Turn the clock back a few years before you heard dance, trance, techno, dupstep, house, etc. all over the radio and there was something called PLUR(R). It stood for Peace Love Unity Respect.
Recently, some ravers have added the second R (Responsibility) both in embrace and scorn of the hordes of newcomers that don't follow PLUR, don't know about PLUR, and only go to raves to drop [too much] e and ruin the night for everybody.
Let me give you an example of what I mean.
In Southern California--arguably the rave capital of the United States--there is an annual rave festival called the Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC). Over the course of it's 13-year existence it has grown from a relatively modest one-day event to a full-on two-day extravaganza with carnival rides and over 180,000 attendees. I have personally attended and can attest to its glory but also to its plight. At the most recent event a 15-year-old girl overdosed on drugs she was probably doing for the first time at what may have been one of if not her first rave. Fellow ravers within and without my family agree that though the newfound popularity of raves has shot new life into the scene it isn't necessarily the kind of life they were looking for.
Certainly, new faces are always a delight to the enthusiastically extroverted followers of PLUR, but these new faces haven't exactly been willing to adhere or even learn about PLUR--quite honestly most don't even care and proceed to bing on shoddy pills and brag to their friends that they're now "ravers" with little concern to their own well-being and that of others. Going back to my previous statement, this is why the second R was added.
Responsibility is something that was a bit of an unwritten rule in the rave community. If you Respect yourself and others, you won't be overdosing on drugs nor encouraging others to do so; if there is Unity, you look after one another like you would a member of your family; if there is Love, you accept every newcomer with open arms; if there is Peace--well, you don't get into fights or bring your shit from the real life into the rave life.
Which is something that has been happening with increasing frequency. Case in point, on the weekend of 25/09/2010 my brother and I had the misfortune of attending a New York City rave. This isn't my first east coast rave but I've been debating whether it should be my last. Not only did nobody seem to know about PLUR but everyone stratified into their own groups rather than take the time to meet new people. My multiple attempts to make new friends were often met with awkwardness or outright hostility (especially when the encounter involved a guido douchebag and his bitch).
Now, I'm a generally nice guy and I don't get pissed off easily, but to call these sort of events "raves" is like calling Avril Lavigne punk. Maybe I've just gone to the wrong raves, maybe I just don't get along with the east coast, but as far as I can tell there is no PLUR on this side of the States and the few people that know about it are just asshole posers and drug pushers.
This wouldn't be the first time a subculture of the small but avid few becomes overwhelmed by the much larger and much more ignorant majority. It happens all the time in music, clothes, television, and even in whole neighborhoods (Lower East Side in Manhattan or Williamsburg in Brooklyn, anyone?). Is it only a matter of time before PLUR is nothing more but an empty slogan, and rave music ironically commercialized like the punk rock of old?
Hopefully not. But I think it's inevitable.
Peace, Love, Unity, Respect, and for those newcomers, Responsibility.