Whether it’s techno from 12pm to 11pm at the Printworks or an AMP event at Tobacco Dock, daytime rave events are thriving in London. And unlike the illegal versions that took place in fields and warehouses in the 90s, punters at the (more legit) present-day events often benefit from epic sound systems, safer spaces, and craft beers on tap.
Not sure where to start? Veteran raver Thomas Hobbs shares some of his hard-earned tips, from the importance of a pre-rave meal to the kinds of characters you’ll meet along the way.
Playing human Tetris on a busy dancefloor can get sweaty real fast, so you’ll need to dress appropriately. Avoid wearing anything too heavy (sound-activated LED t-shirts are a no-no, no matter how lit you think they look), stay hydrated, and you’ll be going strong until it’s home-time.
Eat a big breakfast
Don’t save yourself for a few hastily eaten nuggets on the Uber ride home. A breakfast primer is imperative because, trust me, you don’t want to be feeling faint during that headline DJ set from Peggy Gou. Loading up on fruit and porridge in the AM is an absolute no brainer.
Put your phone away
It’s not cool to check work emails or constantly refresh your Insta feed during a rave. Sure, taking the odd selfie with mates is okay, but once you’ve posted get back to the important business of having fun in the real world (remember that?). Your dad’s latest post about Brexit can wait.
Embrace the characters
One of the best things about daytime raves is the diverse cast of characters they attract. You’re likely to find veteran house fans, who own all of Aphex Twin’s B-sides on vinyl and dance solidly for six hours straight, alongside off-piste office workers and fresh-faced students passionately hugging one another like the last scene of the Shawshank Redemption. Once you’ve danced with someone for eight hours, you’ll gain a unique kind of kinship that transcends usual boundaries. So, embrace the diversity and get to know people you normally wouldn’t, even if they do bang on and on about the virtues of Happy Hardcore.
Switch things up
There’s usually multiple stages and DJs so make sure you check out everything on offer. Staying in the same room can get a little cabin fever-y, which makes going on random walkabouts a good chance to discover new sounds and freshen things up. Just don’t rock up to the EDM tent and think the DJ will be impressed when you request that “more Dance-y Lorde tune”. They won’t.
Come with an open mind
I’ll level with you, I’m the kind of guy who likes listening to Rubber Soul, L.A. Woman and Pet Sounds – in other words electronic music is not really my bag. But raving is still something I love doing as the feeling of hugging your best mates in an abandoned printing factory or experiencing a DJ making everybody hit the ceiling in unison is pretty special. Don’t head out to a daytime rave with preconceptions – just go with an open mind and be prepared to have the time of your life. I’ll be the bearded bloke rocking LED gloves in the middle of the dancefloor. Come say hi.