As soon as you see an artist you love announce a tour date in your city, you smash that “buy ticket” button as fast as you can. But, sometimes this eagerness causes you to end up at a venue you’ve never heard of before or at a venue far away.
If you’re anything like me, you may feel a wave of anxiety getting ready to go to a new venue for the first time. Something about raves in unfamiliar areas triggers a pang of uncertainty and nervousness within me. Yes, I might be a control freak. But, I also like to have certain expectations in place when I’m heading to a rave. Will they let me bring in a bag? What about flow toys? How late should I expect to be out? Is it safe?
Here are some tips for how to prepare for a rave at a venue you’ve never been to before.
Step 1: Do your research.
Google the venue to see where it’s located. If you’re familiar with your city, you may be able to tell how safe the neighborhood is. It’s also smart to explore some reviews and look around on social media (the venue’s posts as well as tagged posts) to get an idea of what the venue looks like, what people typically wear there, and what types of shows they usually host.
If you’re part of an online community like Female Ravers United on Bonded by Bass on Facebook, or a Discord rave community, you can try posting a question about the venue to see if anyone in the community has been there before and can help you prepare.
Step 2: Call the venue with any questions.
Be sure to check their hours so you can reach a human being and not their voicemail, although you can always leave a message and ask them to call you back. Ask about their bag and flow toy policy, how late they’ll be open on show night, if they sell alcohol, if they allow any water packs inside, and any other questions you may have. Many events will also have this information in the FAQ section of the event website, so check there first to prevent wasting your time.
Step 3: Make sure you have your squad with you.
I would advise against going to a new venue for the first time completely alone. Call your rave fam and make sure you have at least 1 buddy to go with. The night of the show, make a meet up plan using a landmark in case you get separated. Stay together throughout the night, even if you need to make a trip to the bar or restroom.
Step 4: Stay aware of your surroundings.
As most ravers know, some venues can be sketchier than others and even at the most well known clubs, bad things can happen if we lose awareness of those around us. We thrive off of PLUR energy, but the reality is, it doesn’t follow us everywhere. Don’t lose sight of your drink, keep your bag pockets zipped and your belongings close to you, and try to stay aware of those around you at all times. If you see something, say something.
As a final note, I want to remind you that going to a venue for the first time can be the start of something beautiful! Sometimes, we develop deep connections with local venues that continue to host our favorite artists throughout the years. This has certainly been the case for me! There’s a first time for everything, and although it can be very anxiety provoking to head off to an unfamiliar place for the first time, try to keep an open mind and enjoy every moment. Who knows, this could become your new favorite spot!