On June 15, Gov. Gavin Newsom loosened COVID-19 restrictions, giving the thumbs up to reopen dance floors throughout California and to party (responsibility, of course). After 15 grueling months of virtual hangouts and a smorgasbord of DJ streams, it seems as things are returning to normal.
With events opening up but mask mandates being put in place off and on around the country, ravers are navigating a new normal while trying to keep themselves and their communities safe. As they say, the show must go on, so here is how several ravers, DJs and promoters feel about raving now that things have opened back up.
“It feels surreal to be going back to events at a larger scale already,” @_zomgsteph said about her first in-person event at the Midway in San Francisco. Though she had kept her rave spirit burning by listening to live streams and posting humorous content on Instagram/TikTok about the cringey festival moments we would all like to forget, it paled in comparison to the real thing. “Just being able to dance outside with other humans around me was memorable. . .Not the same!”
After months of turning the tables in his room to a virtual dance floor, Bay Area DJ Niko Zografos wasted no time returning to the stage. Having just released “Last Storm” on the Northern Irish label, Kinected Recordings, the DJ celebrated with two shows in one weekend with Aly & Fila & Dave Neven: Dreamstate Presents at Public Works SF [Friday] and the Academy LA [Saturday].
“My gigs in SF and LA were amazing,” Zografos said. Whether in NorCal or SoCal, he said the energy was the electric: everyone was excited to be out, spreading the love as they frolicked with freedom from CDC guidelines. “It was one of my favorite weekends in a long time. Incredible vibes!”
Though, the party can’t last forever as the threat of the Delta variant looms over like the sun at 6 am, waiting for you to walk out of that warehouse party to serve you a brutal slappin’ hangover with a side of ibuprofen.
Rising numbers of new infections and hospitalization reported by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, The City of Angels would technically be in the purple tier and shut down again if California was still using the COVID-19 reopening system.
Despite the current relaxed guidelines, the fear of permanently closing nightlife establishments is still a reality. In an August 2020 article by the California Restaurant Association, nearly 30% of restaurants would close permanently. The National Independent Venue Association even started the social media campaign #SAVEOURSTAGES to raise funds where Congress’ federal relief fell short. Not to mention, every big promotion company last year either canceled or moved the dates of music festivals, causing a bunch of pissed-off ravers. ***cough* Ultra *cough***
Various restaurants and nightlife establishments in L.A. County are trying to stay ahead of the curve by requiring proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 tests. Iconic venues in S.F. (like 1015 Folsom) have also joined the growing list of businesses in Calif. making it mandatory for those who wish to enter to be vaccinated or provide a negative test.
“I think it’s essential people be responsible and get vaccinated. It’s not just about them,” Zografos said about those hesitant to get vaccinated. He hopes that people can take the proper precautions to ensure events are here to stay. “This last year has been hard on many of us mentally and emotionally, and it’s important as a community to be there for each other.”
“I know a lot of people who have mentally struggled through this time without human contact and are willing to follow protocols to make events a safe space,” @_zomgsteph said. “All I can say is going to events during this time is a privilege, not a right.”
You can stock up on masks and other personal protective equipment at the iHeartRaves website here. We also encourage all of our rave babes to get vaccinated, and check out the CDC website or speak with your doctor if you have any questions.