After deciding to spend the night in with her husband, Melissa DeAngeles put on the Matrix expecting to just enjoy the movie, but instead fell in love with something completely different. “There was a scene in a cave and there was a big rave. I looked at that and said, ‘That’s me. I want that!’ and Mark (her husband) looks at me and goes, ‘What?!’ I just love it!” Already falling in love with what raving is all about, the craziness, the lasers, the people, Melissa wanted to experience it all for herself. “It’s like when you walk into the Regency Ballroom,” Melissa looks back on, “It’s smokey, loud, and the floor bounces, it’s one of my favorite things to walk into that!”
At festivals or massives you don’t normally expect to see anyone over a certain age and when you do, it’s only natural to think at first, “What are they doing here?!” That’s what Melissa DeAngeles got when she attended Live 105’s BFD in 2010 and practically lived at the Supersonic tent, but that didn’t stop her from having the time of her life! Melissa had started raving in the late 80’s, but had to quit because her husband didn’t approve of it, so going back into the scene at a much later time was a challenge. “It was kind of rough but funny because I got a lot of high fives but it was also like, ‘What is she doing here?’ I guess that’s an expectation that I hadn’t planned on, you know? I might still get a lot of looks from people that don’t know me.”
PC: Anthony Bonnett Photography. Mama Melissa (far left) with some fellow PLUR Angels and her daughter, Jamie (far right)
She’s not only a mother for her own family but for the rave community as well. Lucky for all of the Bay Area folks almost everyone in the scene knows Melissa as Mama Melissa thanks to her active role in PLUR Angels! She’s one of those ravers you see walking around at events in their bright yellow shirts making sure that fellow ravers are partying safely and giving out free water, earplugs, and even condoms! It’s thanks to her that I know how to take better care of my friends and I look up to her as a mom who knows how to party, but responsibly. “You can’t help but notice that there are people around you that need some help,” Mama Melissa explains, “I want to make sure that as a mom I am not going completely overboard. Yes I want to go have fun and get ridiculous and ratchet, but I also know as I’ve been raving longer and longer I can’t. Too many people know who I am because of PLUR Angels and I have to be careful.” It’s amazing how much self control she has when she goes to events with over half of the attendees doing drugs, but she uses her PLUR Angel powers to make sure those around her are in safe hands.
Mama Melissa with her daughter, Jamie
Of course Mama Melissa is a mother figure to us all, she’s a real life mother as well! Mama Melissa passed on all of the wisdom that she has learned over the years to her eldest daughter, Jamie, to make sure that she partied the right way. “She learned her limits quick because she partied like an adult because she was partying with adults. She learned how to party, then going off to college and she’s the one taking care of everyone. The only advice I ever really gave her going off to college was, ‘Never drink anything that is made up in a plastic bin, container, and/or in a trash can.'” And with that, Mama Melissa and Jamie made a perfect team and their mother daughter relationship grew over time as they continued to go to events together. “We discovered raving together!” Melissa exclaimed, “She had a boyfriend in high school that DJ’d and we were all into the music and we started going to stuff. It was like, “Oh we can make rave bras all this kind of stuff”. You should see all of this stuff in our closet with our arts and crafts stuff!” It’s heartwarming to see two different generations, let alone in the same family, create memories together when others deal with the angry teenage angst. “Jamie and I have a huge bond over it definitely, it’s been our thing. I took her to EDC for the first time as her high school graduation present,” Mama Melissa laughed. “She’s my rave buddy!”
But what about the rest of the family? Mama Melissa’s youngest daughter, Olivia, just shakes her head and laughs while her husband, Mark, worries all the time. “He just worries about me getting home safe,” she explains, “I know my limits though. I either sleep at a friend’s place or once I had him pick me up when I couldn’t drive.” Once in a blue moon when the time is perfect, Mark actually attends an event with Melissa and let’s just say everyone gets excited. “When I take him to an event now every once in a while it’s fun because everyone gets the biggest kick out of him being there. They’re like, ‘IT’S MARK!’ It’s a different kind of night out,” When I first met Mark last year at Crush San Francisco I thought the two went to shows together all the time, but now I know it’s definitely special for her when he says he’ll go with her.
PC: Kaytee Rae. Mama Melissa and her husband, Mark
Mama Melissa’s advice to future rave moms out there: “Wear comfortable shoes, make sure you have worked out or are in shape for it because it is not for the faint of heart, and go in with an open mind. Have fun, bring earplugs, go in an enjoy it. Lose yourself in the whole experience and don’t be afraid to get in and dance with everybody!”
Mama Melissa and I at Crush SF
Living life like a breeze in the Bay Area, sharing the love to my fellow ravers