Save the Rave

This is something I will keep from the original site though, it still speaks to me, and the author contacted me to let me know she appreciated it was still up somewhere.

The following editorial comes from The Slant: By Sabrina Steen from Buzz Magazine August 24, 1997

The word rave has been a four-letter word in the underground scene for a long time now, but recently it has become a four-letter word with schools, parents, police and government leaders. Ask anyone in the community what words pop into their minds when they think of the word rave; I’d bet you a bean, they’d say drugs and kids.

I sympathize with the schools and parents who want to protect their children, the police who have to enforce the laws and the government leaders who make these laws, because they have to pretend to care about these issues to get re-elected. When I entered the underground scene in ’94, I stopped caring about their world of 9-to-5 traffic jams, 30-year mortgages and restrictive, unconstitutional laws that serve politics instead of the people. The reason I stopped caring about their world is not because I’m an escapist or a slacker, it’s because I found a beautiful new world within the old one. I had reached a higher consciousness through a new society based on love, acceptance, trust and unity.

The dance scene is our celebration of life, and the music is the evolution of our culture and souls. I wish I could show every person in the world the positive energy in our scene, but a lot of people fear change, and aren’t ready to open up to the counterculture that will bridge us into the next millennium.

As the scene became more mainstream, it was destined to clash with the media. With the recent negative press on events like Usuaya and Fusion ’97, kids overdosing on various drugs, and the use of Roofies [Rohypnol] as a “date-rape” drug, it’s no wonder that the world thinks our scene is filled with a bunch of druggies. If you’ve never been to an underground dance party before, then you can’t possibly know the power and potential that it offers.

The underground scene is the only place in the world where you can see gays and straights, drag queens, blacks and whites, young and old dancing side by side peacefully. You would see these same people massaging each other, loving each other, taking care of one another, and communicating with a silent acceptance of each other. We truly are “one” in this scene; [that’s why] we refer to ourselves as “family”.

I can see how this renaissance in consciousness would scare government leaders. The more we bond together and communicate, the more we will change the things we don’t like in this world. A population that is communicating and thinking is dangerous to a government that is slipping more and more into a police state every day.

This is where I put my foot down. They’re not taking my scene from me. But, I can’t do this alone, I need your help. I propose that we start our own political party (the Underground Party). I will use this magazine as the communications tool to voice our issues. I will also set up booths at parties to register everybody to vote. I will keep data bases on all of our registered voters so that the next time our government officials try to interfere with our scene, we can walk into their offices and slap down a list of names that will vote them out of office. Believe me, that’s a lot more effective than a puny little petition.

Think about why we’re all getting pushed around, and why we haven’t been able to do anything about it. It’s because we’re not organized we have no voice. The people who have a voice are not just the people who vote, but the people who form a political group to vote (like the National Rifle Association or the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Now look at the general age of the people who vote, they’re usually pretty old. No wonder the older population gets its way all the time.

Right now [Orlando Mayor] Glenda Hood and other influential leaders are not concerned with you in the least. They know you work when you have to, party all night and sleep all day. They also know you are as detached as possible from their society and laws. You are not a threat to their political careers, at least not yet. I’ve heard rumors that we’re not only up against government leaders, but also some well-funded brewing companies. They’re putting the pressure on our leaders to put an end to raves. The reasons are obvious: the rave scene doesn’t get started until after 2 a.m. Since the clubs can’t sell alcohol after 2 a.m., nobody at the scene is buying their products. This was not a problem until the scene went mainstream. At that point, everybody stopped going to regular clubs at the regular times.

Have you been to a regular club lately? There’s not a lot of people in them anymore is there? Besides, people in the rave scene are not as interested in alcohol1they have substances that far surpass anything that could come out of a brewery.

I tried to contact a few key club owners for their comments on [Orlando’s proposed] anti-rave [ordinance]. I didn’t get many returned calls, and the ones who did call me back didn’t want to be quoted. This tells me that the club owners are scared of voicing their thoughts, because if they do, the city will hit them with code violation after code violation until they are shut down.

Have you heard about why Fusion ’97 was shut down twice? When I saw [on] the evening news that the second Fusion ’97 would be shut down promptly at 2:30 a.m., I grabbed my camera and notepad to go get the story. I interviewed the promoter, Joe Arbucci. He explained that the first Fusion ’97 was to have been held at the Tampa State Fairgrounds, but due to the massive negative publicity about Usuaya, somebody turned a few political tricks to stop the event from happening.

First of all, the fairground is run by the state. This should have been Joe’s first clue that the event wasn’t going to happen. But Joe, being a fair and honest businessman, didn’t expect the foul play that was to follow.

Joe rented the fairground in January, [and] had one month to secure an event insurance policy or lose the lease. The venue recommended its insurance company. Joe called that company and was told that it would be no problem to insure his event. So he stopped looking for insurance and started working on promoting his party. When it came time to actually insure the event, the company backed out. Joe immediately began a frantic search for insurance. The other companies were unwilling to back him because some anonymous person had called them, [saying] that the event was a big rave with no security team. When Joe proved that he had a staff of at least 32 security gaurds and about 16 police officers, he was finally approved for an insurance policy. Joe had a 30-day minimum to withdraw from his lease without losing his deposit, if he couldn’t secure a policy. The insurance company knew this and cancelled his policy two days after the 30-day minimum had expired. Joe and his partners suffered a $30-40,000 loss after they added up the money they had already spent in printing and distributing flyers and other promotional materials, plus all the deposit money they had just lost.

The insurance company cancelled the policy because it said that Joe had misrepresented the event to it. It claimed that Joe had not told it that the event was a rave, [and that] the fairground had finally told it that the party was a rave. Joe told me that the insurance company knew all along that the event was going to be a rave. Remember, the company had heard it was a rave with no security team, that’s why it wouldn’t insure Joe at first. But when it was proven that the event did, in fact, have security, then Joe was suddenly approved for a policy.

Needless to say, the party didn’t happen. Joe was determined to throw a cool party, so he planned the next one at Tsunami. When the city of Sanford found out about the rave, Mayor Larry A. Dale took actions to shut it down by 2:30 a.m.

Tsunami tried to take the city to court to stop it, but the courts were conveniently booked up for several months, and the case would have sat on a shelf until then. Joe was assured the day of the event by Harry Tyler (Fat Harry Productions) that everything was fine and that the event was a go. Fifteen to 20,000 people were expected to show up for this event. After the evening news blasted the fact that the event would be shut down at 2:30 a.m., the turn-out was dismal. Joe and his partners lost their shirts on these two events. As a result, Joe will not be throwing anymore parties.

Is anyone out there tired of the party politics? Does anyone out there remember when parties were thrown just for fun? I feel like I’m starring in that old movie called Footloose.

Gabriel Chapman (spme of you old schoolers remember him from WUCF-FM 89.9 as the Trance Rabbit) feels that the more they try to destroy our scene, the stronger it will become. He says that British officials tried to crack down on their scene, and it just exploed. He says the British scene is bigger now than it ever was before. “I think as positive as this scene is, only good can come from it. I think a whole renaissance will result from all of this. The people who know what’s up will start throwing smaller, private parties again, and the whole thing will go back underground.”

I also interviewed Electric Skychurch as they were frantically trying to pack down their gear so it wouldn’t be confiscated by the Sanford authorities. They told me about their Right to Dance party that they threw on the lawn of the Los Angeles Federal Building. They beat the system at its own game by pulling permits to protest the state of California, and they pulled a permit to play music. Admission was free to everyone and they had an incredible turn-out.

When I asked what the state’s reaction was to their party, Electric Skychurch’s manager, Kellie Lamb, said- “They searched our bass bins and equipment for bombs1we simply explained to them, ‘This is who we are and this is why we’re here,’ and then we handed them the keys to our stuff. After they’d had their fill of searching through our equipment, they left us alone.”

Electric Skychurch’s James Lamb gave me a quote to live by- “You can make a difference one of two ways. You can vote with your dollars by boycotting companies and products, or you can vote with your actual vote at the elections. Either way you need to come together with all of your votes to make a difference.”

So what about it, Central Florida, are you with me? Will you vote to make a difference and to keep our scene? You and everyone you know can help. Start spreading the word. Share this article with your friends. Photocopy this article and hand it out. Post this article on websites. Recopy it on party flyers. We have a voice, but only if we use it!

About the Author: Sabrina Steen is the publisher and editor of Buzz Magazine, which covers the Central Florida music scene.