rave culture
March 5, 1997

Raves were initially held by friends, or friends of friends. They progressed to the usual promoters, and were eventually taken over by police and criminals. They were held at secret locations everywhere, from about 12am to 8am... peaking in the early 1990's.

Common threads bond many ravers - victims of oppression, seeking tolerance, and the opportunity for expression. Together, they hypnotised themselves on light and sound; feeling the music, finding the emotions, and expressing those in dance.

Raves were about the future, about the evolving world culture, a culture spanning continent and nation alike, diverse, tolerant, respectful, communicative, honest, sensitive and adaptive; peaceful, enthusiastic, open-minded, constructive and co-operative. A culture striving for ideals of freedom and choice, a future culture created by people, made possible by technology.

These sustainable values emerged as a reaction to intrusions by the State into personal freedoms in such areas as homosexuality and drugs. Such intrusions produce social decay. This adversity, created through intolerance, is what defined the rave; they were about overcoming adversity, about being free, and about allowing others to be free also.

Attending a rave was casting a vote for freedom. Drugs, music, indeed the future itself is a window of freedom from contemporary interventionist, mechanistic reality.

Previous generations have spoiled the planet, through an unfortunate combination of ignorance and disrespect, and now it is up to Youth to fix it. Previous generations have wallowed in the shallows of religion, consumerism, nationalism, paternalism and ignorance, yet despite the obvious and indeed inherent flaws in these approaches, society continues to follow them.

Youth cannot be expected to reconcile this dysfunctional, hypocritical and unjustifiable pigheadedness by the establishment. Modern approaches are more concilatory and participative. Youth knows this, can see how things are wrong and how they can be addressed; but are impatient.

All the while, Youth is being corrupted by the ideologically bankrupt past. Some succumb to the group norming process, others max out and commit crime, some hide in escapism, some keep their values but resign themselves to the norm. How much youth has been squandered in this way? How much youth makes it into adulthood with a working semblance of innocence?

Dance music, raves, and club culture captured the imagination of some of those who were saddened from what they found in the Real World, and preferred to think of happier times, facilitated by technology and respect.

Of course, social phenomena are transient, and rave culture was no different; a combined assault by the police, the media, and Time (the aging of the rave audience) led to the decline of the rave. The audience is still alive, the values are still alive, but time has moved on.

Instead, the maturing audience is turning itself to applying those values so cherished, turning itself to using the adult influence it has evolved in constructive ways, and building that future it could only fantasise about; that future represented in the art that became, for a short time, rave culture.

It's our world now.

Have technology, will evolve.