When I first started raving in my early teens, drug use was very, very common. The scene has changed a lot since then but that same trend is very much still alive. This past month I have been breaking a trend of drinking before shows and it’s been absolutely amazing. I have attended three Above & Beyond shows in the month of March: New Orleans, Missoula, and Tacoma. While on the road in New Orleans, the group I was with decided to enjoy the show completely sober, and it was one of the best decisions I could make. I still remember every single moment from that show and every subsequent show after that. Sober raving is even becoming a very popular exercise fad.
I am not suggesting that everyone go completely sober from here on out. I am merely suggesting that you give it a shot. You might find that you actually like it. Besides, isn’t it supposed to be about the music anyways?
This is important because we have a responsibility to our scene, and at times, the scene can get pretty hard to look at from an outsider’s perspective. As a preface, this is only a reflection of my personal experience. While at the show in Missoula, I had the opportunity to bring my twin sister to her first Above and Beyond experience. I thought that this would be the opportunity to bring my sister into the fold. I thought that if she saw an Above & Beyond show, she could see what I see and hear what I see and hear: sheer beauty.
Unfortunately there was a serious lack of harm reduction at the Wilma Theater. I haven’t been to a venue that was that short on conditioning, and the bottles of water they were selling were approximately 3 or 4 oz. On our way into the venue, we weren’t even searched. This was a recipe for disaster.
My sister and her fiance took a break to get some air and while they were outside, they saw person after person being taken out of the venue, and in one case a person seemed to be experiencing an overdose. A total of seven people were taken out in the five minutes it takes to smoke a cigarette. When my sister came back from her break she told me that she had to leave. It was all too much to look at.
In the morning, we talked about what happened and she said that she really enjoyed the music and the visuals were really cool. Had people not been supposedly overdosing outside the venue, she would have stayed longer. I am not judging anyone who wants to “turn up” for a show. All I am saying is be responsible when you do so and give a sober night a chance.
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