“Eat, sleep, rave, repeat!”
Fatboy Slim summed it up so… simply. You think it sounds easy enough, and then BAM! You’re up at 5am, alone, sharing a hopeless conversation with your best friend’s miniature poodle, while everyone else catches some Zs. My first rave was seven years ago, and since then, you could say I’ve learned plenty. With sleepless nights, missing toenails, angry friends, and everything in between, I’ve come to realize that “raving” really is more than just four words on repeat. It’s fucking awesome, but it can also be quite challenging.
So, how do you conquer your very first rave? Here are 10 tips that should help do the trick.
- BUY A FANNYPACK to store everything you need. Don’t even think about partying until your ID, credit card, and wristband are safely tucked away, and be sure to double-check before leaving for the festival. I once had a friend who left her ID and had to Uber all the way back, missing one of THE greatest sets of the weekend. But hey, who’s counting?
- Make sure that no matter what you do, you always DRESS PROPERLY. Bring a jacket if you need to, and always wear comfortable tennis shoes (that’s right, ladies, I’m talking to you!). Ditch the ankle socks, while you’re at it. Those blisters are bound to happen, and sore feet are the biggest buzzkill.
- Bring a hydration pack, and grab as many water bottles as you can carry. The first step to happy raving is—you guessed it—HYDRATION. Refills are free, so take advantage of them, dummy.
- USE THE RESTROOM. There are at least two essential potty breaks at any given rave. The first happens when you get there. Don’t be that guy who says no and then has to go immediately as you walk into the mainstage. Your friends might go with you, but they won’t want to. The second is your post-rave tinkle. No matter how confident you think you feel, do NOT leave the event without hitting the loo. You’ll be pissed (no pun intended) if you need to hold it, and we’ll be pissed listening to you.
- DESIGNATE A MEETUP SPOT before entering the festival. Something large, distinct, and easy to find is always preferred, like a giant caterpillar or heart-shaped box. If you get lost, go there. And for god’s sake, don’t forget to text your crew!
- Timing is key. If you set up a time to meet, do your friends a solid and BE THERE WHEN YOU SAY YOU’LL BE. Nothing screams “asshole” like the guy who asks you to link up but then forgets and never shows. More importantly, try not to leave at the very end of the last set. You’ll be stuck in hours of traffic, with your friends bitching in the back.
- AVOID ENERGY DRINKS. If you’re like me and absolutely “need” one, buy a vodka Red Bull (or two) at the very beginning. You’ll get the energy you need without that annoying sleepless feeling. Which leads me to my next point…
- Look, when the event ends at 4am and everyone is ready to bail, 3:30 is NOT the time to turn up again. You’re killing the delicate flow of energy that exists between members of the rave fam, and then you’re that dude who’s still awake at 5am, spouting the meaning of life when everyone else is trying to sleep. MAKE GOOD DECISIONS. Don’t try to wake the dead—it ain’t pretty!
- If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past seven years, it’s that everyone shit-shows at one point or another. BRING SNACKS AND EXTRA WATER BOTTLES and leave them in the car; they’ll be SUPER clutch when it comes time to leave. Trash bags are also highly recommended, along with sunglasses, in case it gets too sunny. And keep the music at a decent volume; it’ll help reduce projectile vomiting.
- Finally, HAVE FUN and go fucking wild, but be smart along the way. Ask your rave fam what’s worked for them in the past, and use their wisdom to your advantage. If you see someone looking unwell, check in to make sure everything’s okay. Be kind, spread the PLUR, and make lifelong memories. And remember, there’s so much more to raving than four words on repeat.