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Whether you love them or hate them, totems have become a huge part of today’s festival scene. Not only do they make it SO much easier to locate your rave fam, but they also spread positive messages, make people laugh, and allow groups or individuals to express who they are.
When it comes to making totems, there really are no rules (aside from the ones set by the venue, so it would be worth your time to read those before spending hours on this project), so feel free to let your creativity loose.
After looking through some of these top-notch totems for inspiration, check out some totem-making basics and get started on your very own!
Spreading the positive vibes:
(Image via Insomniac)
This totem throws it back to the roots of raving, by sharing the message of PLUR. With lots of neon colors and a unique shape, it’s sure to stand out from the crowd. It’s even double sided, so no matter where you are, you can see that PLUR is alive and well. To top it off, the girl holding it is bubbling over with happiness, so how can you not feel some positive vibes too?
This totem is the good sign you didn’t know you needed. If you’re already happy and having a good night, go ahead and give this guy a high five and keep the night grooving. But imagine that you’ve lost your rave fam, are having a bad trip, or ran into some bad vibes... Seeing this could give you that little happy boost that gets you through the night.
(Image via Insomniac)
This totem might just be my favorite in this section... “If you’re lonely, dance with us.” This one is really for the ravers that may not have their own rave fam, or head to festivals alone just to enjoy the experience, and in hopes to make new friends. Imagine the people you’ll meet gathered around this sign; it’s all love and acceptance here.
If you’re like this girl and travel over 2500 miles for a festival weekend, to see your favorite DJ, and meet up with old friends... chances are you want others to know. In this case, she’s here in hopes to “push the button” (some artists allow fans to start the next song in a set, generally speaking). So why not put it on your totem? Surely that DJ will see it in the crowd!
What those “lasers” do:
There are plenty of things that will cause those bug-eyes over festival weekend... For this guy, it’s the rave booty. It won’t take long before you realize how worshipped the “rave booty” can be; with perlers made dedicated to it, pictures of people praying next to it, and totems made so the whole crowd knows how great rave booty really is.
I’m sure we all remember this Spongebob scene, but he took it to another level and made all four characters into this totem. Take it any way you will, whether it be experiencing your first show, getting lost in the lasers time and time again, or... you know... party favors... Simply put, we’ve all been here, and now the Spongebob crew is here to share that moment.
Oh Stewie, another cartoon character representing the rave scene. I’m fairly certain we all know how this is supposed to be interpreted. The bug-eyes, the *missing* tie-dye shirt, the look of fear... A pretty accurate representation of the trip back to your car, hotel, or campsite after a wild night. Hopefully he isn’t feeling it in the morning.
Laugh a little:
This totem represents exactly what we’re leaving behind on rave night/weekends. Adulthood? What is that? I’m not sure, and I know my bank account sure won’t either after all this. Take advantage of it and let loose, before you’re back to that 9 to 5 with those black dress pants. But don’t worry, work hard and you’ll have your chance to be free once again.
It's the truth:
How many times have you told someone you listen to EDM, and enjoy going to raves and festivals, only to get “the look” of judgement and confusion. It’s true, they don’t want us to rave, and it’s all thanks to stereotypes. Educate them a little about what we’re really about, and soon they’ll be with us under the electric sky.
Be a little extra:
And finally, we’ve got a light up totem of Rick. This is what really makes your totem stand out from the rest. Not only have all heard the phrase “let’s get schwifty”, but once the sun sets, the whole crowd will be able to see his wild hair in the mess of other totems and lasers. It’s a sure fire way for your rave fam to be able to find you during the night.
So what do you NEED to know before making your own totem?
First of all, make sure it will have a sturdy base - this can be anything from PVC pipe, to a flagpole, to a wooden dowel; BUT you will find a telescoping pole to be the most convenient. It makes the totem much easier to pack/travel with, as it will shrink down to just a couple feet tall!
Secondly, totem heads can be made from just about anything. Most commonly, you’ll see a home-made poster, and it’s important to make sure the poster is sturdy too. Head over to your local craft store for some foam board or poster-board to attach the poster to!
Finally, you’ll want your totem to stand out from the crowd. With so many totems running around the festivals, this will be tricky. But some ideas to get you started include attaching LED lights to the totem, neon colors, making the totem 3D, glitter (need I say more?), or sharing a positive/inclusive message for ravers everywhere to see!
So go forth and create! I’m excited to see what crazy, colorful, and unique totems you come up with!
With peace, love, unity, and respect,