Although many people may think that raves have only been in existence for the past eight to ten years, they actually began in the early 1980s. Techno music emerging from Europe and house music emerging from America began the early rave scene. When they first started, the rave scene was kept very quiet, with the locations, which were generally in a club, being kept secret and those who wanted to attend could only do so by invitation. Even those who were invited were usually not told the location of the rave until the night that it was to be held. This secrecy led to the rave scene becoming known as part of the underground movement.
Raves began to grow in popularity in London by the mid 1980s. They were so popular and attended by so many ravers that they quickly became too large to continue to hold them in clubs. They then moved to the outer parts of the cities and where often held outdoors to be able to accommodate the large crowds. This was when raves also began to be held as an all-night event. It was later in the decade that raves began found their way to the United States, with the first raves being held in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
By the early 1990s, the rave scene had spread out to just about every other part of the United States. This was also when the rave scene began to change. Instead of the majority of the crowd being young adults in their twenties, teenagers made up the majority of ravers. Promoters of the raves saw an opportunity in the huge number of teenage ravers and it was then that they began to create clothing, drugs, music, and toys related to raves, with their target audience being the teenage population. Because promoters capitalized on this huge marketing opportunity, raves became less of a secret affair and were open to anyone who wanted to attend.
By the mid 1990s, the exploitation of the young people by the promoters began to pick up speed even more so. Because MDMA, also known as ecstasy, was becoming so prevalent among ravers, promoters encouraged the usage of the drug at their parties. They began to cover their flyers with images of “E” and “X”, both of which are nicknames for ecstasy. They began to charge money at the door, or through ticket sales, for those that wanted to attend and they provided things such as hard candies, which are a popular treat while one is feeling the effects of ecstasy. To prevent dehydration, promoters also began to sell bottles of water at the raves, which were highly overpriced.
Raves today are fairly commonplace and where they were once held only in the large cities, they can now be found in the suburban and more conservative areas of the country. Not much has changed from the 90s and promoters are still charging ravers quite a bit, through both cover charges and items that can be purchased at the rave. Ravers are agreeable to these prices as the dancing, music and drugs are worth the price to them.