The people who put that party on have decor and lighting sorted. I haven't seen a full spectrum laser for a while and I can't help it but go "OOHPRETTYSHINY" whenever I do. Also, they'd created a really nice UV garden in a clearing, where I found hippie-fishing to be quite effective. My UV reactive hoops bring all the ravers to the yard...
This time the event had a bar. In some respects I can totally see why, because people tend to take alcohol to events like that, which means that in terms of health and safety and licensing, the organisers have no real control over how much is in there. Running a bar means that people have to consider how much they drink from a financial perspective and the organisers have some control over who gets served (ie intoxicated persons have difficulty getting more). There was obviously some alcohol snuck in but the bar was doing a roaring trade and they had it placed brilliantly right next to the entry gate for the rave zone where there were a shitload of security people checking wristbands (and surreptitiouly being poised to deal with any trouble).
But as is fairly usual at events like this, there wasn't really any trouble. I mean there was microtrouble where people in a variety of altered states interacted on slightly different wavelengths, like the dude who turned up in our camp and told one of our members that he was there to collect some souls (oh yeah, that talk makes you popular with the laydeez!). But as far as I know there was no actual nastiness or trouble. And I didn't see anyone who was so blottoed on alcohol that they couldn't function. I mean there was drunkenness but no extreme drunkenness.
And obviously there were other things being used as well. It's interesting to me that when it's a 'mainstream' type environment such as a pub or Courtenay Place (our nightlife zone in Wellington) where alcohol is the main recreational substance that gets used, examples of aggression and overindulgence are generally in evidence on any given evening. Whereas in many of the environments that are considered 'alternative' - raves, burns, various festivals and the like) where other substances are used much less surreptitiously and are more socially acceptable, in general you see much less aggression and people falling about the place. There are definitely still examples of people being irresponsible with their substances, but the incidences seem far fewer and from what I've observed in over 20 years of participating in subcultures that use a variety of recreational substances (rather than just alcohol), the consequences less damaging.
It makes me think about a society where recreational drug use of all kinds was considered socially acceptable. If alcohol weren't the only substance you could use publicly, what would our night time social scape look like? Because I know there's a great deal of fear that it would be carnage, of the overhedonistic variety, that people would get hurt, that boundaries would be crossed and crimes committed. But all that happens now in an alcohol-dominant society. And in situations where other things have similar standing*, it seems to happen less not more. So in a society where alcohol were only one of a variety of choices for recreational mind-altering substances, would we see an extrapolation of this decrease in trouble or is there something else about this type of event that reduces the aggression and general grovelliness?
* Obviously the standing is not the same. People still have to be surreptitious about it and therefore there's a furtive side to the usage - you don't see folks buying it over the bar and without asking you don't know what people have taken. But there's a normalisation of use within the culture that decreases that gap between alcohol and other things quite considerably.
I'm not anti-alcohol but as a non-drinker I do get a pretty clear view of the difference between alcohol-dominated events and ones that aren't like that - especially in terms of my enjoyment of the company.
Apparently we have festivals down to a fine art. My tent-buddy and I had our gear sorted and packed down in less than 10 minutes in the morning, and between the Illuminati members who were there we had sufficient gazebos, tarps, beanbags, tables, fluffy blankets and rubbish bags to make a nice place for people to chill, cover everyone's comfort, and make a speedy escape in the morning. Other folks commented on it in fact.
One thing that was missing though, was TAFKARF. Dancefloors just aren't the same without him standing on them, counting. Also, the cicadas seemed very confused by the whole thing and sang all night. It was.. odd to hear cicadas at 3am.
And then I got home and Dr Wheel was there and it was nice because I hadn't slept so I did get my end-of-night cuddles, just in mid afternoon the next day. <3