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Rave Cliques: Yes, Even These PLUR Preachers have Stereotypes
Walking into a rave might seem like one giant tornado of complete chaos, but actually there's more involuntary organization going on than what meets the eye. Between all the shoving and bumping into one another as you try to navigate through the room, there's usually certain parts of the venue unofficially sectioned off where the same people hang out every week. If you stand in an area where you can catch a pretty good view of the whole room, analyze each person and their friend groups by recognizing what they are wearing, how they are dancing and their general attitude towards everyone else. Then compare it to any other environment such as a high school cafeteria, and you'll find that the similarities are seemingly endless. The only real difference is the actual physical atmosphere.
The diagram above is a pretty low quality sketch of how I see the cliques stationed at your typical venue. Obviously the letters above will correspond with the description of each section below so hopefully this isn't too confusing!
A: DJ BOOTH/STAGE
B: ALL ACCESS
This is obviously a pretty exclusive area unless you're the one DJing at the show. So this spot is pretty irrelevant when it comes to stereotyping except for the sides of the stage. Those who acquire an all access pass have just as much freedom as the performers do. Meaning, they're allowed backstage, in the green room, and pretty much any other restricted area for the rest of the people there. These areas will have the best views, personal bottle service (depending on the venue and your social status!), and possible meet and greets with the artists. This area (B) is pretty hard to get yourself into unless you know someone on the inside or if you're with the producers themselves.
These people don't dress like "ravers". In other words, you won't see them wearing bright, neon tank tops and short shorts covered head to toe in kandi. They're pretty easy to spot because they are generally the only "normal" looking people there. They dress nice and look professional and appropriate as to not set off a bad image for whoever got them that access.
Not quite all access, but as close to it as you can get. VIP ticket holders pay extra to have their own space away from the craziness that the dance floor brings. They get a better view and usually also have an open bar tab depending on the venue. Having open bar access is a pretty big deal, for anyone who regularly goes clubbing or raving you'll understand better than anyone that these drink prices are no joke. You better come in with some serious bankroll to be able to afford a few drinks. $14 for an 8oz. red bull and vodka?! Absurd. Just be prepared to pay a hefty price if you go to a club and expect to have a decent amount of drinks!
D: THE MOSH
I understand the drawing above is quite blurry so I'll write exactly what that paragraph in section D says: "CAUTION: Massive crowd of disgusting, sweaty rave kids who usually go a little too hard with their dance moves. Be mindful of flailing arms/legs and random people screaming obnoxiously loud. Do not enter if you have dignity or a maturity level higher than a 5 year old. You will most likely lose all hope for society by witnessing everything that goes on in the core of the mosh pit."
That sums it up pretty accurately. Unless you're there to go absolutely insane and just jump around wildly rubbing up against a sea of strangers, then I'd avoid the mosh at all costs. However, If you're a rave/kandi kid then you'll know that being in the mosh is fun but breaks are definitely necessary unless you're okay with passing out from dehydration at some point. I don't want to drop too many slang words, but the best way I can describe the mosh pit in one word would be ratchet. A user on Urban Dictionary's website defines "ratchet" as:
- "Basically Ratchet is a term for someone who is such a ghetto/slutty/ugly/trashy hot mess that you have to use a word that doesn't even technically apply because what you are seeing is such a mess that it goes beyond any normal description."
There's really no way of defining that word gently! Just a heads up for what you're getting yourself into as you work your way threw the crowd and into the mosh.
Not only is Flosstradamus one of my favorite producers, but they do a great job showing what a real mosh pit is like!
E: KANDI KID MEET UP LOCATION
Besides the mosh pit, this will be the easiest group of people to spot. They are ALL dressed in vibrant, colorful (usually revealing) clothing. Their arms are covered in bracelets, sometimes they're even large 3D cuffs if it's a serious kandi kid. A kandi kid is someone who resembles that description and usually walks around hugging everyone to keep up that "PLUR" reputation. Their whole rave get-up can even include a fuzzy hood called a "spirit hood" which honestly just makes them look like a life size stuffed animal. To top it off, the girls might also be wearing "fluffies" which are fuzzy knee-high boots that come in a variety of different colors and patterns. This clique usually consists of people who attend raves weekly with their "rave fam (family)". They're really hard to miss and basically impossible to avoid. Be prepared to have at least 4 or 5 conversations with these kandi kids at some point throughout your night...I guess they just like to make new friends since they're all about that PLUR life.
F: PEOPLE WHO CAN ACTUALLY DANCE (shuffle, break dance, etc.) There's more room and they don't have to deal with the insanity of the mosh.
These folks are usually pretty fun to hang out with or to just sit and observe. They may not all know each other but this is a common area where people who don't condone the whole mosh pit crowd, go to dance. Not just jump around and fist pump kind of dance, ACTUALLY dance. It's pretty entertaining and frankly quite impressive if you really watch for awhile. You'll see a few really talented break dancers, but the most common dance amongst ravers is known as "shuffling". It's a common dance term but ravers who know how to shuffle (well) can go the entire show without stopping. It's pretty cool. I tried to learn but I guess I just wasn't born with that kind of rhythm and coordination!
G: COUCH AREA: Meant for people who are too intoxicated to move... Or for those who are too sexually active to be out on the dance floor.
I try to stay away from the walls and corners at a rave for a few different reasons. Couches are strategically placed along the room so that people who are so belligerent to the point where they can't stand up and function like normal human beings, have a place to rest (or obtain privacy). It's actually really embaressing being out with someone who doesn't quite know when enough is enough. Someone in their group is usually stuck next to them babysitting and making sure they don't get kicked out for sleeping or throwing up. The "couch" crew is just full of great people-watching opportunities. Next you have the sexually active group who are probably intoxicated but not to the point where they need a babysitter. If you go to a rave expecting to see people able to contain themselves in this sense considering it is a PUBLIC venue, I'm sorry but you're way out in left field on that one. A rave is basically a jungle. One wild, unpredictable, obscene jungle. Stay away from the couches unless you happen to be one of the unfortunate souls who end up needing the couch for privacy and/or physical support.
H: LED Glovers, Hoopers, Orbital, Poi, etc.
These people don't speak much, they're too engrossed in their LED light flow arts to want to socialize with anybody else unless they're giving that person a light show. Watching this group makes me feel like I'm at a circus. A rave circus. There are a couple people who have LED hula hoops (hoopers) they use to dance with and perform cool tricks with their entire bodies while also associating the hula hoop into their dance moves. It's really cool but they take up A LOT of space. So you might only see one or two hoopers at a time. The glovers are- well they're exactly what they're called. They have LED lights on the finger tips of gloves and use various techniques and movements that correspond with the music to give someone a light show. You will be absolutely hypnotized if you happen to get a decent glover to give you a show. Poi and orbitals are a little harder to explain but they both obviously use LED lights like glovers and hoopers to perform cool shows for people. I've attached links to videos below to see examples of all of these types of LED light flow arts.
- Hula Hooop
Prepare to have your mind blown at 1:50...Lisa Lottie kills it with 6 Phoenix Hoops at once! SpinFX presents international Hooping sensation, Lisa Lottie, wh...
want to buy this glove setup? go here: http://www.emazinglights.com/skittles-glove-set.html for all of your raving accessories, visit http://www.emazinglight...
Performance by Vojta Stolbenko Visual poi to be bought here: http://lighttoys.pyroterra.cz/
Website Link: http://www.ultrapoi.com/collections/ultrapoi-sets/products/ultrapoi-ultrasocks-set Ultrapoi.com presents: Ultra Orbit 11 multicolor LEDs contro...
I: Where the boring people who don't like to dance stand and just post up against the wall.
Not too much to say about this squad. Those who are either too cool to dance or just don't feel like it can be found posted up against a wall of their choice throughout the whole night. The fact that they can stand in the same spot all night is almost as impressive as those who can shuffle all night non-stop. Almost.
So I hope this was informative in one way or another. Most people who go to shows walk in and don't really think about anything else besides partying, but obviously I've been to quite a few raves in my time and have been able to over-analyze stuff like this. Next time you go, think about these cliques and see if your home-base rave venue relates to mine. I'm curious to see how others view the room so feel free to comment below!