Raves – what to expect

Prior to attending your first rave, it is important that you become fully aware of the rave world and the things that go along with it. Becoming aware of how ravers are and the values they instil is a great start. The worldwide rule of P.L.U.R. – the acronym for “Peace, Love, Unity, Respect” – is a rule many ravers follow. Disobeying it may lead to fellow dancers shunning you until you comply. Respect your dance floor, other dancers and the DJ, and you’ll fit in just fine.

Understanding the drug myth within raves is important. Many people think of drug abuse when thinking of raves. Whilst ecstasy is commonly used dancers, it is not rife at all raves, and those that rave dance solely for fun take it offensively.

Develop an interest for different types of music. As discussed earlier, there are a wide variety of different styles associated with rave music, so speak to fellow ravers, look through online forums or seek out media content to become familiar with the different styles.  Remember: if you don’t like the music, you won’t have fun.

Find a clothing style you’re comfortable with. Some dress up in costume or rave-specific clothing, whilst other wear comfortable clothing to allow for freestyle dancing. Some ravers like to wear coloured beads and face masks referred to as Kandi or Kandii. Others do not like to wear this, as it can be associated with a stereotype of rave immaturity. Others like lasers and strobes, whilst some prefer to dance with minimal lighting. Cargo pants are a common item of clothing worn at raves, as they promote movement and freedom whilst dancing, and are often decorated with light strips, Kandi and colourful streamers. Have fun by playing around with different styles, to see what best suits you.

Finally, have fun learning a few dance moves. Start off in your own time, practice and progress as you get used to it and the different styles of music. It may take a while to learn some rave dance moves, but try watching some videos of dancers, and use the guide in this blog to help you.

Rave Culture over time

In the late 1950s rave was born, with the term being used to describe “wild bohemian parties”. In 1958, Buddy Holly released the popular song “Rave On,” mentioning the craziness that was rave, along with the feeling of never wanting it to end. In the late 1960s and through to the 1980s, when rave was associated with Mod culture, genial party goers were labelled “ravers”, attributed to their non-stop partying and general carefree attitude. Here, the likes of The Who and The Jam would become the faces of rave.  By the 1980s, and whilst breaking out of Europe and into the USA, rave became an association with electronic music, and the word became a generalised term to describe psychedelia bands such as The Beatles, Pink Floyd and The Doors. Most remarkably, The Yardbird released an album called “Having a Rave Up”, and although not in line with traditional rave sound, signified the generic style of music that was now rave. In Australia, the word “rave” was first used in the late 1980s to describe the subculture that grew out of the acid house movement –  a subgenre of house music developed around the mid-1980s by American DJs. By the late 1980s, acid house had moved into the British mainstream rave where it manipulated the already booming style, forming a sub-genre that would be followed by many more over time.

Rave parties began in Australia as early as the 1980s and continued into the late 1990s. The tradition continues Australia wide, with rave parties held across festivals such as OZ EDM and Defqon.1 held regularly. Melbourne aided in keeping rave culture in line with young people, and between 2005 and 2010, a dance move resurfaced from the 1980s dubbed the “Melbourne Shuffle”. The dance is a fast heel-and-toe action with a style suitable for various types of electronic music.  A lot of rave music production has come about from worldwide artists purely because of the Melbourne Shuffle, so dancers can adjust their movements to the heavy drum and bass associated with the tune, making it one of the most common and widespread dance moves in the world of rave.

What is rave dance and how did it start?

A rave dance is a large dance party featuring performances by DJs and occasionally live performers playing electronic music, particularly electronic dance music (EDM). The music is amplified with a large sound system, in conjunction with subwoofers to produce a deep bass sound. The term “rave” originated in Soho, London back in the 1950s, and was used to refer to alternative parties thrown by London’s nonconformist groups. It was used by mods, Buddy Holly, and even David Bowie at one point.

Rave originated from revolutionary electronica and pioneering DJs, but the style incorporated a lot more than just that. Raves commenced as a secretive movement amongst bohemian partiers, where a group of like-minded people would get together and dance (occasionally under a heightened state of consciousness) to varying types of electronic music such as drum and bass, dub, electro music disco/afro, chill-out, new-age and freestyle. These underground raves were intended to provide a magic atmosphere where people could dance the night away. Raving is completely centralised around underground music, and has evolved overtime to encompass flashing strobe lights, lasers, adhering to a particular fashion code, performing certain dance moves associated with the style of music, and a following of like-minded & radical dancers to better enhance the rave environment.