The term ‘Rave’ was originally introduced to the UK around late 1950s. It described the ‘wild bohemian parties’ of the Soho beatnik set. The beatnik set was a media stereotype that specialised in more superficial aspects of the beat generation movement.
In the 1960’s the word ‘rave’ was used by the burgeoning mod youth culture as a way to describe wild parties in general, this then created the term ‘ravers’ for people who were described as party animals.
Along with being an alternative term for partying at garage events in general, the term ‘rave-up’ referred to a part of a song where commonly near the end, the music was played faster, heavier or with an intense solo section.
On the 28th January 1967, an electronic music performance event was held at London’s Roundhouse, titled the “Million Volt Light and Sound Rave”. The event featured the only known public performers of such music, ‘The experimental sound collage’.
British pop culture took a rapid change between 1963 and 1980. The hippie era, 1967 and beyond, made the term fall out of popularity. It’s use during that era would have been perceived as a quaint or an ironic use of bygone slang. The perception of the word changed again in the late 1980s when the term was revived and adopted by a new youth culture, possibly inspired by the use of the term in Jamaica. This wave of psychedelic and electronic dance music, normally acid house and techno appeared in clubs, warehouses and free-parties in the London and Manchester area. These original raves were commonly known as Acid house parties when they went mainstream, attracting thousands of people. In the media, Acid house parties got re-branded as ‘rave parties’ during the summer of 1989 and the name stuck from there on.
In response to raves becoming more popular, British politicians spoke out saying that they would fine anyone hosting an illegal party. As a result of such crackdowns, these often illegal parties were drove to the countryside. The word ‘rave’ then somehow caught on to describe semi-spontaneous weekend parties occurring at various locations.
Throughout the years the term ‘rave’ has gone in and out of popularity; however, it has always related to a mad or out of control party. The legend still lives on, whether at a private rave or festival it’s all about having a good time. Most rave events now include a certain UV or neon atmosphere, where people cover themselves in face paint and use glow sticks, standing out from the rest. If you haven’t attended an event yet, you don’t know what you are missing.