“Rave was probably the last subculture before the deluge of social media which, in promoting individualism and celebrity, has rather overwhelmed the sort of face to face, group, and street based cultures; where young people could explore their identities while remaining rooted in place, class and generationally generated forms of music, dress and social activity. And of course, now we are nostalgic about this loss of youthful energy.
We mourn the disappearance of the critical voices that were found. We ask – why do the young put up with the shit we are now living through? The unemployment, the driving down of wages, the repressive social security system, an educational system that destroys creativity? It is this context of austerity that the demise of youthful revolt is mourned.
The music was dance music and participative with no real stars. You danced ’till you dropped. The venues and the broader rave culture – the impromptu parties and events – provided a respite from sectarianism, a safe place to meet in a society scarred by violence.
The young people who participated contracted into this utopian place. As with a lot of youth cultures, the energy came from the margins and rave shrunk the distance between metropolis and periphery. Musical styles and favoured DJs travelled fast. What was heard in Amsterdam one week could be heard in Belfast weeks later. And most importantly, it was yours – your music, your dance, your body, your friends – experienced uniquely.”