Amongst The New Rave Children: An Old Person's Review of Saturday's Dayglow Party
"What initially began as a college tradition has transformed into a world-renowned live concert, featuring spectacular DJs, soaring aerial acts, stilt-walkers, contortion acts, fire shows, and cannons to deliver the famous "Paint Blast," along with many other unforgettable live performances."
Saturday night, post-splatter
That's part of the "About" section of the Dayglow website, which also boasts simultaneous, multi-city parties as far away as Poland, where young people dance and get paint literally sprayed on them. It feels like a larger part of this new tribe of teens who want to experience something beyond the aural, who want something that actually leaves a mark. Like paint. Or foam. Or slime.
Now, I understand "paint party" is just a safe way to get around the word "rave," but I also have to lament the word rave, because it no longer exists in a field or warehouse where you call a sketchy phone number and find someone to drive you. They're no longer happening in isolation, which is a good thing in this decade of even scarier drug combos and looser security.
The last time I went to a legitimate rave, circa 1997, a SWAT team busted into the Miami warehouse where it was happening, complete with night vision goggles. Not what you want to see when you're peaking. Now, you just have to go on Facebook to find out where one is, and festivals like Hard Summer Tour and Electric Daisy Carnival bring the not-so-underground culture to the masses.
I approached the Saturday night event, 15 years older, as scientific research, an important anthropological journey down the river and into the Heart of Darkness that is dayglow suburban hordes wearing neon sunglasses and LMFAO shirts. As someone who went to college in Florida, that the concept for Dayglow originated on a college campus there is not surprising. What was once no doubt a frat/sorority event has become a national party/hazing ritual born out of some deep pockets and smart placement in college cities and spring break hubs.
As a friend and I walked into QuikTrip Park around 11.pm., in the very unlikely rave locale of Grand Prairie, gangs of kids in all white were already sporting their tribal marks: blue, pink, yellow, green. Many of the guys were shirtless, or wore the increasingly popular "Party With Sluts" shirt; the girls wore angel wings and tutus, the default costume of events like this, and a bit limited in scope, in my opinion. Every so often, a rogue paint bomber would zip through the crowd, spraying anyone within reach.