Ten Rules of the Rave: A Guide to Underground Dance Party Etiquette

Categories: Commentary

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Ed Steele
Electronic music's recent surge in popularity comes with serious side effects for underground-party aficionados. Suddenly, Daft Punk is winning Grammys, and drunk girls (and guys) are ruining life at 4 a.m. in a warehouse somewhere.

By Sarah Stanley-Ayre

Take this recent incident: Under a haunting pink hue Dustin Zahn tended to his machinery, hands poised above the knobs. My body was carried by the sound, hips oscillating, hair in my face, arms outstretched, at worship. I was in ecstasy, but I opened my eyes to someone shrieking, "Can you take a picture of my tits?"

She pushed her smartphone onto a bewildered onlooker. Much to my dismay, he aimed its lens directly at her protruding cleavage and snapped a series of photos. Her drunken friend laughed, peering into the phone's screen and haphazardly sloshing half of her drink onto the dance floor. In short, the magic was gone.

I could spend time being mad at these random people, but that would ultimately lead to nothing but more bad vibes. After talking to friends and other musicians who experience the same tribulations, I have assembled ten rules for proper underground dance-party etiquette.


10. Learn what a rave is before you call yourself a "raver."

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Emily Benjamin
If Steve Aoki is playing, you are not at a rave.

Your bros at the dorm call you a raver, as does the neon nightmare you picked up at some bar last weekend and are now dating. Sorry to crush your dreams, but clearing the dollar store of glow sticks and eating a bunch of shitty molly doesn't make you a raver. Raving is pretty sweet, though. The term originated in 1950s London to describe bohemian parties that the Soho beatniks threw. It has been used by mods, Buddy Holly and even David Bowie. Finally, electronic music hijacked "rave" as a name for huge underground acid house events that drew thousands of people and spawned an entire subculture. "Raving" is entirely centralized around underground dance music. Not Skrillex. Not Steve Aoki. Not anything you would hear on top 40 radio.

9. This party is no place for a drug-addled conga line.

I had just come in from enjoying a cigarette somewhere around 3 a.m. this past Sunday morning, carefully dancing in the direction of the DJ booth, when I was confronted by an obstacle: a strange wall of bodies draped over one another in a straight line, dividing the entire dance floor in half. These people weren't moving. In fact, I couldn't even tell if they were still breathing. Um. What? Can you please play statue somewhere else? Also, I am begging you -- save your conga for a wedding party or bar mitzvah.

8. If you are not 21, you are not coming in here.

Just accept it. The security is checking your ID for a reason. If your parents call the cops looking for you, then those cops will show up. If those cops bust this party and you are nineteen years old and wasted, then everyone responsible for the party happening is fucked. You'll probably just get a minor in possession ticket or something, and your parents will be mad at you for a week, but is it really worth jeopardizing the party itself? There are plenty of eighteeen-and-up parties out there. Go to those instead.


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14 comments
joseluislamas
joseluislamas

I would never want to see the author at a rave she seems like the person that would give someone a history lesson on how things where in "the old days", straight kill the vibe

vintagevaal
vintagevaal

Pretty amazing i know exactly what you mean i am not a raver but i heard of how ridiculous these things get now a days. One thing you left out is dress code back in the cool days they would dress in black nothing reaviling just chill party clothes and your right about the music steve aoki No get me some music i can get lost in without the drugs and alcohol. Disclosure, Route 94 , Codec, you know where i am getting here or anything deep house or close to that!

karlwilliams
karlwilliams

raves from 88-96ish cool, late 90s to 2000s fell off into WT and small town suburbers,  currently - do not exist.  Awful music after hours at strip clubs with bathsalts pretending as 'molly'  do not count and are an embarrassment to humanity and the word rave. 

derp
derp

You guys are unbelievable. clearly the author comes from a time in which raves where still cool like the early 90's possibly when raves where acid house, deep house, jungle parties, so on so forth. Electric Zoo is not a rave you fucking schmucks, hula hoops are for string cheese incident concerts and this author is bad ass.

mkmartin6
mkmartin6

The writer has obviously never actually been to a rave.  What idiot writes this shit?


JohnJay24
JohnJay24

It seems like whoever wrote this would be the absolute worst person to ever go to a rave with or meet at a rave. 

It sounds like the politically correct guide to raving alone in the corner..... and leaving mad every time, pissed about all the people that ruined your rave. 


nikkivicious
nikkivicious

How absolutely pretentious can you be? Don't like hoopers? Don't watch. Saying we don't belong just proves that you don't belong.

nikkivicious
nikkivicious

Ok how pretentious are you to attack hooping as if it's something that has no value simply because you don't do it? Don't like it? Don't watch it! Lots of people will come up to me and ask me about my hoop, or how long it took me to learn certain tricks, or lots of other things. And don't get me started on "it takes up space that we could use for dancing..." Please, it's not like we choose to do it in the middle of a crowd... We're normally on the edges with a space around us. Don't pick on performers if you're not one. I'm fairly certain there's plenty of us that make fun of your dancing, asking wtf is she on to act like that.

tonyruggio
tonyruggio

Might be one of the silliest and pretentious articles I've read on here. I'm not a raver, but traditionally raves are supposed to be a nearly anything-goes atmosphere. Stripping away all of that turns it into just another semi-prude dance party. 

replicant0wnz
replicant0wnz

@derp  Agreed 100% Back when the women and the men pretty much wore the same thing to a 'rave', baggie jeans and a t-shirt .. Now, not so much .. 

nikkivicious
nikkivicious

And I have no idea why it decided to post both comments after it acted like it erased my first comment. Way to go disqus!

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