Photos: Rave culture’s golden era was all about ‘Peace, Love, Unity, Respect’
Rian Dundon

I was in the San Francisco Bay Area rave scene in the ’90s. PLUR was still the by-word, so a thirtysomething woman with her husband was more of a curiosity than an automatic threat. I started making and trading bracelets and called myself the world’s oldest candykid with the awareness I could be wrong and happy to know it was possible.

The scene there had its issues. The guy who brought me into it was convinced the “Asian invasion” was ruining things. I also know how white it all was in my neck of the woods. And there were people whose race was immaterial to the fact they could be counted on, whoever they were, to wreck a good underground space with their self-centered behavior. At the same time, we had folks who’d do it for charity, once even managing to talk San Francisco City Hall into being a venue for an event. The scene even wound up sparking my spiritual development thanks to one set of parties I attended and what they led me to try.

I could keep going, but I’m beyond happy to see someone who was in it and thought enough of it to record what it was like in such an accurate and thoughtful way. We weren’t the pretty people. We didn’t dress up and fake-dance in high heels while worrying some bozo was going to dope our drink. We just wanted to hang out, dance our butts off, and feel the beat in our bodies no matter what else we did. And hopefully spread some PLUR while we were at it.

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