When you think of a rave, you don’t exactly think of a place you’d want to bring your mom. Stereotypically, raves are thought of as a hedonistic cesspool plagued with debauchery. Between the flashing lights, loud noises, almost naked bodies, and party favors you can’t exactly buy at Party City, a rave kind of seems like the last place you’d want to bring your mom- let alone even tell her you attended one in fear that she’ll wash your mouth out with soap. But that’s just what it seems like. I told my mom I was going to a rave, and instead of asking me whether I’d prefer the taste of Dove or Irish Spring body wash, she asked if she could get her hands dirty too and come along with me. So I did what any transparent, open minded son would do and I bought her a ticket.
That’s right, this year I took my Mom to Insomniac’s very own Beyond Wonderland. Amidst all the head bangers, candi traders, thrill chasers and booty shakers, there was my mom and I, hand in hand, keeping the city of San Bernardino as pure as we could that night. Against popular opinion, a rave can actually be a very wholesome environment, one where you can thoroughly get in some quality mommy-and-me time.
My mom had never been to a rave before. Although her best friend was the late international live performer and techno/trance producer Skylab2000, she always had one little thing preventing her from experiencing any of his shows; that little thing being me. Now, decades later in full circle, the one thing that always kept her from going to a rave was now the proponent of her finally attending one.
Since I was responsible for my mom’s 23 year long rave drought, I wanted to make sure she got the full experience. By myself, single handedly, this would not be possible to facilitate as I am only one of thousands of attendees. But thanks to all the beautiful souls at the festival bringing nothing but PLUR vibes, my mom was able to get that classic first rave experience: the one that makes us all fall in love with the phenomenon that is rave culture.
She was showered in compliments, covered in candi, fanned, massaged, and entertained by every kind raver that crossed our path. She even got to connect with another first time raver, and although there was a large age gap between them, they were both standing side by side sharing the same beautiful experience together. My mom truly learned that the rave is not just an event; it’s an entire community, and that community is family when we’re all together.
Ironically, all the reasons you maybe wouldn’t want to bring your mom to a rave actually ended up being huge highlights for my mom that helped make for such an ecstatic experience. She was enamored by the flashing lights, piercing lazers, and overall trippy atmosphere the different stages brought. Her favorite one was the Dreamstate hosted warehouse stage, where she said she felt like she was in a warm cozy womb, just like where I was when she was pregnant with me. The loud music’s vibrations reverberated throughout her body, and she said it felt like the bass was massaging her soul. She liked the loud music so much, she even declined to wear the nice pair of downbeats earplugs I brought for her! (Not recommended mom, but I commend the grit.)
Seeing so much bare skin at the rave brought a smile to my mom’s face as she was happy to be in an environment where people can express themselves however they choose to, freely and comfortably without any judgment. Although next time she probably won’t be dressing like she’s getting ready for her Playboy photoshoot or like she’s waiting in line for Berghain, she was certainly feeling inspired to express herself more through her outfit for her next rave-venture.
Even though we didn’t make a stop at Party City on the way in, she definitely enjoyed trying some party favors with me. Doing so really helped us connect on a level that was not possible throughout the years of our parent-child dynamic, and allowed us to bond together not only as mother and son, but as two souls connected forever through the power of love. Though we must say, getting lit as two adults together was pretty fun too.
After over 10 miles of walking throughout the whole event and having the hardest nights sleep she’s had in years, my mom said she had an amazing first time rave experience. She is already asking me for guestlist spots at the next 6AM event. Get this rave baby a pacifier, ‘cuz she’s a sucker for the dancefloor now!
Just like my mom had her positive new experience, I too had my own unique experience, one very different from any other night out I’ve ever had. You see, I originally ended up in the rave scene every weekend as an outlet to put distance between us while I was still living with my mom way back when. The dance floor was my escape to get the space I felt like I wasn’t getting at home. Eventually, I no longer needed to escape anything as I moved into a place of my own, and that escape evolved into a lifestyle as I found myself no longer just a raver, but now a promoter helping throw the same warehouse parties I used to seek for refuge. So in my own full circle moment, I took my mom to the same place that I used to go to to get away from her. Being able to share a rave with my mom was a huge testament to how much I’ve grown individually, as well as to how much my relationship with my mom has evolved too.
Besides from the overarching life narratives, it was just super interesting being at a rave with my mom. I got to be my mom’s rave mom as I had to show her the ropes and keep an eye out on her throughout the chaos. Being with her made for some interesting interactions I would never have otherwise, as everyone we met was in awe at the fact that this dude seriously brought his mom to Beyond Wonderland; but to be honest, I was too. My mom literally brought me into her world, so it was a privilege to be able to bring her into my world, and give her a glimpse of my night life.
I hope after reading this, you realize that going to a rave is not just all devils play, but in fact can be a very wholesome experience with many genuine opportunities for connection and bonding with fellow free spirits. But what I really hope is that you share this with your mom and tell her to get her dancing shoes on, she can meet my mom at the techno stage.