Save the Children | The new generation of ravers
by Jason Weil
I am proud to report that Atlanta's electronic music scene is expanding once again. After experiencing a few years of bumps and bruises, it appears that an ever increasing number of our wonderful citizens are venturing forth into the club/party scene to experience the sounds of house, jungle, progressive, and the various nuances in between that get their bodies moving and heads bobbing.
More and more kids are turning out for the big all-nighter parties than ever before. This growth is a dominant influence in the scene today, and it can be traced almost exclusively to those between the ages of 18 and 20.
This flux of people under twenty-one has had a dramatic effect on the club scene. Parties that cater to the 18 and up crowd tend to be composed of roughly 80 percent 18-20-year-olds, including a large number of those who have just turned 18 (or at least can convince the doorman they have).
Don't get me wrong, I am not against young people going out and partying like older people like me have been doing for years. I do enjoy a diverse crowd, though, including people of all ages, races, and mentalities. I refuse to believe that the dance scene attracts only those of this younger age group. Just try to find a spot Saturday night on Nomenclature's 21+ dance floor.
I hope that the clubbers I grew up with stick with the scene to see it mature and do not feel threatened or out of place at a party that is dominated by kids five to ten years younger than them. Other cities have been in the same situation that Atlanta is in and have matured into kicking party centers. I'm talking about cities like L.A., San Francisco, and New York where clubs and venues exist that cater to all age groups.
At a recent party in Atlanta, I spoke with a few people to get their perspectives on the subject.
Alainna, 25, when asked what she thought of the younger crowd, said, "We were all first-timers our first time, and we'll all be old school one day." She went on to share that she does not know a lot of the younger crowd, and she was 21 when she first started going out to parties.
Teenagers don't necessarily feel any generation gap either. Lauren, 16, started going to parties a year ago when she was fifteen. She said she doesn't feel like there's any division, and that nobody passes judgment. When asked how long she sees herself going out, she replied, "Until I get married. It depends on who I marry."
She brings up a good point. If you truly enjoy the scene and all it offers, it really helps to find someone who enjoys the scene as much as you do. (See Kevin's article on finding love at parties.)
Todd, 28, who has been part of the scene for eight years, came out this night for the first time in nine months. He feels like "kids are too young. People are out for the wrong reasons."
Even someone seven years younger than Todd has felt the impact of the younger crowd. Janice, 21, said, "It sucks because all the older people won't go to parties because of all the younger people."
For Jessica, 24, her party days were almost over. She is a teacher at an Atlanta high school, and she saw one of her students out one night. The next week, her department head called her into a meeting, strongly suggesting that she stop going to parties. The student she had seen out had turned her in.
Would a teacher have been turned in for attending an all-ages rock concert that lasted into the night? Of course not. The bad publicity of the "one foot in the rave" campaign has given our scene a bad rap.
By the way, how do you teenagers get away with staying out all night? I could pull it off maybe one night a month maybe but it doesn't seem to be a problem these days. If you have any interesting stories about or excuses for staying out all night, let us know.
We do change as we grow older, and things that did not matter when I was 18 do matter to me now including prices and atmosphere (shiny hardwood floors versus concrete slabs, and nice leather couches versus...well, concrete slabs). These different qualities that venues and events have to offer can attract different people...but they all come for the same thing the music.
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