A few weeks ago, my friends Gaëtan and Guillaume makes it their mission to take me on board in the evening. On the programme: techno from midnight to noon, at a venue kept secret until the last minute, with more people attending than at a football match. A rave in the rules of the art, all in all…
Behind a small door on the street, we discover a courtyard overlooking a huge underground garage. Partygoers sit on the floor or on old car seats, glass and joints in hand, while others wait peacefully in the endless line for the toilets.
Red lights, shining like the burning fire of a divine hell, gush from the slope leading to the heart of the festivities. In less time than it takes to say it, we hurtle it down with great strides. Barely an hour later, my body is already dancing to the rhythm of MDMA, attracting the one who will become my boyfriend for the evening.
Gathering, music, drugs and free love… Are ravers modern hippies?
From Peace & Love to PLUR
Born in the Internet age, PLUR is an acronym for the philosophy of rave culture. Four letters for Peace, Love, Union and Respect… actually close to the Janis Joplin way of life. Like the community of the 60’s, the party-goers advocate openness: all origins, genders and sexualities coexist in harmony.
Their undeniable common taste for drugs is one of the main arguments among their detractors, which tend to reduce them to the status of drug addicts without a future, or even delinquents. That said, it is also the place given to music in each of these movements that brings them so close. Dance and high necessarily go hand in hand, feed each other so that the experience succeeds.
Finally, the Woodstock festival is a bit like the father of all raves…
A matter of ecstasy
While both groups have nothing against substances, they approach them with different intentions. LSD and other Flower Power psychotropics are conducive to introspection, as a quest for knowledge of oneself and others, doped with mystical precepts fresh from India. Moreover, against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, the hippies politicize themselves and demonstrate. Although harmless, their lifestyle nonetheless remains a kind of ideological contestation.
Although tolerant, the raver is less engaged. Even if the ecstasy fills with love and desire for others, it mostly pushes one to run wild on the dance floor for hours… before returning to the office the following Monday. Rather than ecstasy, he seeks a catharsis. His primary objective? Just partying. •
This article is part of the #9 – Make love, not war? series.
(Cover photo credits: JUICE Online)