What’s in a love story? Ultimately, they tell us about the journey of a relationship as it evolves. Popular culture usually applies this idea to relationships involving romantic partners or friendships, but a love story can also represent the journey of a person’s relationship with a passion through time.
In this light, there are several ways a long-haul raver’s relationship to the scene resembles a love story: First, there’s the initial spark–the moment of awe where a newcomer discovers the scene. Then comes the desire to pursue the experience further, to bring the wonder closer to one’s life.
Eventually, that pursuit can lead to a full immersion where, like a long-term relationship, raving becomes a staple part of life that influences one’s community, identity, routine, budget, and more.
Like in all love stories, passion also passes through phases, and a long-haul raver’s relationship to the scene can take many forms through time. There often comes a point where tastes change, some things don’t feel as exciting anymore, and it’s not possible to go as hard as an earlier time.
Nonetheless, there is also beauty to be found in relationships that flourish in the long run, and some aspects of the rave lifestyle are better appreciated with more experience. Here are 5 ways raving gets better with time:
Appreciating the little things
While there’s nothing like the rush you feel when you set foot on those first festival grounds (or a first venue), there’s also a thrill that comes from learning to see the more subtle wonders of a production.
Following a style of music over time allows a listener to shift from casually observing the art to developing a bond with it. This can look like discovering a tempo or beat drop that mysteriously always ignites your energy, or a synthesizer harmony that sends shivers up your spine. Finding a deeper connection to the music you enjoy can be an endless source of joy.
As a regular, It’s also possible to develop a better appreciation for the attention to detail and effort that goes into other aspects of festival and event productions. It can be easy to take for granted the amount of creativity and ingenuity that goes into creating the immersive and whimsical worlds of modern music festivals. Yet, it wasn’t all that long ago that spectacles like Tomorrowland, EDC Las Vegas, and other theatrically sophisticated productions weren’t even conceivable as we know them today.
Consider that the advances in technology necessary to make such productions happen are nothing short of a technological marvel, and there’s also the fact that EDM and rave culture were still considered a fringe part of society not even two decades ago, which makes these productions something to be even more grateful for today.
Gaining New Tastes
It can sound contradictory because long-term relationships are often associated with routine, and when it comes to music, some people will end up only sticking to what they know they like. Even so, there’s another side to the story, one in which exploring never has to stop. One of the great things about experiencing the EDM community over several years is getting to discover new sounds, fashion trends, and subcultures. There’s nothing like the joy of experiencing an old passion in a new way, and with an open mind, no “first time” has to be your last.
Leaving Behind FOMO for Authentic Interaction
Becoming more selective about which shows to attend and what environments you choose to spend time in is a normal part of being active in the scene in the long run. Some people stereotype this as “getting old” or becoming a “snob”, but neither idea tells the whole story. It’s true that age and personal taste play a role in what activities people choose. Even so, being comfortable with opting out of some types of action in favor of others actually comes from gaining a better understanding of what one values in an experience.
Novelty and the desire to fit in make it easy to feel obligated to do as much as possible as a new raver. Wanting to explore the scene as much as possible is great as there’s always something new to discover, but pushing too far for the sake of clout or not wanting to “miss out” can lead to burnout. Those who learn to see past the social pressures understand that choosing events and activities that align with their values makes for having a better time overall.
This same idea also applies to the community. Bonding with new people and deepening existing friendships are amazing parts of the rave and festival experience, and the benefits increase even more when you have a community whose values you feel connected to. Each person has to learn what that community looks like for them, and that takes time, trial, and error. Even so, the effort comes with an opportunity to gain a chosen family as a reward.
Furthermore, raving is more than a community, it’s also a culture– one with its own history, customs, and unique varieties. Gaining deeper connections to the community also means becoming a part of that culture. As a long-haul raver, “keeping PLUR alive” takes on a new meaning: It’s about preserving a way of life.
Choosing your own adventure
There are a lot of noise makers in the EDM community focusing hype on “getting lit,” gaining clout, and doing what’s popular. Nonetheless, the people who never connect to the community on a deeper level often end up burning out of the scene. On the other hand, those who stick around past the “honeymoon” phase get to experience the scene as a source of endless discovery and growth.
Learning to recognize and honor personal tastes, boundaries, and values gives people the ability to choose what they want to get from an experience and the confidence to follow through. Practicing these skills in a festival setting is an opportunity to take control and live authentically, both on the dancefloor and in life–all it requires is committing to the process.