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Rave Culture

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Essay title: Rave Culture

Rave Culture

What is a rave? Raving is a highly subjective experience. One person's best rave is another person's worst. Any attempt to analyze rave culture must recognize the highly personal factor of the experience. Author Daniel Martin defines a rave as “a long period of constant energetic and stylistic dancing exhibited by a large group of people in a hot, crowded facility providing continuous loud House music and an accompanying strobe lit psychedelic light show” . Since the beginning of this culture there has been much controversy on the legality of what goes on in the scene. Through the history, music, people, spirituality we are introduced to one of the newest things affecting pop culture today.

Rave culture can be traced back to Native American religious ceremonies. It can be traced back to anarchist revolutions in Italy and France. It pulls energy from many different directions. It had its origins in Chicago and Detroit disco clubs and gay dance clubs. England and America traded musical influences back and forth during the late seventies-early eighties until techno finally started to be formed. The actual rave movement, however, combining this new music with dancing, occurred in England. At almost the exact same time, raves started popping up in Manchester and Ibiza, a noted English vacation spot, in late 1987 and early 1988. At this same time, the rave phenomenon was taking hold in Germany, most notably in Berlin. The popularity of raves grew in both countries, and soon the intimate all-night dance parties were drawing thousands of kids. The first U.S. raves were held in San Francisco, long noted for its liberal and psychedelic culture. From here, they moved to Los Angeles and the rave scene was born in California.

The rave scene that was born in America was one of complete illegality. It began when Frankie Bones, a New York native and one of the U.S. DJ’s that was spinning in England, saw that the scene was moving into America, and wanted to bring it to his hometown of Brooklyn. He started a series of parties called Stormrave in early 1992. The parties started out small, 50-100 kids, and Frankie resorted to projecting videos of the massive raves in England to show kids what it was all about. It was during this period of Stormraves that many DJ’s made their debuts.

The music at a rave is techno, primarily electronically created music that generally has a high level of bass. It tends to be fast-paced, running from between about 115 Beats Per Minute to 300 BPM. Normally at a rave, a DJ "spins" to create the music that the ravers hear. The act of spinning is the art of mixing songs together using different pitches, different speeds, and an equalizer to create an ever-flowing, ever-changing wall of sound. In effect, artists record techno songs, which are then reinterpreted and mixed with other techno songs, creating a spontaneous new song.

Dancing is, to an extent, yet another reiteration of the music. The music that the DJ creates spontaneously is a text. The dancer then in turn re-interprets this text through movements of the body. The "reader" therefore, whether in the role of dancer, DJ, or user of sampling technology contributes a mind set that is culturally specific and productive in itself. Rave dancing can be highly stylistic, or extremely vulgar. The beat is the driving force. Whether one is doing highly choreographed dance moves or simply thrusting their body back and forth ceases to matter. It is losing oneself to the beat, becoming one with the music by letting the music control your movements.

Ravers are a unique crowd. While rave culture espouses individualism, a come-as-you-are mentality, there are definitely many similarities among ravers in general. A unique aspect of rave culture is the fashion. There is a definite sense of individualism within the rave fashion scene. You are likely to see someone in jeans, someone in black vinyl pants, or someone in costume at a rave. However, many people fit into a definite "typical raver" mold. For males, baggy pants are the norm. A very tight shirt,

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