What goes on at a legal rave?

dangers of a raveI 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

Ecstasy and Brain Damage

About agnesrobl

I have worked as a case manager for Youth Services for two and a half years. I facilitate an anger management group, a girl’s empowerment and support group and a life skills group that focuses on drug recovery. I also help individual clients work on personal goals.
This entry was posted in Parenting Tips, SLCO, Substance Abuse and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to What goes on at a legal rave?

  1. FocusOnGreat says:

    It really concerns me that they can make a rave like this legal – that security’s only job is to make sure the kids don’t sit down so they don’t overdose. These kids are 14 – 17 years old according to the post; why are these raves; that are so called ‘legal’ happening? Our society today tries so hard to make ‘friends’ with our youth, instead of raising them up with boundaries and guidelines to avoid traps that puts them in the position of substance abuse, etc. This is why youth empowerment is so important in today’s society. I have bookmarked this site and look forward to reading more; despite the fact that it’s upsetting. More of us need to be aware of what’s happening.

  2. Tammy Champo says:

    FocusOnGreat – Great points. Technically, youth need to be at least 16 to go but often ID’s are not being checked and younger youth are attending. Many of the youth we work with that go to the raves are having issues with substance abuse so it definately is a problem that needs to be looked at. Thanks for your insight.

  3. FocusOnGreat says:

    It is a problem when our society thinks its okay, first of all, to let underage kids in to a party where they KNOW there will be alcohol, and drugs. Second, to not bother checking ID’s. It makes me think that our society has become apathetic. It’s very sad. I actually posted my own blog about this because this topic really got me fired up today. I thank you for your insight and I will continue to look into this.

  4. Joe says:

    As an avid rave goer, I can vouch for this blog entry… this is indeed what a rave is like. Although some of you might look down at these sorts of events, I think there should be MORE legal raves where at least some safety is insured (at least compared to underground dance parties.) Also, they should be at least 19+ and ID checking should be strictly enforced. I do understand why parents would be concerned. I definitely see the dangers of teen substance abuse, but this shouldn’t ruin the fun for “adults” (age of adulthood is debatable) who are old enough to make their own decisions. Keep these parties going, but keep them as safe and as far away from young impressionable teens as possible.

    • Tammy Champo says:

      Joe thanks for the insiders point of view. At least legal raves are more safe than underground raves but yes I do agree the ID checking should be better enforced and perhaps is not the best place for a teen to be.

  5. Austin Hatch says:

    ok so first off im annoyed by the repressentation males versus females in your quotes and second off id like to ask why the hell should there even be a possibility of substance abuse at a LEGAL rave?? if its legal then security should make sure that ppl aint getting doped out. just saying. also the fact that they DONT let ppl rest is really bad because if you are maxed out on ectasy or some other substance if you dont get rest you can pass out and sometimes just die from heat exaustion!!! also i am 15 and imma hold a rave sooner or later at my church, my mom is totally cool with it as long as its legal and nothing bad goes down. instead of ectasy immasell energy drinks, good replacement i would think. i LOVE techno and if people can play all that nasty rap/hip hop music why cant i enjoy my techno anyway i want (obviously with the exception of drugs) Raves are for techno lovers and that will be the only reason id ever attend one. people are always like Raves are about sex and drugs and it just annoys me.

    • Tammy Champo says:

      Austin, good insights. The quotes are based on youth we are currently working with who were willing to provide insight; we’d be happy to include other youth’s views such as yourself. I think a rave minus the drugs at your church is a great idea to provide a safe place for youth and adults to enjoy techno without the illegal substances. Keep us posted and let us know how it goes!

  6. 17isthelife says:

    You will never understand what a rave is until you go. Words cannot explain it.

  7. I agree all the way. Hopefully more people can read this we need to be aware this is going on, especially parents.

    • Tammy Champo says:

      Thanks for your insight Sarah! One of our goals by posting articles like this one is to educate parents about issues like raves – we appreciate your help spreading the word.

  8. fannie johnson says:

    my soon to be 15 yr old son and his friends are trying to convince me that attending RAVES is okay… he has already been to a couple … without my knowledge. .. he was only 14.. his friends are 16-18.. in his high school rotc program.. and they attend church too.. they are trying to convince me that it is safe.. but I dont know if thats the case been reading alot on the internet sites and everyone is saying there is drugs, and sex.. and why do the girls have to be half naked.. ? I understand these kids like the lights and the techno music.. but isnt there any SAFE raves.. where there are not sexy clothes and substance abuse and for the teens only cuz that is the other thing I have a problem with is if its 16 and up.. that means there are all these adults mixed in with teens who can be manipulated and taken advantage of , meaning we know how gullible teens who want to fit in can be… I really need to hear from other parents if they would allow there teens to go with strict guidelines or simply say … WHEN YOU ARE 18 YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU WANT BUT AS LONG AS I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR YOU … ITS NOT ALLOWED.. help

    • Tammy Champo says:

      Fannie – thank you for your thoughts and insight. I have heard of some “raves” being held at churches but they were poorly attended and didn’t last long. Great question for other parents – let’s see if we can get more responses.

      • fannie johnson says:

        thanks … I sure hope so… this is all new to me… as far as my beliefs in the past what a rave was.. but my son is trying to convince me that raves are legit now..not like the old days..

  9. agnesrobl says:

    Just a little additional feedback. We have a substance abuse program here and all the kids in it know when these raves are and often will not pass a drug test if they go. I have also heard from other kids of very young girls going wearing little clothing and then getting sexually assaulted. I know that being a parent of a teen involves negotiation but personally I would say no or try to negotiate something else in its place. Though I am sure there are teens that go and dont use I have seen quite a few kids in my last 5 years of working here that frequent these and are on the path to serious drug addiction.

    • Connor says:

      As someone who attends “legal” raves about 2-3 times a month I would like to give my insight. Legal raves are not as bad as this post makes them out to be, sure there are people on drugs but I’ve seen Jack Johnson twice and there are soo many people smoking weed there. The statement about security not letting you sit down is actually false. It really depends on the venue, 95% of the raves I’ve been to I’ve seen ppl sitting EVERYWHERE, that’s actually how you meet ppl, lol. Alot of legal raves have a strong police presence inside and outside. I understand the worry of drugs and half naked girls but honestly they wear less at the beach. When your dancing in the middle of hundreds of people it gets HOT, that is the main reason for the “lack” of clothing. If your concerned about your kids there then the simple answer to the problem is BE THERE TRANSPORTATION. That way you know they’re not driving with anyone under the influence and you also get to see first hand if they are doing drugs there. The concern about underage drinking at Legal raves shouldn’t be too big of a concern because they ID everyone and alot of venues even have Alcohol Compliance Officers going through the crowds checking IDs. I suggest you trust your kids going to Legal raves until you have a reason not to; because if they really want to go there with their friends they most likely will. Be there transportation and pay attention to them and you will surely know if their being responsible or not and if they aren’t then you should put an end to it. Just some friendly insight:)

      • Tammy Champo says:

        Connor – thanks for your insight. Any time we can encourage parents to be more involved with their kids and know where they are and who they are with, is always a positive.

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