What is rave culture like today?
November 2, 2011 1:24 PM   Subscribe

Can someone tell me about warehouse party culture?

I moved to a city from a small midwestern town and since living here I've come across flyers for warehouse parties that go until 5am. These events are presented as EDM events. There's typically a $5-10 cover charge and the parties move from warehouse to basement to rooftop to warehouse on a weekly basis. It's usually 18+, sometimes higher. Occasionally there's a more expensive "massive" involving tons of artists and several venues all joined into one, and they're widely advertised.

I'm wondering what kind of and how many people come to these things and whether I'd be out of place as a relatively-hip, good-looking, white 25 year-old woman who just wants to roll and dance until sunrise. Are drugs (molly or x) easily procured at these things? Since there's usually no gang-related dress code like there is at a popular club and the parties sort of fly under the radar, is violent crime something I need to watch out for? If so, how are these parties not busted, especially when events are consistently posted on local music forums? What could I expect to experience when I go?

Essentially, I'm curious about the present-day rave scene and what I've missed out on all these years. I'd like to safely experience at least one decadent, pseudo-legal, drug-fueled night of untz before I become an old.
posted by anonymous to Society & Culture (10 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Ravers are, by and large, modern hippies. People are cool. I was hardcore straightedge during my raver days (admittedly, 7-10 years ago in the midwest) and never felt out of place. Honestly, at every rave I've ever been to, there's been "that guy" who's 30-something, just checking it out, and having a good time. I've been tempted a few times to go be that guy, 'cause honestly I miss the great dancing that comes with DJs that know how to interact with a crowd and a place that isn't designed to be a meat market.
posted by bfranklin at 1:42 PM on November 2, 2011

Standing on the periphery, they're mostly on the up-and-up now. There are still mysterious mountain parties that you can only locate an hour before they start, but the Massives are totally legit (with full security, and medical staff on hand), and there's everything in between. And unless your burg has some weird scene, I expect they're like bfranklin says - happy places, open to all.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:45 PM on November 2, 2011

I'm a white male, 30yrs old....

While I wouldn't consider myself a 'raver' per say.... more of a burner/psytrancer... I still frequent raves and edm festivals.

I would highly suggest *NOT* procuring illegal substances at these events... most kids are running around with research chemicals (methylone, 4-FA, 5-IAI, etc.....) that they *think* and will transfer to you as MDMA. Most of them are completely ignorant of all of this... The same goes with psychedelics... the LSD is *NOT* LSD... more likely 25(i)-NBOMe, DOI, DOC etc....

Do not buy drugs from strangers!! Get them from your knowledgeable friends who have personal experience with the exact batch that you are interested in....

On the cultural note....

I have never been concerned about violent crime... at any time during my 10+ years of partying around the country and world.

Parties do get busted, if you don't have pockets full of drugs then I would not be concerned. They want the sound turned off, the underage drinking stopped etc... They don't care about the individuals for the most part.

No one really cares that your old, or white, or whatever.... they only care if your dancing.

I would suggest visiting a few of the weeklies to get to know people, to see what type of music your interested in... (AHHHHHH ATTACK OF THE DUBSTEP!!!) and even which party promoters you feel the most kin with.... everyone throws different types of parties and even horrible music can't be made awesome with extras....

Then plan for a massive or another larger weekly type event to splurge...

Remember.... Set & Setting should be a major concern when embarking on a journey such as this...

posted by anthroprose at 1:53 PM on November 2, 2011

OP: "Since there's usually no gang-related dress code like there is at a popular club"

Wait. Hold on a second. What sort of popular clubs have you been going to????

I'm hardly a club kid, but that doesn't strike me as even a remotely-normal thing.
posted by schmod at 2:00 PM on November 2, 2011

It's pretty common in NYC, but I've never seen it in place for warehouse parties here.
posted by griphus at 2:13 PM on November 2, 2011

Yeah, some places with pretensions in NYC have all types of strange dress codes like no baseball caps, no sneakers or boots, that I always suspected were an oddly racist way to keep out what they thought was the wrong element. I've seen a popular rapper asked to leave a bar because he had on sneakers. Wouldn't be in place for warehouse parties since all the cool people will be wearing baseball hats and sneakers.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:56 PM on November 2, 2011

What you can expect is most likely going to look like a large high school prom and Burning Man thrown into a blender.

If you want large parties that won't get busted and are drug-friendly environments, burn events (Myschevia, Burning Man, Flipside, etc.) and large festivals (Bonnaroo, Movement/DEMF, SXSW, etc.) are the way to go.

If you want to go to a warehouse party, go to a warehouse party. As a semi-retired raver, here's what you need to know that you probably don't:

1. Take some toilet paper with you. You can always leave it in the car. Seriously.

2. HAVE YOUR OWN CAR. Don't get a ride with a stranger and don't take a cab - if you have to leave suddenly, you need to be able to.

3. Don't get intoxicated/accept anything, including a drink/drink before the party. If you drink there, only drink things you brought yourself.

4. Be prepared to get lost, for the party to already be busted when you show up, or get busted while you're there.

5. If it's all ages, there will be high-schoolers present. If it's 21+, there's probably going to be a few underage girls there anyway, but most people are in their 20s (in my experience). EARLY 20s. You will not be the old lady at the party unless you act like one.

6. Many parties that go off get a certain vibe... hopefully you'll find one that gives you that feeling and enjoy yourself. No single genre of music, location or crowd produces this consistently, so follow your instincts and don't make assumptions.

7. It's 10x more important to be comfortable and able to walk around and dance comfortably without having a place to sit down than look like a sex bomb, so think carefully about your shoe choice.

That's it; just watch out for the police and skeevy guys and it's basically the same thing as going to a nightclub, but with gravel for a dance floor. It's a fairly friendly but snobby scene, but no more so than any other.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:12 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ad hominem: "Yeah, some places with pretensions in NYC have all types of strange dress codes like no baseball caps, no sneakers or boots, that I always suspected were an oddly racist way to keep out what they thought was the wrong element"

Oh. I misinterpreted that as "wear the wrong color to the club and you might get stabbed." Your interpretation makes a lot more sense. The only bowling alley in DC has a similar set of bizarre rules (and is obscenely expensive to match; The Dude would not be pleased).

Carry on.
posted by schmod at 9:12 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

It really depends on the city, but in general: Yes you can get drugs at these things. If you don't know anybody in the scene though, chances are you're going to get fake drugs, however.

I went to warehouse raves regularly from 2000-2008 or so and at one point I knew every promoter, dj and drug dealer at pretty much every party I went to in the city and I still got fake drugs from time to time if I was buying at the party.

You're better off buying from someone you trust before the party and sneaking them in, but, if you want tips for getting good ones at a party, you probably need to find someone who is obviously rolling his or her face off and just strike up a regular conversation and talk to them a while, hang out, get to know their friends, etc.. eventually someone will probably ask you if you want any pills. Don't buy them ever from just random people walking around asking if you want any. If the pills were any good they wouldn't have to do that. They'd be too busy selling.

You're probably not going to get arrested buying at a party, but you can get kicked out by security if you don't keep it on the down low. Make sure you have cash obviously, and most people don't make change. Usually they'll just walk you to a dark corner or a busy hallway, hand you the pills in one hand and you give them the cash in another. Make sure you don't drop them, because you don't want to try and pick them up off the floor. You can probably just eat them on the dance floor, but it's better to go into like a bathroom stall.

It takes about an hour for pills to come up. Don't take more than one at first. If you get a fake one, it's mostly likely going to be DXM (cough medicine), but it can be other things, some of which can be dangerous or even deadly if you take too much. There's really no such thing as a weak pill. If you 'kind of felt something' and then it went away after an hour, the pills were fake. Don't take more, or you are going to be in for not a fun night. If they're real, you'll know it for sure one way or the other by 90 minutes in.

Make sure you drink a reasonable amount of water (like a bottle every hour). Don't drink any alcohol. Try not to hook up with some skeezy guy. If you find some fun friends at the party, go to afterparties! They're the most fun part of the event for a lot of these things, but make sure you trust the people you're going to the afterparty with.

In 8 years of going to raves, I've never seen any violence (other than walking to or from the event), so I wouldn't worry about that at all.

Also, go with friends and especially one who will be sober. Warehouse parties get busted and you don't want to have to find your way home while rolling.
posted by empath at 5:47 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

To be honest, though, if you've never been to one of these kinds of parties before, I would not go there with the intention of finding drugs.

Go there for the music. If drugs find you, then they do, but the music is the thing. Just go out on the dance floor and dance. That's why the parties are there. The drugs just make it better.
posted by empath at 5:52 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

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