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B.C.'s rave culture: The party is fizzling


TRIBE Member
B.C.'s rave culture: The party is fizzling
All-night summer parties drawing sparse crowds

Sarah Galashan
Vancouver Sun

Tuesday, August 28, 2001
There's been a sea-change in the culture of all-night parties, say local rave watchers, after B.C.'s biggest annual rave drew mediocre crowds on the weekend.

Summer Love, a dance party that's been the subject of past controversy but a favourite of ravers across the province, was attended by only 6,000 people.

"We had more people last year by twice as many," says Richard Gablehouse, chief promoter of Summer Love. "We lost a lot of money. We lost $150,000. We needed 10,000 people to break even."

When preliminary sales were calculated, midway through the night, Gablehouse pulled the plug on several acts scheduled to perform.

"I stopped the fireworks halfway through the night and cancelled the glow-in-the-dark skydivers. I cancelled whatever I could because we were short on cash."

"It was still excellent," he said, adding that hip hop and rock 'n' roll music was also played.

"But we cancelled as many things as we could at the last minute."

Gablehouse and other observers of the once underground rave culture say the final tally indicates a change in B.C.'s rave culture.

"I think that's reflective of the scene," says Corporal Scott Rintoul, a member of Vancouver's RCMP drug awareness unit and one of three plainclothes officers who patrolled Summer Love from inside the security gates.

"It's not as vibrant as it was before."

Rintoul, whose job it is to monitor all-night rave parties, believes many ravers have matured and have less time to spend dancing all night.

As well, he says the techno music and ecstasy drug once only available at underground raves can now be bought easily from dealers on the dance floors at local indoor nightclubs.

"The fact is the music has gone mainstream and so have the drugs," he says.

Media reports estimated 20,000 ravers would drive to the Popkum reserve outside Abbotsford where Summer Love was held Saturday night.

Gablehouse said ticket sales didn't come anywhere near that and similar techno concerts elsewhere in the province this year have also had disappointing results.

"Every show [this year] had way less people," he says.

Tickets for Summer Love were sold in advance by retailers throughout the Lower Mainland and by some as far away as Alberta and Seattle.

"We only sold, like, 38 tickets," said Jeff Jemsen, a sales representative with Frequency 8, a Seattle store known best for selling trance and techno music. "This summer it seems like [ravers] are losing interest."

In the past, raves were held illegally, at locations that were not widely advertised. But with increased security and first aid provisions, raves are now legal and attract a wider cross-section of partygoers.

"The new people don't like the old people, and the old people don't like the new people," said Jemsen. "It's all politics."

Summer Love's reputation for featuring outrageous acts and loud music makes many communities wary of playing host.

Gablehouse, who says he's considering making this year the last of the annual Summer Love events, places part of the blame for the falling numbers on not having a location he could advertise. He notified ravers of the locale via a Web site the night before.

Well over 13,000 people turned out for last year's Summer Love held on the Skway Indian reserve near Coquitlam.

But this year, the mayor of Coquitlam and nearby residents convinced the Skway band to say "no more" to Summer Love, both because the event is noisy and not drug-free.

This year, three young ravers overdosed on drugs and were taken to hospital. At least 25 partygoers were arrested.

"It's like saying Merritt Mountain Music Festival, or the PNE, or a high school parking lot is drug-free," says Gablehouse, who compares Summer Love to well-known community festivals like Peachfest, Sandcastles and the PNE.

"We would like somebody to say 'Hey we would like to have a festival that draws people into our community.'

"Why wouldn't somebody want a show like this?"
Alex D. from TRIBE on Utility Room


TRIBE Member
talking to thepeople at summerlove everyone said there was less peoplethere I think alot of people snuck in becsaue there were alot more the 6000 ppl there. I'm guessing 8-10 thousand but meh what do I know I was just there and the van. Sun was not.
yes the scene here is really small and shrinking but its still alive. yay


Staff member