Rave is the new wave

By Yayona Bangura

There’s a place where you can go to escape. A whole new world where you can be anyone or anything you want for a night with no judgments.

Surrounded by colorful flashing lights and blaring electric dance music, everyone waits for the beat to drop. When it does, the sea of thousands of people around you go wild as confetti and smoke shoot out of stage cannons and rain down upon you as you lose yourself to the music.

This is raving, an activity that seems to have ignited a spark in Kean University students.

“There are a good handful of people at Kean who rave, about 50 to 150 people,” says Kean student Shawn Bragg. “It’s fun seeing people from Kean at raves because they’re people you go to school with. They understand you and don’t judge you.”

Sean was introduced to raving a couple months back after watching rave videos on social networks. He was convinced by friends to attend his first event on his twentieth birthday.

“It was pretty awesome,” said Bragg. “It was out of my comfort zone at first, but it was very fun with lots of dancing and positive energy.”

A rave can simply be described as a full-blown dance party that can last for hours or even days at a time. The central theme, PLUR, is an acronym for peace, love, unity and respect among ravers. Most raves include confetti cannons, foam, laser light shows or paint and are very festive and colorful.

Noted DJs from all over the world play their sets at raves across the country, from Steve Aoki and Hardwell to Nicky Romero and Avicii. Electronic music’s broad genre includes different types of dance music such as house, techno, dubstep and trance.

Many ravers wear loose, light clothing in order to keep cool while dancing. Some go all out in themed Halloween costumes like sexy versions of television characters with furry boot sleeves and metallic bikinis.

“I see tutus, wigs, togas and sometimes shirtless people, in just bras and booty shorts,” said Bragg. “I wear a t-shirt and khaki shorts to keep it simple.”

People travel from all over the world to attend the biggest raves, such as Tomorrowland in Georgia, the Ultra Music Festival in Miami and the Electric Daisy Carnivals in both Las Vegas and New Jersey.

While these bigger raves last over a whole weekend and can hold 50,000 to 60,000 attendees, smaller, more local raves like Barstool and Sayreville’s Hyperglow last several hours and hold about 3,000 people.

“I’ve met the greatest people around the world—people from Florida, Connecticut, the Netherlands and even Australia,” said Kean student Michael Lao, who has been to over 50 raves. “I’ve brought people who don’t like EDM to raves and they’ve become obsessed with the culture.”

Kean also held its own paint party last year and recently held a Kean Glo event presented by K.U.G.A.R., Kean’s Gay Alliance Reformation.

“It feels like nothing else matters but the fun and positive moment. I’m in a different world for a few hours,” said Kean student Ralph Papillon, who prepares for raves by jamming out to the sets of anticipated performers.

One thing that can be taken away from raving is the very important theme of freedom of expression.

Raving unites the masses and allows people of all backgrounds, races, creeds and sexual orientations to be break out, be free and enjoy themselves as much as possible.

“You just live your life to the fullest,” Bragg said. “Live like it’s your last night, but it’s never your last night.”

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