Demystifying the Rave Scene: Let's Talk About The Negative Raver Stigma

| April 18, 2017

There is a negative stigma that exists around raves and their attendees. As most of my articles go, I want to open with a story. It was a Thursday night and I was at work, slinging drinks across a bar and pouring draft beers. I was playing some big room house music and a customer asked if I liked that “electronic noise.” I told him that I did and that I attended festivals, raves and club shows whenever I could. Then this customer gives me a long look and said (verbatim) “Oh. You’re one of those kids.” 

It was the emphatic ‘those’ that gave me pause.

It’s easy for folks outside of the EDM community to assume that ravers are essentially all the same kind of person. Loves EDM. Wears kandi. Swings around light up poi balls. I’ve read more articles than I care to admit that have headlines like “The Ten People You Will Meet at EDC” or “Five Ravers You Want to Befriend.” These articles perpetuate an erroneous belief that ravers come from one cookie cutter archetype. An archetype that is usually negative. Society sees ravers as partying kids. They all drink, they all smoke weed, they don’t have any career aspirations. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

We are all incredibly different human beings who are united with a shared love of electronic dance music and the welcoming community and sense of family that it creates. We are activists, medical students, shufflers, army veterans, bartenders, glovers, teachers, music producers, writers, engineers. We go to work, buy groceries and pay bills.

Some of the ravers that I’ve met and befriended are some of the most driven and intelligent people that I’ve ever had the privilege to meet. Ravers are among the kindest and most empathetic people that I’ve ever met and probably ever will meet. Many are hardworking, generous and extraordinarily passionate, and about more than just EDM. So, the stigma that ravers are all spoiled kids with no real jobs continues to baffle me.

EDM events aren’t cheap, I can definitely admit that. But the rave fairy doesn’t leave tickets to EDC under our pillows at night. I know ravers who’ve taken extra jobs just to afford big events. Many of us work hard to earn these events.

The essential identity of a raver is constantly in flux. We all contribute to the EDM scene and all of our unique and diverse personalities and experiences coalesce to form the constantly changing identity of a raver. As ravers, we do have some things in common. Some of us glove, some shuffle, some craft kandi masks, some make DIY rave outfits. But no matter how we choose to express our love and admiration for the EDM scene, there is no quintessential raver.

At the end of the day, the raver stigma needs to be debunked. We are contributing members of society. We could be anyone out there- your barista, your Uber driver, the student next to you on the subway, your server at the place you had brunch. So the next time someone tells you that they’re a raver don’t say “Oh. You’re one of those kids.” 

Want to learn a little bit more about the neon-colored, bass-boosted world of raving? Check out our Demystifying the Rave Scene Series. We have articles on kandi, outfits, light show etiquette, why we go to raves, the art of DJ-ing and more. Already a rave veteran? Show your love for the scene with our EDM specific tanks and tops.

about the writer

Lindsay Moriyama

Lindsey Moriyama

Read More...Lindsey was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii but now she lives, writes, bartends and stretches paychecks in New York City.

Illenium, Gareth Emery and Porter Robinson are her favorites, but you'll find her at any EDM event in any borough. A lover of every genre from trance to dubstep, you can find her on the fringes of a crowd gloving, dancing and bringing good vibes. A PLURR fairy, basshead, trance child and kandi kid all in one, this scene is her world.

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