USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘rave’
Folk Dance
general
Kinesthetic
Material

The Cowboy Raver of the Bay Area

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 at this point in the conversation reflecting on the colorful culture of raves, and the neon colors he associates with his memories of it.

“I’ll also introduce one figure from the mid to late 90s that I would be fascinated to know what happened to him. You’d see him at all these events. He was this amazing guy, I think he was – whether it was his regular job I don’t know- I think he was kind of a traveler who was a former cowboy or was a cowboy. And he would get dressed up and actually had, in the middle of these parties, a glow-stick lasso. And he’d be like lasso-ing with this glow in the dark lasso, or even multiple lassos, and that was pretty incredible. He was affiliated with this Bay Area trance scene that I was primarily involved in. Around ‘98, ‘99, 2000.”

Aside from the illustrious raver cowboy figure, there is an element of rave dance from the late 90s being shared here. The use of neon, glow in the dark lassos as part of the ritual of dancing in a crowd is an important aspect of the information being imparted here.

general
Humor

“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 happysparklyglowbear15@plur.org 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.”

general

German Raver Cyborg Mohawks

Background: I interviewed Professor Nye to talk about his raving experiences. He discovered electronic music as an exchange student in 1995-96 in Germany. Clubs at this time in Germany were playing a lot of techno pop music, and he heard from friends about “underground” or unsanctioned dance events. He attended events like this his senior year of high school in the Bay area of California.

Context: This interview took place the Thornton School of Music faculty building at the University of Southern California during his office hours on a Tuesday afternoon. There was a flute playing in the background throughout the whole interview. As Professor Nye is describing the styles he saw in European dance events, he remembered a specific hairstyle he saw in Germany. 

“My favorite was probably in Germany these kind of very cyberpunk outfits with just full you know like everything plastic, full plastic cyborg dress. There was this style that ravers had back in the day, especially in Germany, was like shaved on all the side, neon hair, and then like cyberpunk spikes going down the side like this. Does that make sense? That was kind of more sci-fi imagery.”

 

As he is speaking he is gesturing to the center of his head where you would typically expect to see a mohawk and then gestured to both sides of the mohawk in a straight line to describe where the “spikes” would be.

 

 

general
Kinesthetic
Material

Glow in the Dark Nunchucks

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: Prior to describing “glow in the dark nunchucks”, Professor Nye had been sharing his memory of one raver who was infamous for bringing neon and glow in the dark lassos to events.

“Really popular, at least in the Bay Area, because there was such a strong presence in the Asian American community- right by the glow-in-the-dark lassos you could see glow-in-the-dark nunchucks. The nunchucks were pretty great. Standard colors would be green or orange or blue were the most popular, yeah. Nunchucks, yeah.”

We were then joking how much festival security and concert security would quickly confiscate anything that could be construed as a weapon nowadays. These glow in the dark nunchucks have thus become a relic of past raves. 

 

Customs
Festival
Gestures
Rituals, festivals, holidays

P.L.U.R.

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.

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