by Toshia Sheets
photos by John Crooms
Venue: Celebration Hall (The Church) - Atlanta, GA
This was definitely an interesting night. I wasn't sure what to expect from promoters and DJ's that I'd never heard of.
Doors opened at 11, so I thought I'd get there around that time, and the line would be moving. I was almost right! There was no line...and no one there (except for the people putting this whole thing together). I hung out for a while and waited to see how the crowd was going to build.
I went inside just after 11. The lights were on! I thought to myself "So this is how it looks with lights on!" (They had strobe lights, etc. downstairs.) No one checked ID, no one searched me. It was great! The main room wasn't open for the night, so I went downstairs into the dungeon (the basement). Not many people had arrived yet...so the room was still empty. There were maybe 20 people down there, only 2 were on the dance floor. About 30 minutes after I got inside, a group of about 10 raver kiddies came in...dressed in raver gear! UFO's and all! They hung around for about 5 minutes, and decided to leave.
I asked who the DJ was, but no one knew. Whoever he was, he was playing some pretty good house. About an hour into his set, a girl took over the decks and continued with the trend. Heart pounding bass lines and melodic vocals were promised...and delivered. There were a couple of times that I noticed she was dancing so much, she almost forgot about the records! But despite a few problems with the mixer early on, she spun a very good set. I asked around about who the DJ's were, but no one seemed to know. I'm not sure exactly how many different DJ's took control, but it was definitely more than the two listed in Events. I don't think anyone really cared who the DJ's were...they were just there to dance and have fun!
Because of an ankle injury, I was unable to dance, so I just roamed around and stood back and observed. I noticed early on a few big posters that said, "rolling out" and had names of cities all around it. I didn't know if it was a message (as in "no drugs") or if it was some kind of tour or something. I figured out later, it's a magazine, also a sponsor of the event. The way it was printed and distributed reminded me of Creative Loafing. I meant to pick up a copy on my way out to read through it, but forgot.
Inside the chill area (where copies of Rolling Out were lying on tables) there were tables set up with CD's, brochures, jewelry, etc. Sofas and chairs lined the walls, and people were sitting around, enjoying each other's company. Throughout the whole downstairs area, candles and incense burned. This helped to create a great atmosphere! I believe the scent of incense was lavender or jasmine, which was very calming.
While I was observing, I was approached by someone who mentioned that I looked a bit out of place. I was a little out of my element, indeed. He also thought I was way too young to be there (16? Haha!). I almost had to break out the ID. I talked with him for a while about music and the big game we call "life." I didn't catch his name, but he was a great person to talk with. Very energetic!
I was really unsure of what to expect from this night. I didn't know anyone there...this isn't the usual "rave" crowd. I didn't know who any of the DJ's were. Despite the things that were working against me for the evening, I still had a good time. The people there were young (between 18 and 30), but not childish or irresponsible. Everyone was sober! No alcohol was served...and despite no searches coming in, no drugs were present. (If there were any, there were very well hidden.) No one was even smoking! It was great to leave a party smelling even better than when I arrived (thanks to the constantly burning incense). The vibe in the dungeon was great! Everyone was dancing and smiling (the camera guy caught some pretty good action on the dance floor)! One guy had a tambourine that he pounded on all night!
As I was watching, I thought back to stories that my mom had told me of dances that they used to have in the basement of churches when she was younger. Perhaps I have been mislead and this is what a "rave" really is. No big name DJ's, $30 cover charges, etc...just a bunch of people congregating to let the music take over and lift their minds, bodies, and spirits to another level (completely sober).
This is definitely an event I would attend again in the future (I believe it's a monthly thing) and I would encourage others to attend as well. This is the type of "party" where you can dance, chill, have intelligent conversations, not trip over anyone sitting on the dance floor...or contemplate the meaning of life! No pressures...just fun! :)
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