USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘PLUR’

“You Know You’re A Raver If” Jokes

Background: I interviewed Professor Nye to talk about his raving experiences. He described his most active era to be from 1997-2001 in the underground trance music scene of the Bay Area. He attended many outdoor, open-air, camping events that are described as “underground” or not necessarily sanctioned in the same way that official music festivals, such as Coachella, or Outside Lands are.

Context: Professor Nye was describing jokes and stereotypes of ravers that existed when he was involved in the underground trance scene in the Bay area. He was laughing throughout the joke-telling still clearly very amused by the jokes. Professor Nye seemed to expect that I would understand the jokes as a student in his Electronic Music and Dance Culture course based on our learning about rave culture.

“I remember just jokes around… actually this is hilarious I remember a list going around of “You Know You’re A Raver if” blah blah blah. Have you ever heard these before? At that time one of my favorite ones was, that I kind of came up with with friends was “You Know You’re A Raver if your email is Another one is, you know you’re a raver if you’re doing the laundry and you start arguing about whether the washing machine has a style of tribal or trance. The strongest example was you know you’re a raver if you pay $30 for a party that may not happen, pay $20 for a pill that may be aspirin, but you will not pay $2 for a bottle of water.”

Rituals, festivals, holidays


My informant is a sophomore student at USC that grew up in the Bay Area.

Me: Tell me about Electric Daisy Carnival

Informant: So ever since my senior year of high school I have been going to EDC in June.  Its in Las Vegas now but it used to be at the Coliseum and its basically one of the biggest raves in the nation and all the best DJ’s come perform for three nights.

Me: Sounds fun.  Has this been around for a long time or somewhat new.

Informant: Uh no idea when it started but I would guess after I was born.

Me: Ok, since you have been going for a long time what are some of the big traditions you have noticed?

Informants: Uh well [haha] people do a shit ton of drugs but I wouldn’t call that a tradition.

Me: More of a culture?

Informant: Ya sure, umm I guess P.L.U.R. is a big tradition that people participate in at raves.

Me: P.L.U.R?

Informant: Ya it stands for Peace. Love. Unity. Respect.  Basically people wear a bunch of colorful bead wristbands and exchange them through a handshake, while saying “Peace. Love. Unity. Respect.”  I know it sounds fuckin weird and hippy but you make a lot of new friends that way.

Me: Huh, and someone taught this to you?

Informant: Exactly, at my first EDC a girl “PLUR’d” me one of her bracelets and said she was my rave mother.  I thought it was pretty fuckin weird at first but got into it pretty quickly when I saw how many other people did it.


I didn’t really get much else out of the interview but it seemed obvious that P.L.U.R. was a big part of EDC’s culture and probably all of “rave” culture, given EDC’s size.  Ravers seem to embrace a non-judgemental, loving attitude and P.L.U.R. is a way for them to express to others that they embody these ideals. Meeting random strangers isn’t easy but trading bracelets with them is a harmless and easy way to break the ice.  It may be the music, and it may be the drugs, but Peace. Love. Unity. Respect. seem to be the all encompassing rules at EDC.

Rituals, festivals, holidays

Rave Culture: PLUR and Kandi

This is my informant’s account on the rave term PLUR and the exchange of Kandi,

“I first heard about PLUR in Electric Daisy Carnival LA: 2010. I heard of it because my friend and I saw everyone exchanging kandi, which are beaded bracelets that ravers make. These beaded bracelets are color and nice to look at, which include messages of love and such. We wanted our own so I asked a girl who was fully decked out in kandi if I could have a bracelet. She said yes enthusiastically and held two fingers up expectantly. Little did I know it was the beginning of a kind of ritual that is involved in the trading of kandi. You press two fingers together against your partners, create half a heart and complete it with your partner’s hands, and then clasp your hands together and each person pulls a bracelet from the others’ arm onto theirs. These actions represent Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect, respectively. These values constitute rave culture that started in the 90s. I later heard that PLUR originally included an extra “R” which stood for responsibility, but it’s not usually thought of because it was left out of the handshake.”

My informant stated that he now practices saying PLUR to people whenever he sees a kind act at raves. Such acts would be sharing water, menthol cigarettes, and also exchanging kandi.He states this is very prevalent at raves and such with the inclusion of kandi.

My analysis on this is that raves are generally a place where people have fun and want to feel a sense of happiness. The inclusion of drugs most likely help with this ritual of sharing pleasantries and connecting with people through the act of sharing “kandi” and also stating PLUR. The acronym of PLUR even explains the message of this act. Interestingly this also proves that the rave culture contains beneficial messages of peace and happiness. These rituals also help unite and connect people through the sharing of items that are visually pleasing. My informant’s experience of attaining Kandi, even demonstrates how simple the process is. Also supposedly the drug ecstasy makes lights and bright colors look better, thus kandi is attractive to users to see one women and men dancing.