For some, a first kiss is memorable and the first love is unforgettable, but for me, my first rave struck me as love at first sight.
In the year 2011, I found love quicker than I’ve ever experienced. The two of us embraced each other rapidly as I walked through the doors of the Worldbeat Center to attend my very first Scream event in San Diego.
I kept hearing about these so-called raves through an old friend of mine who, at the time went by KOLORZ, and I was immediately intrigued. She showed me what kandi was, the definition of a “rave name,” images of her and her friends with pacifiers throwing up hearts, and right then and there, I knew I wanted to be part of the community.
At the time, I was 14 years old, so anything new and refreshing was extremely enticing. But this, this was a realm I had never entered, and little did I know that this encounter would change my life for the next 11 years.
Rave culture has shown me what true non-judgment is. That I can dance like a freak with no care in the world and someone walking by will dance with me simultaneously. That I can dress like a rainbow-loving club kid, or as punk as I want with platform boots, an oversized sweater, and studded accessories.
In all honesty, as an introvert, finding a community has never been the easiest process, but within this culture, I didn’t feel the need to insert myself. It organically welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like a part of something. I’ve made lifelong friends, traveled to various cities for raves, and I feel comfortable attending events alone.
My gut told me there were others who felt the same, so I took the opportunity to collect a few love notes from people within the scene. Read how raving and dance music culture has changed lives:
“I’ve been into heavy music for almost a decade and loved music, in general, my whole life. I’m always trying to get into new stuff, and this summer I started to get into EDM. I’m not sure what changed in my mind but something just clicked.
I feel I’ve found a whole new world of music to explore, so much to unravel, unpack and add to everything within the music I’ve always loved. I hope to get to go to raves, EDM gigs, and festivals next year. I’m only at the start of this journey and I can’t wait to see how it goes.” – Hamish Neilson, five months raving
“Dear EDM, Thank you for teaching me that there was a place out there where I can fit in. Where your background or history doesn’t matter. You are loved for you. You truly saved my life and you continue to do so every day.” – Jules, six years raving
“I was a bit afraid of raving for so long as a person who has epilepsy, but I gave it a shot anyways at Day Trip 2021 and I haven’t missed out on a festival since.
It completely and positively changed the course of my life. Is it also a coincidence that my parents met and fell in love at a club similar to Day Trip, dancing to house every weekend until they brought me into this world.
I have met my best friends and have experienced my own romance in the scene, and so I dedicate this love letter to you house music!” – Bianca Macias, two years raving
“I wouldn’t be who I am today if I didn’t start raving. The experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met, I cherish it. From the sketchy warehouses of skid row to the main stage at EDC, this scene will always have my heart.” – Kevin Jovel, 11 years raving
“Hey, fellow EDM lovers! Like many of you out there, I discovered dance music during a rough time in my childhood. While I was only maybe 10 years old, something about the pulsing beats and the weird, colorful, beautiful “creatures of the night”… it attracted me, it felt like a fantasy, and I instantly fell in love.
The scene became a rock in my life, and it’s been that way ever since! Thank you for being my spark of magic in the world.” – Federica Brandi, 11 years raving