I've been flirting with the rave scene since my early jr. high days. They weren't really called raves then, but we didn't care. We just wanted to dance.
Who knew they'd become such a hit.
When I got here to LA, one of the first big scandals was the big desert rave where people nearly died. Harcopy had a field day and the local news wouldn't let go until something else came up. I didn't listen, I didn't really care. I was more impressed with house music LA style and Howard Stern. Well, Howard got old quick and something about house just wasn't satisfying me.
Finally, I stumbled accross techno station on real audio and fell in love. Typically heard in background music and car commercials, techno music has a variety of flavors like any other style (of which House is the most tertiary). But the rave scene plays (ususally) only the best stuff mixed together by DJ's into one, long, eight to sixty hour song.
So, what's a rave? It's a gathering of people, usually looking to dance. Some people take psychoactive drugs to enhance the experience, to open themselves up in this safe setting, or to experience new things. Not all ravers take drugs, not all parties are focused for that effect. Read the raver manifesto, it covers things pretty well.
The rave itself is either indoors or outdoors. I prefer the latter in that they have all the best features of a rainbow gathering plus the music that I love. When the stacks aren't bumping, you can usually find a few drummers willing to jam for a good long while. Plus the promotors take it on pride to find new an beautiful locations that have some of the most breathtaking scenes imaginable. The images on this page were taken at SoCal raves.
In short, though, raves are about freedom. We gather together to create a safe environment where we can be ourselves, live, love and laugh. We don't want to hurt anyone, and when the party runs it's course, everyone leaves safely. The only time parties usually get unsafe is when officials interfere and either force people to drive home when they're not ready, or actually introduce violence into the event.