Editorial

2024, The Year Of Sober Raving? How The Scene Is Getting Less Drunk & More Damp

Image credit Jonathan Nunez

It’s finally the new year and with all the talk of a “new me” comes the goal for many to better themselves.

Whether it’s eating less sugar, exercising more, or drinking more water, health is always on people’s minds, especially for those who want more energy to dance all night long.

But alongside this new “health-is-wealth mindset” and younger generations entering the music scene, sobriety has become a new topic of conversation.

Many veteran ravers are realizing that the hangover and comedown that they used to avoid by simply consuming more is hitting them harder and harder and just isn’t worth the metaphorical and literal headache.

Plus as newer ravers to the scene bring their “sober curious” or “California sober” lifestyle, the dance music scene is becoming less drunk and more damp.

Image credit YATE

But sobriety isn’t a brand new concept for those in the raving community. While nights out often have a connotation of free-flowing alcohol and substances, the reality is that life isn’t sustainable.

And for those who make music their career, that takes time, dedication, and focus that isn’t hindered by constantly numbing your brain.

Some of the biggest artists in the world are currently sober including Mormon DJ and international superstar Kaskade.

An alumnus of Brigham Young University, Kaskade is a devout Mormon, not drinking or doing substances but still throwing down sets every night for 10 plus years.

Chart-topper Tommie Sunshine has also been sober for over a decade, telling Mix Mag, “There’s a hell of a lot more focus. When I’m DJing now, 100% of my focus is on the music. It’s not about pouring myself a drink or smoking a cigarette or socializing. When I play, that’s the high. The high is looking out at the room and twisting it in knots and having everyone go bonkers.”

An ex-addict, he’s also seen the same substances that almost destroyed his life continue to plague some of his peers, explaining, “But being famous was not part of the equation. Now, there’s an element of fame involved in that intoxication. Add that to drugs and alcohol and that’s a seriously dangerous intoxication. You’re just in a tidal wave of serotonin highs.”

ILLENIUM, William Black, and more all echo this sentiment, once addicts as well but now advocates of the sober lifestyle as an integral part of their success.

Image credit SOFI TUKKER

Furthermore, it’s not just artists trending towards sober, but their fans as well.

Gen Z (born 1997-2012) are now turning old enough to attend festivals, and clubs, or be exposed to the world of dance music, and while many of us Millennials couldn’t wait to have our first sips, they are choosing to abstain.

Gen Z drinks “about 20% less alcohol per capita than millennials did at their age, according to a report from Berenberg Research.”

College students are even choosing to forgo the flip cup with a University of Michigan study finding 28% (up from 20%) of college-age adults don’t drink nowadays.

This has led to a new emerging market of products that make it easier to be sober at events. A study from White Claw found that 63% of their consumers say that expectations, pressures, and judgments from others make it tough to avoid drinking alcohol at social occasions.

Brands like Liquid Death, White Claw’s new non-alcoholic seltzer, Loverboy’s non-alcoholic hard tea, and more center a part of their marketing around people still wanting to enjoy a fun beverage without turning towards something spiked.

YATE, a Yerba Mate brand focused on creating “social energy” for purely having fun, is also offering more ways to hype up than just with alcohol.

Founder Eric Hoang said about the beverage behind YATE, “Yerba mate also has theobromine in it, which is found in chocolate, and can contribute to people experiencing a feeling of euphoria… I think when people are out raving, dancing, or partying they want to feel literally anything in lieu of being drunk.”

Image credit YATE

And non-alcoholic drinks aren’t new to raving as a whole. Well-known venues like Berghain and Watergate in Berlin also sell Yerba Mate for more sustained energy than alcohol or even a more health-conscious mixer.

SOFI TUKKER also partnered with Novo Fogo to release ENERGIA, their own brand of sparkling mate.

The bottom line is sobriety is in and the young people and industry heavyweights are all on board.

So whether you feel alone on your journey or are trying out dry January and it’s getting difficult to stick to, just know that you’re ahead of the curve.

And as the great John Summit once tweeted, “Some of the best DJs are sober. If you can’t dance and have fun then you shouldn’t be a DJ period.”

Written by
Danielle Levy

Danielle Levy is an MBA with a concentration in Corporate Social Responsibility. Danielle has several years of experience in the sustainability education world and has held various positions in human resources and intern management. Danielle is passionate about the ties between sustainability and social impact.

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