Rave is dead in Los Angeles, right?
Well, despite what some dance-world insiders have been telling us for months, a team of concert promoters believes there's still a lot of life left in the colorful, all-night party scene.
To prove their point, they're putting together a New Year's Eve show at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum that they say will be North America's biggest rave ever. Titled "Plantasia," the event will feature Moby and an all-star lineup of deejays, plus fireworks, lasers and props including a UFO strung up over the stadium.
Music will come from back-to-back stages at the 50 yard line, with tents covering the field to keep the dancers warm. In addition, there will be deejays mixing on two sound systems outside the stadium, one under the Olympic torch and the other on the avenue next to the Sports Arena.
"People who have been saying that rave is dead only know what was going on a year and a half ago," says Philip Blaine, one of the promoters behind the event. "It wasn't dead, it was just in a lull and in the last five months or so it's been accelerating."
Blaine believes the scene is strong enough to bring as many as 20,000 people to "Plantasia," which he says would break the continental rave record of about 12,000 set at a September event staged as background for a film shoot in downtown L.A.
The crowds at that party and at the Orbital performance Nov. 26 at the Shrine Exhibition Hall were impressively large and multiethnic mixes that, says Blaine, reflect rave culture's move away from cold, "Blade Runner"-like futurism to a "positive vibe" accenting community, ecology and spirituality.
But is it really a rave if it's in a mainstream locale such as the Coliseum?
The L.A. rave scene was built on an underground circuit where events weren't announced in the conventional media, but rather promoted through word of mouth and flyers, with the location of parties and concerts kept secret until the last minute. Shows were often held without legal permits and were frequently shut down by police. For many people, that was half the excitement.
"The underground events will always happen," says Blaine. "I promoted those years ago and that's great. But rave, as invented in England, was truly a massive all-night festival and that's what this is. Yeah, it's commercial, but that's the whole point--more people can be involved."