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A Burner Lexicon: Raver

Posted in A Burner Lexicon, and Burning Man

At least ravers are less likely to be darkwads. But really, who doesn't love glowsticks? Photo by Nick Black.

Raver, –noun, Many outsiders from the default world think of Burning Man as just a gigantic rave in the desert. Similarly, many a newbie has stumbled upon a regional event thinking it will be exactly like the last weekend-long dance festival they attended. This is probably why the term raver is actually an negative epithet on the playa.

A raver is someone who comes to a Burn but does not participate in any way other than to dance at noise camps. They take breaks only to wander from camp to camp asking for drugs. When ravers form theme camps, they can be distinguished by loud, uncreative trance or dubstep music played 24 hours a day throughout the event, always at maximum possible volume even when the dance floor is empty.

Obviously, a raver is in the eye of the beholder and it’s a favorite insult to toss around amongst the burnier-than-thou.

See also: Tourist.

I once attended a small regional event which had been advertised as a rave by a local DJ acting without permission of the organizers. Late one night I found a young raver sitting with his head in his hands, confused and scared by the intensity of what he’d stumbled upon. He actually seemed frightened by the lack of commerce and the sharing atmosphere of our event when he’d expected a typical commercial rave. I tried to reassure him and explain what the culture is really about. Like other confused virgins, there are many who have arrived as ravers but left as full-fledged participants.

Other entries in A Burner Lexicon can be found at

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