Top 10 rules of the rave: A guide to underground dance party etiquette

Categories: Lists
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Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen

Electronic music's recent surge in popularity comes with serious side effects for underground party aficionados. Suddenly, Daft Punk is winning Grammys, and drunk girls (and guys) are ruining life at 4 a.m. in a warehouse somewhere.

Take this recent incident: Under a haunting pink hue Dustin Zahn tended to his machinery, hands poised above the knobs. My body was carried by the sound, hips oscillating, hair in my face, arms outstretched, at worship. I was in ecstasy, but I opened my eyes to someone shrieking, "Can you take a picture of my tits?" She pushed her smart phone onto a bewildered onlooker. Much to my dismay, he aimed its lens directly at her protruding cleavage and snapped a series of photos. Her drunken friend laughed, peering into the phone's screen and haphazardly sloshing half of her drink onto the dance floor. In short, the magic was gone.

I could spend time being mad at these random people, but that would ultimately lead to nothing but more bad vibes. After talking to friends and other musicians who experience the same tribulations, I have assembled ten rules for proper underground dance party etiquette.

See Also: Top 10 Twin Cities dance venues


10. Learn what a rave is before you call yourself a raver.

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Emily Benjamin
If Steve Aoki is playing, you are not at a rave.

Your bros at the dorm call you a raver, as does the neon nightmare you picked up at Barfly last weekend and are now dating. Sorry to crush your dreams, but clearing the dollar store of glow sticks and eating a bunch of shitty molly doesn't make you a raver. Raving is pretty sweet, though. The term originated in 1950s London to describe bohemian parties that the Soho beatniks threw. Its been used by mods, Buddy Holly, and even David Bowie. Finally, electronic music hijacked "rave" as a name for huge underground acid house events that drew thousands of people and spawned an entire subculture. "Raving" is entirely centralized around underground dance music. Not Skrillex. Not Steve Aoki. Not anything you would hear on top 40 radio.

9. This party is no place for a drug-addled conga line.

I had just come in from enjoying a cigarette somewhere around 3 a.m. this past Sunday morning, carefully dancing in the direction of the DJ booth, when I was confronted by an obstacle: a strange wall of bodies draped over one another in a straight line, dividing the entire dance floor in half. These people weren't moving. In fact, I couldn't even tell if they were still breathing. Um. What? Can you please play statue somewhere else? Also, I am begging you -- save your conga for a wedding party or bar mitzvah.

8. If you are not 21, you are not coming in here.

Just accept it. The security is checking your ID for a reason. If your parents call the cops looking for you, then those cops will show up. If those cops bust this party and you are 19 years old and wasted, then everyone responsible for the party happening is fucked. You'll probably just get a minor consumption ticket or something, and your parents will be mad at you for a week, but is it really worth jeopardizing the party itself? There are plenty of 18+ parties out there. Go to those instead.



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