I never thought I’d be a girl going to raves.
The first time I was invited to a rave I was about 13 and at Target with my cousin, who was 12. A large man approached me and asked if I was 18 and liked to party. I said no, and no. He then asked if I’d like to go to a rave anyway, and I said no thanks. My cousin seemed to have no idea what he was talking about, but I just thought about what I had heard in health class: raves are filled of drugs, sex, and a lot of sleazy men.
So what made me decide to attend my first rave?
This summer I went on a few dates with this guy, who ended up being a total tool, who kept telling me about how great these parties in the city were… starting anywhere between 9 PM and 3 AM and ending anywhere between 5 AM and 10 AM. I was skeptical. Fast forward: October. I got involved with this guy from work for a little while. He was a raver and made me my first piece of kandi in my favorite colors [more on that later.] He planned on taking me to a rave, and I was willing because he and his friends were pretty chill. Alas, that ended. Bringing us to January. When I attended my first rave.
My first rave was a small underground event called Family Values: The Rave. It was in Brooklyn and my friend Ali took me. It was located in an abandoned fallout shelter below an apartment building. Ali made friends with some kid who was on parole and had been in and out of rehab. I felt kind of uncomfortable with him and his friends, they sketched me out and their leader was pretty damn bossy. The cops ended up busting the party within an hour and all the ravers went through a maze of rooms to hide. It was cliche, out of a movie, “damn cops, why do they always have to ruin our good time?” The cops ended up being awesome, because they let everyone off and let us continue the party, just so long as people didn’t hang out above ground and wake the neighborhood up. Although the facebook event advertised great lights, one of the most important aspects of the rave setting, all they had was a small Christmas tree with some small Christmas lights on it. It was definitely not the best first rave experience, but I could see something in the scene, something that made me want more.
A week later I attended my second rave, Meant to Be, at the Electric Warehouse in Brooklyn, an amazing venue. It was to be the first rave for my best friend, Ida. I had a horrible week and it took forever getting there because my friend and I got lost, ripped off by a cabbie, and ended up having to walk about 2 miles to get to the building. The party was 16+ and 21+ to drink, advertised as being strict about IDs. Of course, we arrive, and I realize I forgot my ID. But miraculously, or maybe not so, I was allowed in anyway and our amazing night began. Ida and I at that time were both broke, due to our horrible time arriving, but we went in wide eyed and excited. We arrived around 11 PM and left around 5:30 AM when it ended. We danced for hours, constantly got asked “are you rolling” or “do you want rolls?,” got hit on my men, traded and gave kandi, made lots of new friends, received light shows, and relied on guys to buy our drinks [they didn’t card, so I had water, juice, beer, and mixed drinks throughout the night.] It was a fantastic time but in the morning, we realized we had no way home. Luckily, a new friend who had drove to the party offered to drive us to the train station where my car was, since it wasn’t totally out of the way. He also drove home several of his other rave friends, and by the end of the drive Ida and I had tons of new pals.
What impressed me most about the ravers is their kindness and their non-judgmental ways. No one can feel stupid at a rave, since we all look stupid. I’m convinced if you needed it, a raver would hand you their shirt off their back. This is all tied into the ravers motto, PLUR. Peace, love, unity, and respect. The next night all my new friends texted and facebooked me, “did you get home okay?,” “it was great meeting you!,” “can’t wait to see you again!” etc.
I’m enough of a noob to the scene to not have a rave name and to not have an arm of kandi yet, but I know that the unity felt at a rave is genuine and it’s something I hope I can remain part of for a while.