Credit: gemeente velsen
In the late 1950s in London the term "Rave" was used to describe the "wild bohemian parties" of the Soho beatnik set. In 1958 Buddy Holly recorded the hit "Rave On," citing the madness and frenzy of a feeling and the desire for it to never end. The word "rave" was later used in the burgeoning mod youth culture of the early 1960s as the way to describe any wild party in general. People who were gregarious party animals were described as ''ravers''.
Nowadays a ''rave really'' means an illegal party, somewhere at a secret location, which is spread trough social media a day before it is being held.
The rave is free of cost, and everyone who is party-minded is welcome to come. The host makes sure there is a location and a DJ. The "ravers" make sure there is alcohol and drugs.
So the Dutch have found quite interesting places for raves to be held. Underground bunkers remaining from world war ll. Most of them were closed after the war. They were closed with brick walls or some were turned into a museum. People who are interested in these bunkers would actually break trough the walls and go inside. Hoping to find some Nazi materials left behind or just experiencing the atmosphere of these bunkers. So as time went by the bunkers would be discovered by ravers. They would prepare the location by digging out a bunch of rubble, setting up a DJ booth and fixing some lights to fight the darkness.
I got the chance to experience one of these raves.
On friday I received an invitation trough social media. The location was shown in Google maps, somewhere along the coastline in the dunes where there are lots of bunkers. They actually did their research since they knew the origin of the location: Baupunkt 82, M244 Fire Control post for a heavy AA Gun site. Pretty cool if you ask me.
It said it would start from 5pm on saturday, until 10am the next day. I thought that was a little bit too much for me. So I decided to join the party at 00:00.
Not knowing what to expect, I parked my car nearby and had to walk trough the dunes for about 5 minutes. At first, I wasn't sure if I was in the right location. I didn't hear any music. But then it made sense to me. It's underground. Which makes it harder to find for the police. Most of the illegal raves are stopped after a few hours since the police gets notified. Pretty good chance you'll last longer in a location such as this one. Finally I saw some people standing on a dune and I asked them if this was the place. They said yes. To get inside you had to squat the first 20 steps. It was kind of a shocker at first. There were approximately 200 people inside. The music was loud. There was Techno pumping trough the speakers. It felt really claustrophobic since it was so full of people and the ceiling isn't very high. The oxygen level inside was way lower then outside, it was pretty hot. And the first few people in ran into were full of XTC and it looked like they were going to have a heart attack anytime soon. So the first 10 minutes I wanted to get out. But I decided to stay in and give it some more time. I walked/squatted/crouched around a bit to look for the exits and see the different rooms. At one point I went to far and ended up in a completely dark part of the bunker by myself. Imagine getting lost down there. So I turned back around and joined the party.
After settling myself and knowing the area I felt a bit more comfortable, I actually thought this was about the sickest location I ever been too for a party. It was pretty unique and awesome. The people who looked like they were getting a heart attack were actually really nice and shared their beers with me. The crowd was really diverse from people who looked like they were there when raves originated back in 1960 to normal college kids. The atmosphere was pretty awesome. Everyone had the same purpose: Raving!
A few things did concern me. What if something happens? Let's say a fight breaks out, the bunker collapses, or too many people come in. There is no guest list. There is no security. The place was packed right now with about 200 people. What if 300 would show up. It would be a recipe for disaster. And there were a lot of people at the rave under the influence of XTC and Cocaine. Me in all my soberness almost got lost in the endless tunnels of these bunkers. So what if those people decide to take a walk. Most likely you'll never find them again. I haven't heard or read any reports about this happening during a rave. But I think there is a pretty good chance some of these things will happen in the near future.
Looking past the risks of raving in an underground bunker, for me, it was totally worth it. The atmosphere is so unique, you have to visit one.
After a few hours I was sweating like a pig from dancing and i decided it was time to go home. I thanked the people who invited me and told them I would be at the next one for sure!
The day after I heard it got shut down by the police at 09:30. Someone who was walking his dog in the morning gave them a call. The consequences for the host are unknown.
I hope they will be spared and I will be checking my social media for the next invite!