I’m not really the kind of person you’d expect to hear has gone to a rave. I don’t usually make it past the third pub when on a crawl, and the only house or trance music I listen to is whatever Sam Dumigan has downloaded in his infinite music wisdom onto my laptop without telling me.
So when my workaway host told me we were heading out to a “Free Party” yesterday- I had no idea what to expect. First of all, I needed an explanation as to what a “free party” meant. (jsyk, turns out it says it on the tin.). I couldn’t decide what to wear; having forgotten my UV face paint, I was at a bit of a loss. Then I didn’t know what to bring.
I’m almost certainly the only person at the rave who packed a book (for the journey!), a 12-pack of jam tarts and a pair of pyjamas. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
Getting to the rave was a long and confusing process. As they’re not strictly speaking entirely 100% legal (not even a little bit); the address wasn’t exactly exhibited on a banner being flown around Acquitaine for all to see. Instead, we were told to drive to a town, then call a number, then drive to another town. Repeat this a few times, often driving back to the place you’ve just been sent from. The process wasn’t in the slightest bit frustrating, which surprised us, because you’d expect that this would have us tearing our hair out in clumps. Then, eventually, find a man standing at the corner of a road who tells you to drive down the centre of a field, and voila.
The woods were being set up for the nights events when we arrived- speakers being plugged into trees, the STD info stand lining up their information leaflets, artwork being strategically draped from more trees. It was all very interesting to watch, so Anna and I parked ourself on a sawn log and chatted as we watched the night unfold.
We were clearly too early at 8pm. By eleven, people had only just started to arrive, though the music had been thundering on since we’d got there. This didn’t faze us, though, having settled quite cosily onto our log and well on our way through a five litre box of red wine.
Very much enjoying our terrible wine and hilarious conversations, neither of us had noticed that the rave had started to pick up. The music was a thumping bass mixed up with other noises- and I can’t really think of a more complimentary way of describing it accurately so I think I’ll leave it at that.
Not that my opinion affected the rest of the rave-goers enjoyment of the music. They were having a cracking time- so much so that they were in a weird zombie like state, worshipping the piled up speakers by vaguely shaking themselves around whilst stood directly facing them, like an inanimate dance partner. Most of their eyes were glazed over, lending the name “Trance” to the genre with a beautiful accuracy. Perhaps I’d missed something about the musics enchanting ability, or perhaps it was something to do with all the drugs these people were evidently on. Either way.
Not wanting to miss out, I had a bash at copying the favoured dance moves, though it was more like a half-hearted solo mosh pit, jutting around within a small space, so gave that up pretty quickly. There was one guy who chose instead to impersonate swimming all night. It’s quite likely he was on drugs, come to think of it.
After several hours of staring at speakers barking out deep bass at us, surrounded by dreadlocked headbanging and brazen drug deals, getting chatting to some Italian racists, and spilling enitre bottles of beer down ourselves, myself and Anna trunched up to the car to fix ourselves a cheese sandwich and to listen to some Michael Jackson on the radio.
True to form, I fell asleep at around 3am, tucked into a sleeping bag in the back of the car. The amalgamated bass’of the two separate dancefloors didn’t wake me, the hundreds of veteran-rave goers balancing beer bottles on the bonnet while they rolled joints didn’t wake me, and the general din crowds of people having-it-large didn’t wake me.
When I did get up- a solid eight hours sleep under my belt- the party hadn’t stopped. Wandering around, the crowds had thinned out but were still partying hard. There was a fine mist of drug and dance sweats hovering, and the open air loo system meant you had to watch where you were going in case you accidentally trod in a poo that you couldn’t tell whether its origin had been from a dog or an actual human.
I think the regulars were as surprised as I was to find myself there. Clearly, I wasn’t the usual clientèle for an illegal rave in the forest. Apparently it’s unusual to change into a pair of cosy pyjamas before bed. Apparently it’s unusual to go to bed at all. In any case, I can’t say I’m decided on the rave. I had an incredible time, largely due to the wonderful entertainment Anna Finn provided, but I don’t think it’s my scene. Whatever, I probably won’t be invited to another, so it doesn’t matter at all really.