The dance floor is a sacred place, a sanctuary where people can find refuge from the vicissitudes and personal problems they are facing in their every-day life.
The overwhelmingly vast majority of ravers look forward to being on a dance floor to let go of their problems for a few hours and hopefully dance to music they both enjoy and find conducive to their intention of detaching from “real life.”
However, this movement of liberation, freedom and expression through dance and music can at times be marred by a minority few who don’t understand the purpose and ethos of our scene. We have all been there, getting barged or stepped into by people obnoxiously dancing or moshing into your own personal space, or blinded by the annoying flash of a smartphone camera for the sake of an Instagram story. Or worse even, we have all either been victim of or know of someone who has been physically or verbally harassed at a dance music event.
Spiritually and aesthetically, house music developed in the United States out of the need of oppressed people, African Americans, gays and Latinos, to build a community through dance , and later in the UK, out of the need of young people dissatisfied with the meaningless materialism of Thatcher’s England, to build an alternative community of music and dance via Acid House. From a different point of view, house music in the U.S. was associated with black people, with gay clubs, basically with things that white America would not even begin to acknowledge at the time.
Tolerance, acceptance, community, freedom, music and dance… these are just some of the key foundations that house music was built on in the 1980s, foundations that are arguably more important and relevant than ever in today’s divided world. It is with these key pillars in mind that dance music event organizers, promoters and ravers must work together to preserve the ideology that forms the backbone of the dance music community.
It is a promoter’s first priority to ensure safety at any of their event, both physical and emotional. Dance floors must be safe spaces for all, regardless of socio-economic background, color, race, gender, sexual orientation and — this is also important — music taste. Security must be trained to look out for crowd disturbances and harassment of any kind, and must be adequately trained to extinguish any situation regardless of how bad it has escalated.
But promoters and security don’t have eyes everywhere. As attentive as event staff must be, it is impossible to notice everything that happens on a dance floor, especially for bigger events and festivals. As a community it becomes the responsibility of all to do our part in ensuring dance floors remain a safe heaven for attendees.
Remember: taking action is far more effective than tweeting empty complaints on social media. By following some of the below easy pointers we can all do our respective part in ensuring our favorite dance floors remain a welcome escape for anyone partying alongside us:
1) Inform a member of staff or security immediately if f you are made to feel uncomfortable in any way by another patron.
2) If you see another person being harassed please help them first and then report the matter to a member of staff or security.
3) Help anyone who appears to need medical assistance and ensure you report it to a member of staff or security as soon as you possibly can.
4) Be aware of your surroundings and people around you. Always feel free to dance as you wish, but you shouldn’t be bumping into people or invading their personal space.
5) While you should feel free to express yourself when choosing what to wear, please ensure you follow the particular event’s dress code and that you take other people into consideration. Wearing bright light-up t-shirts or shoes in a very dark setting, such as a techno warehouse event for example, can be a very disturbing experience for other patrons.
6) Although social media has taken over our lives (sigh), try to enjoy the music without constantly being on your phone. If you need to use your phone for a prolonged period of time see if you can avail yourself of a smoking/chill-out area. ENJOY THE MOMENT. Try not to worry about Twitter, FB and IG for a few hours and immerse yourself in the set being played instead
7) If the event has a no photo/video policy please respect it.
8) Refrain from using a flash if photos and videos are allowed. It ruins the experience for those around you and is a serious nuisance when aimed at performing artists.
9) Try to understand the nature and vibe of the event you’re attending, and to respect that vibe on the dance floor. While this seems like a very generic piece of advice, it’s simply a matter of common sense and common courtesy to behave in a manner that is befitting your surroundings. No two events are the same, and thinking you can act the same way at a dark warehouse event as you would at Ultra’s Mainstage is foolish and sets you up to being unwelcome by those you’re sharing the dance floor with.
10) Last but not least always follow the Golden Rule: do to others as you would have them do to you.
Cover photo by @nightmovesme