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Monday April 21st, 2014

Raving might not be as popular as it used to be, but wouldn't be great if it made a comeback? If you want to relive the glory days of the techno scene, use this handy list of ten old school raver facts to help throw your own retro-electro party!

1. Secret Locations

The best raves were always the ones that were under threat of being raided by the police. They’d take place at a secret location that party goers would only find out about hours before the party. Sometimes you’d have to meet up at a secret meeting place to be guided to the secret location, sometimes you’d be given the address after calling a secret phone number, in one way or another though, the promoters would try to shroud the party in as much secrecy as possible, creating a subversive, damn-the-man, atmosphere of life beyond the interminable grasp of the nanny state.

2. Glowsticks

Ravers love glowsticks the way babies love sucking on nipples. You can’t be a real raver unless you love twirling around a transparent tube of plastic filled with phenyl oxalate, fluorescent dye solution, and hydrogen peroxide. Raving is all about chemistry, especially if that chemistry glows in the dark. The best glowsticks were the ones you made at home. It wasn't uncommon for party promoters to spend the day before a rave making hundreds of glowsticks by hand.

3. Pacifiers

Ravers love putting things in their mouth. Big things, small things, long things that squirt, all sorts of things, but nothing satisfies a raver’s mouth like a baby’s pacifier. It’s not really a rave unless the dance floor is full of teenagers sucking on plastic. A good rave should always have someone who goes around handing out pacifiers to strangers.

4. Fun Fur Pants

Regular pants are lame. Why wear denim or plaid or corduroy when you can be wearing the fuzzy, furry hide of Snuffleupagus? At the height of the raver revolution, dancers got their moves on while dressed like colourful characters from a kids TV show. Ravers didn’t just like the Teletubbies, they wanted to look like them. You can't have a rave without colourful fur.


Sure, meth is fun, and who doesn't like smoking crack? But none of those drugs are rave material. If you’re not rolling on MDMA, you're not really raving. If you want to throw an epic retro party, make sure everyone has access to as much ecstasy as they can pop. It really helps with the rave atmosphere if you have members of a criminal biker gang present at your party so that they can take care of the whole messy drug dealing business.

6. $7 Water Bottles

Crass capitalism is a hallmark of a proper rave. Hours of drugged out dancing in a room full of hot, sweaty, furry ravers can dehydrate you to the point of death — and dying from thirst wasn't unheard of in the halcyon days of raving — which is why a good party promoter would make sure that water was always available for $7 a bottle. Water at a real rave is scarce & expensive.

7. Vicks VapoRub

Ravers who are high on MDMA love Vicks VapoRub. The easiest way to make a friend at a rave is to go up to someone with a jar of VapoRub and ask them if you can rub it all over their body. It’s not really a rave unless the room smells of sweaty teenagers covered in camphor, menthol, turpentine, eucalyptus oil, cedar leaf oil, myristica oil, and thymol.

8. Giving Homeless People Handjobs

Raving wasn't just about getting high and having fun, it was also about giving back to the less fortunate. By the late 1990s, most raves ended with something known as the Hand Of The People ritual. The ritual would start the moment the dance floor began to clear up. The last five people on the dance floor would then be brought up on stage, next to the DJ booth, where they would give handjobs to local homeless people rounded up by the party promoters. This relationship with the homeless didn't start as an act of charity, since it originally evolved as a way of bribing the homeless so that they wouldn’t inform the police about the locations of raves in their areas. However, eventually the ritual took on a life of its own, until it was no longer about bribery, but about giving back. You can’t have a real old-school rave without The Hand Of The People ritual.


Peace, love, unity, respect. That’s the ethos of raving. A real rave is an idealistic, non-profit adventure that has no place for egos. It’s about creating an environment where people can forge common bonds by uniting as one through the act on wonton revelry and debauchery, creating a moment of solidarity in the face of a cruel and uncaring universe that is entirely indifferent to their existence. Life is meaningless, but with P.L.U.R, it isn’t.

10. Happy Hardcore

Happy Hardcore is to raving what Bach is to classical music. It was once the most popular form of techno in the world. The vast majority of raves were dominated by Happy Hardcore. Ninety percent of rave DJs only played happy beats. It’s not really an old school rave if most of the music isn't happy hardcore.
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