Raves have been a popular social activity for decades, although many see it as merely a place to use drugs and dance. The term rave first came about in the 1950s in Britain and it referred to the wild bohemian parties that were taking place at the time. It was briefly revived in the 1960s and 70s, but didn’t truly come back into fashion until the illegal London warehouse party scene in the mid-80s. It is also widely believed that the term rave actually came from Jamaican usage rather than a revival of any previous usage in Britain.
This was also a common term used to describe the music that was being made in the 1960s garage rock and psychedelic bands. The most notable band for this the The Yardbirds, but as early as 1958; Buddy Holly recorded a hit song “Rave On.” While most people today think if loud music, drugs, and parties when they hear the word rave, it was actually a musical term that referred to the crescendo moment close to the end of a song where the music would be played faster, heavier, and with intense elements of controlled feedback. That is actually why they type of music is so present on the rave scene.
Raves, as they are known in the United States, originated mostly from acid house parties featuring electronic music and light and laser shows. The parties allow people to hang out and gather to dance music and sometimes more importantly, to use psychedelic drugs. Some of the types of music most commonly found at a rave are: house, trance, psytrance, techno, dubstep, jungle, drum and bass, gabber, UK hardcore, happy hardcore, hardcore techno, hardstyle, and any other electronic-based music that is accompanied by laser shows, projected images, and the ever popular glow sticks.
In a way, raves have become their own culture and attract a certain type of person. These people come together as a community to socialize, dance, and use drugs. The style of dance is completely free, which attracts a lot of solo dancers.
Substances like marijuana, LSD, MDMA, ketamine, and amphetamine are commonly found at raves, which is why there are such negative connotations associated with the word. There have actually been many groups formed throughout the US to address and fight against drug use at raves because they feel it is not and was never the main force behind the party. Whether or not these groups will have success still remains to be seen.