I was talking to an acquaintance this weekend and somehow the subject turned to legal raves. His friend had called him about a week ago because his 15-year-old sister was spotted rolling on ecstasy at a legal rave at the Salt Palace. He told her that if she didn’t tell their mom he would and then told on her. He is worried about her because of her age and all the drug problems in her family.
Raves Then and Now
When I was in high school raves were underground and held in random warehouses. You could buy a ticket and found out last minute the location. This type of rave is far more dangerous as far as overdose and assault because it is so underground. These types of raves are still around in addition to raves that are legal, advertised and heavily promoted.
There is a whole culture around raves, which isn’t really new. Ravers will tell you it is not about the drugs, but about the music and the positive vibe. P.L.U.R. stands for peace love unity and respect and this is a motto of the young ravers.
What a Rave Looks Like
I asked two of the girls I work with about legal raves and this is what they had to say:
What goes on at a legal rave?
“It is really hectic and everyone is half naked with glow sticks everywhere. There were people by the door throwing up. The security guards don’t let you sit down, either you have to be able to stand up or get out because they don’t want anyone to OD. The ages range from 12-50 but most are probably 14-17. It is about P.L.U.R. but you wouldn’t feel that way if you weren’t rolling.” -female, 17
“Music- a lot of not fully dressed girls. Mostly 16 and up but some may be younger. I’ve been to a lot and I go sober but there are a lot of people who aren’t. I’d say like 60-70%. I’ve been a lot, I go because I like techno, I am a big fan.” –female, 16
Why do you think kids go to raves?
“For fun and it is where you do ecstasy.” -female, 17
“The DJs and music, some of my friends go to hook up.”-female, 16
Would you want one of your younger siblings to go to one of these raves?
“No, they aren’t safe, it is a bad environment.”-female, 17
“I wouldn’t have a problem if I could pick them up. My mom doesn’t have a problem with me going and she picks me up. I guess I would have a little bit of a problem with her seeing some of the weird people who are drugged out.”-female, 16
It is a good thing if your kids ask your permission to go to a rave as many kids sneak out. Though these events may be safer than underground raves, I believe the same concerns of overdose and assault still exist. Parenting a teenager is about giving them some freedoms to make mistakes and some boundaries to protect them from not reaching their full potential. However, this is a time you may want to say no.
Raves: Definition and History