Raves in General
What is a Rave?
Well, this discussion could be quite heated in some forums so I will handle this carefully! In reality what a rave is can only be defined by your own experiences. According to my trusty Macquarie Concise Dictionary (Third Edition) which actually lists a rave party reference, I found a few definitions which may describe a rave,
4. Colloquial to act boisterously or enthusiastically (i.e. DJ Menis, Frantik)
5. to utter as if in madness (i.e. Adam Brown, Assassin, Hutcho)
7. extravagantly enthusiastic praise (i.e. anytime Kenny Ken steps up)
8. Colloquial a wild or hectic party or the like (i.e. need I say?)
and finally, yes it is in there:
9. Also, rave party. an entertainment event, generally lasting throughout the night, at which patrons dance to loud music in a large empty space (typically a warehouse or an outdoor clearing), and commonly consume amphetamines. -adj.
Apart from the definitions I would find it hard to describe everything a Rave stands for to me, so the best thing to do would be to go to one and then explain it to yourself (experience is the best knowledge and all that bollocks).
Where did raves come from?
It seems that the culture is the offshoot of the 80's House era. As often is the case an era's following will rebel against it's own principles so as to preserve it's individuality in more than one way. For instance by 1986 cocaine was the drug of choice in the club scene. Ecstasy slowly eased it's way into a six-foot tall, bullet proof and arrogant cocaine scene charging them with cuddly, loving and empathising urges. The music was gradually changing too with the grindy house seemingly following the drug cultures new found "happy" personality. In the very late 80's and early 90's this culture found themselves listening to a new style "Happy Hardcore" slowly evolving over the airwaves of pirate radio stations like KISS 94FM. The mysterious Spanish island of Ibiza started putting on events called "Raves" and quickly the term spread back to the UK and throughout Europe and the World. As did the culture which quickly snapped up DJ's from many cultures (i.e. Hip Hop, Acid, House) thus helping the rave scene develop into many more styles.
Why do raves have a bad name?
According to us? Nothing. Usually in anything condemnation spawns from lack of knowledge. It's the old saying that people are scared of what they don't know about. Unfortunately in this world, the people who make our laws, run our media and enforce law are too old to understand raves. Heck when they were our age their parents couldn't understand why they didn't get a haircut with short back and sides! Remember also that these were the people that bought "mullet cuts" into existence. Here's some things other people have said.
Media: Now the media are one of the most schizophrenic bunch around, one minute they're condemning the culture, the next thing they're all interested. People like Yvonne Thompson of the Rockingham Weekend Courier have written ignorant, un-researched and amateur reports on the rave scene (like this one on Teknoscape) which certainly doesn't help it's image.
Local Councils: According to the City of Stirling, if a rave party were to be held in their shire, the main concerns would be of property damage i.e. vandalism, tagging. Litter, noise and wildlife(?) were among the other concerns 'the guy on the phone' discussed.
Police: Truly, I don't really give a flog what they think but I thought it would be interesting for some. The local Bill explained to me that above all, it is a boiling pot for all types of drugs, now I can and can't agree with him on that one, a very grey area if you ask me. I do not deny the fact of drugs being a part of rave culture but all types? boiling pot? hmm. He would not respond when approached with the "what about alcohol problems in other nightlife haunts" tactics so I asked if that was all, "the list goes on maaate, disorderly conduct, noise, people roaming suburbs in groups at night, maaate it's concentrated trouble and your best steering away from them". Thanks for the advice "maaate".