had “rave names” and everything was top secret. Locations of events were word of mouth and instead of a popularity contest, it truly was about PLUR. Through the help of all the kind strangers I encountered at raves, I was finally able to find the love for myself that all these people had for me. I finally understood my identity and realized I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. As much as I hate what the “rave scene” has become, I can never forget what it was and how much it changed my life. “PLUR” doesn’t exist anymore and there is no secret society or family to welcome you when you attend events. Instead its promoters wanting to take your money and image-obsessed partiers wanting to brag about their ventures while simultaneously flaunting their bodies and the outfits they spent hours making. I no longer feel the comfort that I felt when I first started raving which is overall very heartbreaking and is why I only attend a few times a year. The scene fell into the hands of the wrong people that looked at rave culture as a cash cow and it has now become an unstoppable trend. I no longer feel the sense of community at raves or the underground vibes of people wanting to have a good time without caring what they look like. Its a popularity contest for promoters, djs, and party-goers and I truly don’t believe these events should be classified as “raves”.
As I said earlier, my love for electronic music conquers all and I will never stop attending, regardless of how much I usually hate everybody surrounding me. Attending raves has changed my life and has been the inspiration in my writing (obviously). I wouldn’t even be me if I wasn’t a raver, that is truly how I define myself. There are still great people in the scene that exist, but damn how I miss the old scene. I rarely feel comfortable going to EDM events because of the fact that there are now a million photographers and everyone comes dressed to impress. There was a time when this shit didn’t matter and it was about a culture. Although rave culture still exists (I guess) its nothing like it used to be. Instead of a hush hush thing like it used to be, its now the cool thing to do to be a raver. I remember being a raver in high school and how nobody wanted anything to do with me because they just thought I was too weird to even acknowledge. I understand how and why everything changed, but thats a whole different rant that I will get into someday. I applaud those who love the music as much as I do and understand what PLUR is. There is love for raves outside of the drugs, as much as everyone advertises their drug use, and I hope that all of you reading this post have been touched by my story. I guess the bottom line is, music changes lives; EDM is my music of choice and I’m lucky to have seen what I have and experienced what I experienced. For all of the people that never got to experience underground raves, I feel sorry for you because it was truly an amazing thing that may never be seen again.
Regardless of how mainstream our culture gets, there’s still going to be people there that know what PLUR is and have a true passion for the music. Attending these events have introduced me to some of the greatest people in the world and I don’t have any friends that AREN’T in the scene. True EDM fans are a different breed of people and if you can relate to me, you understand how truly incredible it is to have these people in your life. Some people would say the EDM scene in America has gone to complete shit, but my advice is to keep raving and keep loving what you’re doing. There’s nothing that can bring the underground back or get all the idiots out of the scene. Keep being “PLUR” and loving, and maybe one day the scene will go back to the way it used to be.