In the blink of an eye, rave dance became the latest "thing" and hit mainstream society right between the eyes with the force of a jackhammer. Ravers and their rave dance have been compared to both the hippies of the 1960's and new wavers of the 1980s. And rightly so, due to ravers' interest in non-violence and music. In fact "mainstream raves" caught on in the mid to late 1980's as a product of, reaction to, and rebellion against, trends in popular music, nightclub culture and commercial radio.
Early rave dance tended to be spontaneous, do-it-yourself events. The slang expression 'rave' was originally used by people of Caribbean in London during the 1960's to describe a free party. In the late 1980's, the term began to be used to describe a new subculture that grew out of the acid house movement that began in the United States and further flourished in the United Kingdom's club scene.
In an effort to maintain distance and secrecy from the mainstream club (or perhaps for lack of affordable, receptive venues), warehouses, rental halls, and outside locations most often served as rave dance venues. Almost immediately - in an effort to control and curtail rave parties - some police and governmental bodies effectively outlawed rave dance in certain areas due to the easy availability of club drugs like Ecstasy and speed. This in turn created a "rave dance network" designed to conceal a party's location in order to ensure the event's success. To that end, event organizers sometimes either promoted events solely by word-of-mouth, or would only reveal the date and location of the event to subscribers of an electronic mailing list or by voicemail.
The rave dance party caught on like a wild fire. In central Europe and other parts of the world, rave culture was becoming part of a new youth movement. Techno DJ's and electronic music producers proclaimed the existence of a "raving society" and promoted electronic music as a legitimate competition for the good old rock and roll. Meanwhile on the rave dance floor, "liquid dance" became the step of choice, as did the use of glow sticks, white gloves and blacklights. In a short time electronic dance music and the rave dance party subculture evolved into mass movements attracting tens of thousands of attendants.
But like all good things, the rave subculture couldn't maintain itself forever and the rave subculture began to stagnate by the end of the 1990s - a victim of changing times and tastes, and further damaged by the anti-rave laws, constant surveillance by watchdog groups and the police. In fact by the millennium the term rave dance party and raver had fallen out of favor among many people in the techno-dance music community, particularly in Europe. Many Europeans returned to identifying themselves as "clubbers" rather than ravers. It even became unfashionable among many electronic dance music fans to describe a party as a "rave". Some communities preferred the term "festival", while others simply went full circle and referred to social events as "parties".
The names may have changed, but the concept remains the same, as somewhere hundreds of youth are enjoying techno-electronic music and dancing to their own particular beat.