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Rave Party And Culture: Community Of Self-Acceptance 

Rave Party And Culture: Community Of Self-Acceptance

When I first met my partner, I quickly realized that the greatest difference between the two of us was our tastes in music. He was absolutely crazy about electronic dance music (EDM). He played it nonstop, had attended nearly every rave in California, and had even dedicated a significant portion of his life to DJing at EDM clubs and parties. I, on the other hand, held the vague notion that EDM was a bunch of noise without even the opportunity of redemption through lyrics.

Despite my reluctance, I agreed to accompany him to the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, and I was won over by the raving culture instantly. I realized that raves are so much more than a party for EDM enthusiasts. Raves are a musical quest devoted to love, liberation, and community.

Over the past weekend, my partner and I attended HARD Summer, a two-day rave located in the desert just outside of Los Angeles. It reminded me of the truly unique aspects of raving that cannot be found elsewhere. Rave culture is an unexpectedly beautiful and open-hearted experience in which everyone deserves to revel.

PLUR: Peace, Love, Unity, & Respect In The Rave

In several of my Gender Studies courses, we have studied ravers as a type of marginalized community. Ravers are usually social outcasts and outliers who subvert normativity in many ways: partying nocturnally, rejecting laws that prohibit drugs, dancing expressively, and donning costumes that are considered gender-inappropriate or too sexual. However, I believe that the most significant way that rave-goers destabilize traditional restrictive paradigms is through PLUR.

In the rave world, PLUR stands for peace, love, unity, and respect. These are the values upon which rave culture is based. There’s a special handshake that ravers do when they say the principles aloud, and they exchange Kandi bracelets while performing the hand gesture. It is a way to remind yourself and others to remain unconditionally peaceful, loving, united, and respectful. This translates to an absolute lack of judgment.

According to Pasquale Rotella, the CEO and founder of Insomniac, the largest international rave company in the world, PLUR means “to unconditionally feel great affection for a fellow being, and offer friendship, regardless of race, sex, or creed” and “to allow yourself to be who you are without expectations, and allow others to do the same while helping each other, giving those around you the pride, courage, and honor you would yourself.”

Especially in a time where politics and current events have created such divisiveness, PLUR is a way to erase differences and focus on similarities. Built upon such inclusive and uplifting ideologies, raves are known for breaking down racial, gender, socioeconomic, and religious barriers so every person feels included and welcomed.

What is a rave? and the community of self-acceptance within the raving culture and explores the raving community at music festivals.
Photo by Wendy Wei on

Raving Is More Than What Meets The Eye

As a woman with anxiety, it is extremely comforting to walk into a rave knowing that every person is accepted without question. Ravers consciously go out of their way to offer a sense of belonging to each other. I’ve found that women, in particular, are kind to other women in ways I have never seen outside of a rave. For example, as I walked amongst the 150,000 ravers in attendance this weekend, female ravers would pause, touch my shoulder or arm gently, and sincerely tell me that I was beautiful or that I was an amazing human being. Girls at raves are not envious of one another’s bodies or costumes; instead, each woman congratulates one another on shining so brightly.

Self-Acceptance In Raving

Raves are especially profound experiences for those, like myself, who have always found themselves to be a little different. Growing up, I didn’t have many friends, and I was perpetually self-conscious. For years, I overthought my actions, picked apart my words, and agonized over what others thought about me. In short, I was paralyzed by my insecurities, and I was always acutely aware of the ways that I was different from my peers.

After attending raves as an adult, I have learned to celebrate myself and my differences from the norm. Immersing yourself in the rave community teaches you that there are so many others who are unique just like you. Ravers dress how they want and dance how they want without being concerned about what others are doing or worrying about how they might look. If you want to do handstands in the middle of a grass field, go right ahead. If you want to lie down and gaze at the beautiful light shows, be my guest. If you want to dress up like a rainbow unicorn, I might just join you.

Raves are a safe space dedicated to love, happiness, and good vibes. It’s like how the world is supposed to be. We’re all human beings sharing a sacred experience. Once I started attending raves, I was able to carry these lessons over to my everyday life. I have gladly forfeited my insecurities in favor of supreme self-acceptance.

PLUR is not simply a mantra, but a lifestyle. No longer do I worry about how my body looks compared to societal beauty standards; my body is strong, capable, and carries me to new experiences. And if my favorite song comes on the radio, you better believe I’m not afraid to use my body to dance, no matter where I am or who’s watching.

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