When most people look at a rave, they see what is there, and generally not all of it. But when I look at a rave, I see what is missing.
We have small groups of friends that kind of all know each other. But we could have something else. We could have a tribe.
If you go to raves regularly, you probably have a group of friends who you see five or fifty times a year. It’s usually in a loud room with no lights. Sometimes you’re confused how you got there. But after the show is over, you say goodbye and head your separate ways. Something is missing.
What is missing is a way for ravers to recognize each other outside of clubs and festivals.
What is missing is a way for us to connect and find ways to help each other in a meaningful way.
To show you what I mean, I have to take you to church.
For centuries, churches created communal bonds between people. Every Sunday you got together with the same group and went through the same rituals. You listened together, you were bored together. Maybe you sang in the choir with all the other kids your age. As church finished for the day, you had a few moments to get to know fellow attendees a little bit better. Over time, which church you attended became part of your identity.
If someone in the congregation had trouble in their marriage, they had a large group of people with more life experience to turn to for advice. If someone wasn’t sure whether to attend the local college or try the one in the next state over, it was likely somebody knew somebody who could give their review. A man needs a part for his truck; another man happens to have that exact piece to spare. The effect multiplies and compounds over time and between several churches.
When someone you have bonded with has a problem, you feel more inclined to help. But in the past, there were entire groups of people waiting to help you. Think about how Greek alumni are leveraged by their younger brothers and sisters to find jobs. This assistance often changes the course of a person’s life, and it relies completely on the strong bonds between frat or sorority members. In other words, identity.
There is potential in the rave community to form these kinds of bonds. Consider it an opportunity to have an enormous extended family that you really like.
Insomniac Events is already bringing people together outside of raves through volunteering. But I see it having potential to be way bigger.
Suppose your city’s local promoter decided to host monthly (ish) volunteering events based around something the rave scene cares about. It could be homelessness, youth unemployment*, or animal care. Work should be based around cooperation wherever possible. I did say “work”, but working feels different when it’s something you chose to do instead of something you had to do.
If you aren’t already totally onboard with this idea, remember that humans are wired to feel good when they help others. Over time, the good feelings will become associated with everyone who is showing up to help.
Organizers could encourage participants to bring their friends to the next event and post pictures to induce FOMO. Eventually, people sitting on the fence would fold and come join. (If you didn’t notice, that’s part of how promoters get you to buy rave tickets over and over.)
This is just one way the rave community could bring itself together outside of music events. I see glovers forming meetup groups all the time. Producers seem to fail in this regard, being mostly concerned with their own successes. But what I want here is for people to benefit from forming a tighter knit community. In that situation, everyone wins.
Imagine the warmth you feel when you see someone from a past event at a festival hundreds of miles away and months after. Now imagine that feeling with everyone you see.
That’s a tribe.