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A rave is a type of all night dance party, popular in many parts of the world. The term is taken from the Jamaican word for party, but true raves really didn’t begin until the 1980s. They may be legal or not, depending upon where the event is held, and while partying all night is usually not illegal, the activities associated with the parties may be.
For a time, some all-night parties were held in abandoned warehouses or places not zoned for a large number of people or party activities. These were often semi-spontaneous events, with announcement circulated by word of mouth. It should be noted that many raves are legally held, though the activities at them often cross into illegality when underage kids are served alcohol or when drug use is rampant.
Common to the early rave movement in many countries was the use of ecstasy, and while not everyone who attended used the drug, many did. Today’s parties, legal or not, are often marked by not only the use of ecstasy put also of other drugs like methamphetamines, cocaine, and hallucinogens. Concern also exists about the use of date rape drugs since, given the dark and loud atmosphere of most parties, it is fairly easy to spike a drink. There are therefore rules for attending raves to protect people's safety.
The rave party is rarely marked by violence, and as an outgrowth of the hippy movement and the acid subculture, it is more likely to emphasize acceptance of other people’s behavior, a shared love of electronic music, and a desire for fun. Ironically, the popularity of these parties and their acceptance in the general culture has led to more violent events than those previously existing in illegal ones.
Parents were certainly right to be concerned about their teens’ safety at raves since drug dealers often prowled them. Sometimes, parents organize safer dance parties for children, and parties that last through the night are common for high school prom or graduation events. Only graduating seniors are allowed to attend, and they are not allowed to leave during an event.
In both the US and Canada, these parties are more and more accepted, especially when they are conducted legally and supervised. It’s recommended that people only attend legal events and that they always go in a group.
For safety purposes, it’s a good idea for party-goers to mind any drinks they consume, and to have a buddy when they use the bathroom. Anyone who leaves a drink unattended should throw it out, and no one should accept a drink from anyone he or she does not know well. Individuals should never leave with someone they don’t know, and if friends plan to drink, they should designate a sober driver. They should also be sure to keep a cellphone handy and have an emergency contact if the designated driver doesn’t follow the rules.
Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly is a rave?
A rave is a large dance party featuring performances by DJs or live musicians playing electronic dance music (EDM). These events are known for their vibrant atmosphere, enhanced by colorful light shows and visual effects. Raves can occur in various venues, from warehouses and clubs to outdoor festivals, and they often run late into the night or early morning. The culture emphasizes community, self-expression, and a shared love for music and dance.
How did raves originate and evolve?
Raves began as underground dance parties in the 1980s in the United Kingdom, emerging from the acid house music scene. They quickly spread to other parts of Europe and North America, evolving into a global phenomenon. Over time, raves have grown from secretive, illegal gatherings to mainstream events and festivals, with some attracting hundreds of thousands of attendees. The music has also diversified, encompassing various sub-genres of EDM.
What should I expect at a rave in terms of atmosphere and activities?
At a rave, expect a high-energy, sensory-rich environment. The atmosphere is typically friendly and inclusive, with attendees, often referred to as 'ravers,' dressed in colorful, sometimes eccentric attire. Activities include dancing to the beats of EDM, light shows, art installations, and sometimes workshops or chill-out zones. Raves are social events where many people form connections with fellow music enthusiasts.
Are raves safe, and what precautions should I take when attending one?
While raves are intended to be enjoyable experiences, they can pose safety risks due to large crowds, loud music, and the potential presence of drugs. It's important to stay hydrated, protect your hearing with earplugs, and be aware of your surroundings. Attend with friends and have a plan in case you get separated. Many raves have harm reduction services and medical staff on-site to ensure attendees' safety.
How can I find raves to attend, and are there any age restrictions?
Raves can be found through social media, music festival websites, and dedicated rave community forums. They are often advertised well in advance, giving attendees time to prepare. Age restrictions vary depending on the event and location; some raves are 18+, while others may be 21+ due to the serving of alcohol. Always check the event's age policy before purchasing tickets.