In the interest of imparting some ancient wisdom, and in light of some very recent events… we all need to have a “come to Jesus meeting” about PLUR. I hope you are ready because Church is in session. I’m going to try to spare you the stories of “in my day we walked to raves 20 miles in the snow, barefoot, and all uphill.” We literally didn’t do that. But we did have map-points, drove out to the middle of nowhere, and looked for the glowsticks or the sound of banging house, techno, drum n bass, or trance music blaring from speakers. Those were pretty much the genres we had. We all prayed paying our minimal $10 to $20 that the party we just drove hours to wouldn’t get shut down because electronic music and the culture behind it was practically illegal.
As misfits, we had a sense of unity and love for each other. You see, when you look at any scene, you will notice it goes in waves. You kids today have no idea how lucky you have it. If you are interested in continuing to adopt our ideals, then allow me to explain the position of PLUR and Politics to you. Consider this a journey. One we will take together. Then please do pass it on, because “each one teach one” is the new way to impart “do unto others.” New school, and old school, we all could use a refresher course.
Certainly, trends come and go in this industry. I’m proud of my raver heritage. My early years were spent in dark warehouses, where we were lucky enough to get one major headliner, and even then we rarely knew what the DJ looked like. There was no special track “ID’s” because everything seemed new. There was no Soundcloud, no Mixcloud, no YouTube. We crate-dug for gems. There was no production value. No one stood in front of the DJ taking videos, and selfies. There were no pricey ticket sales, nor fireworks, nor lineups that made you want to sacrifice your first born to afford to attend. It was about attending something fresh, new, unique, and unifying. It’s no secret that old school party kids are numerous, opinionated, and perhaps slightly jaded. It isn’t quite our fault. We have just witnessed so much.
My fellow compatriates in Indiana lived through the infamous Rave Act and the shutdown of any electronic music event within moderate driving distance. We earned our stripes. We helped each other. We created a sense of community through the chaos. I personally have seen the rise and fall, and epic rise again of Trance, the necessary use of multiple subgenres to explain a specific style (still learning these), the introduction of Dubstep which still gives me a viscerally negative physical reaction that I will probably never shake, and the wave of new party kids who had the world at their feet in terms of opportunity.
I’ve often wondered if it is our fault, we took our stance on PLUR so seriously that we passed it down, but then expected it to be passed down in much the same way it was to us. Remember the grade school game of telephone? Eventually, this concept has become so watered down in the crossfires of the EDM blowup. Instead of a lifestyle, it became a handshake.
Corporations took over events along with promoters and production companies. The festival world was created, and as incredible, unique, and massive that it is now, I understand how many of you can forget how far we came because it happened so quickly. If you had asked any of my friends if we felt electronic music would go mainstream, you would have been laughed at wholeheartedly. Pop stars were borrowing it, but no one could see its potential value mainstream. I’m happy to be proven wrong, although I need you to know where it came from. You, the one who imbibed a bit too much at the event to even know what planet you are on, let alone what DJ or genre you are listening to. I’m concerned about you because you have no rave mom in sight. You, who wants to use PLUR as a means of financial compensation so that you can ride your wave of festival freedom, but why then make fun of the kid who made a “go fund me” to do basically the same thing? I’m torn between being impressed by your entrepreneurial nature or disgusted by it because to me, it seems about the same… one is just more honest.
So what actually is PLUR? PLUR stands for Pretty Little Underaged Ravers. I’m kidding. PLUR stands for Peace Love Unity and Respect. You can say PLUR all you want, but you can’t just say PLUR at the event while you are “feeling a sort of way.” It isn’t about that. It is literally our version of the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It was our way of dealing with modern theology on our own terms. Even Jesus would be proud, and I’m sure he himself would have enjoyed the lasers.
So here is your refresher course, or if you are just hearing this for the first time… take notes.
P: Peace. Show peace in yourself, towards your fellow man, and towards the world. Then hopefully one day we won’t have malice to be concerned about in politics. Forgive that person who hurt your feelings, or with whom you had a misunderstanding. Have a chat about how you are feeling. Agree to disagree. Life is short. Carrying negativity creates more than just a negative outlook on life, it has even been shown to create health problems. Take care of yourself. Take care of others.
L: Love. Showing your love to those you meet who may or may not become part of your own personal life journey. Love shouldn’t have conditions. It is just love. Give as much love as possible, not only to those who deserve it but also to those who may need it the most. Support your fellow man, and be genuine about it. Don’t just reserve it for while you are at the rave or festival.
Unity: With so many political battles in the scene to navigate, this has become perhaps the principal in the shortest supply. Accept everyone into the tribe. Unify your efforts no matter the differences. Create a sense of home for everyone. We are all there with musical commonalities. We are stronger together than we are alone. We can change the world if we combine our efforts. Our generations have this power. The hippies knew this, and although the floral headbands have come back at festivals, the meaning behind wearing them could be refreshed from time to time.
Respect: Be tolerant of other ideas, thoughts, feelings, and concepts that do not match your own. Respect your fellow festival family, respect the person next to you. Respect the earth and leave no trace. Above all, respect yourself. When you treat others with respect, respect will be returned to you.
Responsibility: I personally believe there is a second R in PLUR. Be responsible for yourself, your actions, and your life journey. You have a responsibility to your fellow ravers to pass these teachings on to the new generation so that they too can personally grow from them.
I have been so #blessed (see I am still relevant) to receive knowledge and support from so many amazing people. I feel so appreciative every time someone reaches out to say hello, shows me how to do something, opens my mind to a new concept or idea, or just genuinely shows their love towards me. I have immense gratitude to those at home who have shown me a sense of community, as well as those friends scattered across the country and abroad. Although I may never get that plurrific shoulder ride… what business do I have blocking someone’s view of all this amazing new production value. That’s what totems are for… am I right?
Everyone has their own opinions, and this is just my own. What does PLUR mean to you? I’d love to hear from you. Send me a message and you could be #famous in my next article!