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Last week I told you all about how to take care of yourself before and after the rave, but what do you need to know during the night? In this half of your beginner’s guide to raving, I’ll get more in detail about what to wear, bring, and expect... Because I sure made some epic mistakes along the way (*cough cough* wearing jeans and skipping the waterproof makeup *cough*). So as promised, here are some easy ways to look and feel your best, and be more than prepared for your first rave:
What to Wear
It really is true that the rave community is accepting of everyone - so there really isn’t a set standard for what to wear. Just put on something that allows you to express yourself and makes you feel comfortable. Although some things to absolutely not wear are jeans, hoodies, outfits with lots of clips/straps, high heels, or open-toed shoes. Keep in mind, you will need to stay cool and be able to move easily. I stick with a crop top, leggings and my Vans with fun colored laces - it’s easy, cute, and comfortable!
Depending on the crowd, this is a necessity. For a general rule of thumb, heavier sets means less kandi will be traded, but it’s always good to have some on you! This can be in the form of singles, cuffs, necklaces, perlers, or just about anything you can think of! I’ve gotten some of my best memories from kandi trades, and still have them all on display in my room! Head over to KandiBeads.com for some fancy charms and colorful beads that will help make your pieces beautiful; or if you don’t have the time, KandiGear.com has some unique pre-made pieces to wear with confidence.
Get a pair of sneakers that you can dedicate to raves. No sandals or high heels allowed. These shoes are going to take a beating and you will be on your feet for hours, so they MUST be comfortable. Like I said earlier, Vans are my personal favorite. I find them light and comfortable; but some people need more support - try a few things out and see what works best for you!
In all honesty, having your hair and makeup done to perfection isn’t all that important. Once you’re in the venue, it will be dark and people will be focused on the music and they people they are with. I choose to do a little bit of each still, so I can take some pictures beforehand, but there is nothing wrong with going without! Your makeup will be melting by the end of the night anyway. As for hair, I find that half-up hairstyles are the best. It keeps hair out of your face while still looking stylish. Many people with long hair like french braids (and they are SO cute), but trust me on this: they will either wind up hurting you, or the people next to you. Also, keep the glitter out of your hair... One more lesson I learned the hard way.
This means anything that sparkles, glows, or makes people laugh and smile. I’ve seen everything from glitter as highlighter, to glowing beach balls bouncing around the crowds, to blow up dinosaurs head banging in the corner. People will often bring flowtoys in too (hoops, poi, light-up shuffle shoes, etc.). Just do what makes you happy! I tend to stick with glow sticks through my gauges (plus some to share), gems on my face, and LED glasses.
What to Bring
I have yet to see a fanny pack turned away, but they will be searched. It will hold everything you need right in front so you can keep an eye on it, while allowing you to dance the night away. Make sure the one you purchase has a few different pockets though. I now wear a silver holographic one that adds some extra flair to my outfit, but didn’t have one for my first rave... And the difference that $10 investment made was incredible.
This is a given. In order to get in the venue, your ID will be checked. But not everyone knows that some venues only take cash. I bring $20-$40 each time to be safe, but also have my card just in case (as most venues will have an ATM somewhere). This can also come in handy when you need some munchies on your way home.
Earplugs are so, so important, especially if you plan on being right up front. The speakers are going to be turned up all the way, and the slight ringing in your ears for a few hours after the rave (or even hearing loss) will become permanent if you don’t take care of it early.
The last thing you want to be caught with is a dead phone. Make sure you charge it up before you go and have a fully charged portable charger too. With everyone trying to connect to the same wifi or cell tower, it’s going to take a lot more to send a text or post a snap story than you’re used too, so your battery will drain faster.
I’m telling you right now - it is going to get super hot and humid in the venue, and if there isn’t a place to go stand outside for a minute or you don’t want to lose your spot, you will be so thankful to have a fan. Not only will it help you cool off, but you’ll be a favorite among friends and strangers who find themselves overheating as well.
What to Expect
The speakers are going to be LOUD. More than likely, the bass coming from them will shake your body, especially if you’re like me and prefer to be right up front and center. This is why I suggest bringing ear plugs... It may not save your bones, but it sure will save your ears.
The lazers will be constantly moving, flashing and changing colors, but will only really be noticeable if you’re in the back. It is a really incredible thing to watch; but for some people, it is a little too much. So if you plan on hanging out towards the back, consider bringing some sunglasses along.
There will be all sorts of people, outfits, and personalities in the venue. That is in part of what makes the community so beautiful. Leave any judgements you hold at the door and really embrace and uniqueness and spontaneity of the crowd. You will meet so many beautiful people and have a wonderful time this way.
No matter what you need to do, or the size of the venue, there will be a line. This means that as soon as you realize you need to use the bathroom, go - otherwise you’ll be stuck doing a potty dance for 15 or more minutes. The same goes for when you need a drink - go get in that line before you really NEED a drink.
There will be security around the venue, but some groups are better than others. I personally have never had a poor experience or come across a dangerous person, but they do exist. This is exactly why I recommend bringing along a friend and a fanny pack instead of stuffing your pockets. Expect the best, but be prepared.
Congratulations, you’ve pieced together an amazing look, packed everything you needed and then some, and knew exactly what to expect upon walking into the venue! I hope this half of the guide helped you feel genuinely comfortable getting ready for and going to your first rave! I would love to see your looks and hear about your experience in the comments below!