The Evolution Of The Warehouse Epidemic

The Evolution Of The Warehouse Epidemic

From dancing in industrial warehouses to giant open field event centers, it’s safe to say raves and modern dance parties have evolved immensely.

Back in the late 80s – early 90s, when house music was truly starting to emerge, the place to get your groove on would tend to be places like empty warehouses. Avid party throwers such as Pasquale Rotella would promote his parties through fliers and word of mouth. Whoever was lucky enough to know about it would arrive the night off to a warehouse with a DJ booth, speakers stacked upon each other, a strobe light, perhaps a black light as well, and that would be your rave. Nowadays, the production of a dance party at a club usually always have massive screens projecting colorful visuals, a bar, places to sit, a smoking area, etc. This, of course, attributes to larger festivals as well with colossal stages, laser beams, and the works.

Some may argue that rave culture has lost what’s made it special. These people might enjoy a much smaller, more intimate settings, fewer people, and the focus being music instead of production. They are usually the ones to attend underground shows in places like warehouses that still happen today.

Wait! Warehouse parties still happen? Yup. But they can be very secretive- just the way the party throwers like it.I recently went to a warehouse party that got me thinking about rave culture and the difference between various dance music events. I found out about this party through a co-worker who invited me to the event on Facebook. In order to buy tickets to this event, you needed to acquire a password from one of the guys running it. To get the password you had to prove you found out about this party through word of mouth and not by a flyer, a social media post, or any other type of marketing platform. The event location was not disclosed until the night of and didn’t start until 11 pm. When the location was released, we were told not to give it out to anyone. We were also told there would be no parking so we had no choice but to Uber or Lyft there. All of this alluded to a sense of mystery and almost VIP status- like we were lucky enough to have found out about this event and attend.

The event itself was of course, in a warehouse where the party throwers put up string lights outs outside, a disco ball, and a few hanging red lights from the ceiling of the dance floor. There was a bar, a couch or two, and a row of porta potties set up outside- but that was it. It was very unadorned, but the people who showed up were excited and ready to have a good time. There was also an array of diverse people who came of all different races, genders and wearing some of the most unusual and interesting outfits I’ve ever seen. Contrary to popular belief that warehouse parties are all techno based, nu disco and house were the music genres of the night. Everyone channeled their inner hustle. It was awesome.

Many people are not fans of warehouse parties anymore, though. Aside from some of them being downright illegal, people don’t like the idea of being crammed in a warehouse with limited ways to get out in case of an emergency. This happened with the 2016 Ghost Ship warehouse fire that happened in Oakland, California, killing 36 people. There, people were trapped upstairs were the party was taking place with no way to escape. This strikes a major concern for people who throw and attend these underground warehouse parties.

So, which side of the dance event spectrum are you on? Do you enjoy the bigger club, higher production events? Or does a more secretive warehouse party strike your fancy?



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