A night to remember: Exploring the Duke student-run rave

Just in time to celebrate the end of another strenuous week of midterm season, Duke students gathered together at a student-organized rave Oct. 6.

A rave is a music and dance event centered around electronic dance music (EDM). Raves originated in late 1980s London as secret parties held in warehouses and abandoned buildings, but they have since grown dramatically in popularity. 

The student-organized rave took place at PS37 – an event venue roughly a 20-minute walk from Duke’s East Campus – from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., with a new genre of EDM featured each hour. From 9 to 10 p.m., for example, guests enjoyed deep house (a style of EDM known best for its combination of traditional house beats with jazz-inspired melodies), while hardstyle (renowned for its high energy and intensity) was the genre of the hour from 11 p.m. to midnight. 

PS37 was relatively empty as the rave started; however, by 10 p.m., the event started to gain traction. Large inflatable beach balls were tossed and kicked around the dancefloor, and light sticks were distributed to every guest at the door. Attendees faced an unexpected surprise around 10:30 p.m., when the music suddenly cut out for a few minutes; fortunately, they were able to swiftly return to their fun. At 11 p.m., DJ V1RAL paid tribute to his close friend John Bas – a legend in the New York City rave scene – who had recently passed away by playing a few of his most well-known mixes.

The idea of a rave hosted by Duke students first appeared on the social media app Sidechat. Sidechat is a social media platform similar to Reddit where anonymous users can share posts to forums centered around different topics. A post on the app from approximately six weeks ago, reading “If I were to organize an on campus rave would y’all be interested?”, was the first mention of a student-run rave; the post was met with wildly positive feedback, receiving 143 upvotes and 14 comments. The student (humorously known as the “Sidechat rave guy”) went on to post regular updates about the event on the platform, asking for input from fellow Sidechat users regarding cover fees and venue suggestions.

By late September, posters for the rave could be found on every inch of campus and all over social media. The event organizers even created an Instagram account (@raveatduke) to advertise the rave, collecting nearly 300 followers. “Buy two, get one free” ticket deals were offered as an incentive to potential ravegoers on top of the $5 ticket price. 

Overall, the Oct. 6 student-run rave was a resounding success. Although Duke and its students are best known for their innovative and revolutionary solutions to real-world issues, who is to say that Duke students can’t also use their ingenuity and creativity in other fun ways?


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