Getting prepared early for a brain-melting bass drop
By Sonam Kaloti, Arts Editor
Rave culture is built on the foundation of PLUR—peace, love, unity, and respect.
No one’s going to a rave anytime soon—it is crushing, but those who have been going to them can attest to the happiness raves bring, even if only through nostalgia. Rave culture is built on the foundation of PLUR—peace, love, unity, and respect. Most attendees of raves will practice PLUR, and it makes for a beautiful, loving experience.
Raves have always held a widely negative reputation to those outside of the community. This may be due to the assumptions based in response to the recreational drug use, revealing/unconventional clothing, and potentially the music itself (especially that of hard bass and dubstep if one is not particularly inclined towards “heavier” music). These judgmental and wildly inaccurate assumptions keep a lot of people from trying out raving due to fear of safety or judgment. Yes, some people do drugs, but there are typically hundreds of security guards and first aid medics who know exactly what they’re doing (besides, you do not need to do drugs to rave nor to enjoy a rave). The PLUR community is also very caring and supportive if you need some help. There will be plenty of people around to get you to safety.
If you have an issue with revealing or unconventional clothing (ok, boomer) you don’t need to wear it. The purpose of wearing these outfits at raves is to feel free and beautiful in your own skin and for yourself (though it does get very hot sometimes). PLUR means you can be free and happy with however you choose to present yourself, free of judgment. However, while you can rave just for the experience alone, the central part of raving will always be the music. You might have been told it’s awful, but honestly, give it a chance. There are tons of genres and artists that make electronic music ranging from the softest synth-y sad songs edging closer to indie-pop, through to the hardest bass-heavy headbangers.
Now, if you do want to try your hand at having possibly one of the best nights of your life, you’re going to want to be prepared. Here’s a list of rave essentials you’re going to want to bring. (Keep in mind that some may not be allowed into the venue. Make sure to check each individual venue list per show for acceptable items.)
1. Fanny Pack
It is essential. Backpacks are rarely allowed, and purses are extremely annoying when they’re flying around everywhere. A fanny pack is secure and stays close to your body. Though the rest are in no particular order, losing things is far too easy at a rave, so a fanny pack is definitely number one. (A good add-on is bringing a glow-stick so you can see what’s inside in the dark!)
In case you need to confirm your identity for your tickets, pick up tickets from will-call, purchase alcohol, purchase merch, book a hotel after, or do anything else requiring a monetary exchange, please don’t forget your wallet and ID. I also suggest bringing cash—it’s not as painful to lose as your credit card.
3. Ear Plugs
Save those precious eardrums. The music is loud, and you will lose hearing if you’re close to the stage or speakers. It’s a lifesaver to avoid headaches, as well.
4. Phone and Charging Bank
Bringing a phone is more of an in-case-of-emergencies maneuver than recommending you bring it to use. Raves are best when experienced in the moment. However, it’s also great to have some fun photos and videos of the night to look back on. Despite it being potentially chunky and annoying to carry, a charging bank might save your life at the end of the night, so I highly suggest bringing one.
As your phone wallpaper, I suggest making a collage of the festival setlist (or just the artists you want to see with their starting times and stage), your own name and contact information, as well as a trusted friend or family member’s contact information. I also suggest bringing the latter in a physical form in case your phone dies or you lose it. Also, bring a sharpie.
You likely won’t be able to bring most of these in at all, but depending on the venue, maybe you can if they are unopened. Advil/Ibuprofen, Tylenol/acetaminophen, and especially Tums are fantastic. You’ll also want to bring band-aids, tampons/pads, hand sanitizer/wet wipes (trust me), and eye drops, especially if you wear contacts. Having a Vicks inhaler is generally nice. Gum or candy is also good to have. Do not forget lip balm.
6. Water Bottle Cap
When you purchase water at a rave, they’ll usually open the bottle and give it to you with no cap (no cap). I’d say bring a few different ones since you won’t know which brand the venue will have. It’s no fun buying overpriced water and having most of it spill out.
The last item on the list is Kandi. Kandi is jewelry made of beads and other tiny trinkets. People at raves trade them using a special PLUR trade handshake. (Together, you say “peace” and touch your index and middle fingers together to form a peace sign pyramid, “Love” as you shape half a heart each to create a whole, “Unity” as you press your whole hand against one another’s, and finally “Respect” as you twine your fingers between each other. Then take turns pulling the Kandi bracelet from your wrist to the other persons.)
Having Kandi making parties with your rave friends is a fun way to hang out before a show and to build excitement for it. Larger Kandi ornaments like a necklace or armband decals can be made from ironing perler bead tray designs!
It may sound like a lot, but it’s better to be prepared! Hopefully now you’ll be ready to start your rave journey when the time comes, and we can all do so safely!