I want to start this little article off by saying the crew at New York City's ABC7 had their hearts in the right place. They wanted to point out the dangers of underground raves, specifically the dangers of buildings not up to code. Finally a piece that was not supposed to be about drugs, and shaming the debauchery of the underground community, but more trying to protect our community from another horrible event like the Ghost Ship fire. I understand that this was their intent in some way. What came out was just another unfortunate fear mongering segment. Except, instead of these raves turning your kids into drug addicted zombies, this one was about how these raves will kill your kids with fire.
Missed The Point of What An Underground Rave Is
Look I am 24. Just old enough to have seen a few actual underground, illegal raves in my day. I missed the hey day of the 90's as I was busying going to grade school. But still I found myself at a handful of warehouse parties in Brooklyn, and Philly – where you couldn't buy the tickets off Ticketmaster. ABC7 tried so hard to make clear that these raves were illegal and held in properties not approved by the city. Clearly missing that, that was in fact the exact point of holding an underground rave.
Mass gathering and event permits in a city like NYC (or more specifically Brooklyn) are incredibly expensive and come with a long list of stipulations. Many of which destroy the freeing environment, or are just financially impossible. So where the entire idea of the illegal rave came from was to host it in the underground – away from the watchful eye of the authorities. To dance until the wee hours of the morning and not fear repercussions.
Is There a Solution?
So ABC7, while your heart could have been in the right spot, you kind of missed the point. We either need event organizers of these raves to make sure there are clear exits or we need the local governments (like the one in Oakland), to realize that these parties are inevitable. And by doing so making a real effort to change the event permit procedure, or start actually condemning buildings and not allowing landlords to continue to lease them out even once they have been given orders to vacate.