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Raves, all-night dance parties often held in secret locations, have come to be identified with youth of the 1990s and 2000s in much the same way that the love-ins of hippies (see entry under 1960s—The Way We Lived in volume 4) were identified with youth of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Although police, parents, and the media tend to focus on the drugs and sex that are often freely available at raves, ravers defend their gatherings as safe and loving spaces where they can be accepted for who they are while immersed in the driving beat of electronic music.

The rave scene began in Britain in the late 1980s. The dance parties soon spread among youth around the world, arriving in the United States in 1990. Early raves were traditionally onetime events in garages and warehouses, loosely organized without official permits or media advertising. News of a rave was spread by word of mouth and by handmade flyers. This underground status drew many rebellious young people to the rave scene. By 2000, however, raves had become more legitimate, as nightclubs such as Twylo in New York began to create a rave atmosphere. Those too young to enter the nightclubs, however, continued to find the independent raves the best place to party.

The primary elements of rave culture are sex, drugs, and music. Drugs, from the hallucinogenic LSD and Ecstasy (see entry under 1990s—The Way We Lived in volume 5), to marijuana (see entry under 1960s—The Way We Lived in volume 4), are often available for sale at raves. The widespread drug use at raves has led some to nickname ravers "techno-hippies." Ravers defend raves as safe places for experimentation, but there have been deaths and overdoses at raves, fueling parental opposition to the parties. Open sexuality at raves has also drawn media attention. In the strobe-lit dark of raves, sexual experimentation of all types is common. The open and

accepting attitude of ravers has drawn many gay and lesbian youth to the rave scene.

Although ravers may appreciate the unlawful atmosphere of their parties, most say that the main attraction of raves is the music, and that the real stars of raves are the deejays, or disc jockeys (see entry under 1950s—Music in volume 3). Raves are almost always characterized by the loud, intense beat of electronic music. The many different types of rave music—with names like "house," "jungle," "garage," and "trance"—are generally lumped under the name "electronica." Rave music is played by musicians like Chemical Brothers, Prodigy, and Moby (1965–).

In 1999 and 2000, several movies documenting rave culture were released, including Groove (2000), Better Living Through Circuitry (2000), Human Traffic (1999), and Rise (1999).

—Tina Gianoulis

For More Information

Denizet-Lewis, Benoit. "Riding the Rave Scene." The Advocate (January 18, 2000): pp. 60–63.

Eliscu, Jenny. "The War on Raves." Rolling Stone (May 24, 2001): pp. 21–23.

Farley, Christopher John. "Rave New World." Time (June 5, 2000): pp. 70–73.

Hoeckel, Summer Forest, Joel T. Jordan, and Jason Jordan. Searching for the Perfect Beat. New York: Watson-Guptill, 1999.

Hyperreal.http://www.hyperreal.org (accessed April 1, 2002).

Reynolds, Simon. Generation Ecstasy: Into the World of Techno and Rave Culture. Boston: Little, Brown, 1998.