Halfway up a mountain in Andalusia, early noughties; I spot admist the crowd of mad ravers in a tranced frenzy, a distressed toddler crying, and perpetually calling out “mama!”
Rave culture was never just about popping out to a club to wave your arms in the air, and hug complete strangers on a Friday night, it was a way of life. A way of life which had engulfed me at this point, with a good fifteen years under my belt.
I’d done that, got the T-shirt and worn it out. So-much-so, no matter what my state of mind, I was capable of finding moral standing. I jumped to my feet from where we were “chilling” to assist in a way I wasn’t quite sure of, I just knew I couldn’t sit there and watch the child in meltdown.
A hand on my shoulder stopped me, a trusty friend advised me not to get involved. She was right, the mum could be anywhere in this humongous techno fiesta, probably didn’t speak English and, what is more, would be too “off her face” to be concerned.
Heartbroken I tore myself away from the sight, consoled myself there was little I could’ve done.
As much as I loved free party raving, I have to admit it’s probably not the best environment for a toddler. It’d take a strong mentality to withhold parental responsibility when all about you is hedonism and mayhem.
There then is the plight of the last great youth culture, like all previous trends, we grew up, we had kids and now the fragments of that once proud scene consist of the odd occasion where you perchance to hire a babysitter but spend most of your time reminiscing about your car breaking down at Castlemorton with some delinquent dribbling clubber, or such like fable, Uncle Albert style.
However, the times are a changin’ you soppy old ruffneck ting, and there’s a growing fad sweeping the nation which allows the hardcore massive turned mom or dad to shove their, let’s face it, mostly harmless ways of misspent youth down the throat of their impressionable nipper; and why not?!
Raver Tots host “family raves” where kids and grownups can hit the dance floor together.
The kids, and I’m gathering parents too, are supplied with endless entertainment; face painting, UV lights, bubbles, balloons, confetti and giant parachutes, all in a rave style atmosphere.
They book some of the UK’s top DJ’s of yore including residents Artful Dodger, Brandon Block, Slipmatt & Nicky Blackmarket, attracting up to 1,500 people.
Rave Tots events have proved successful, selling out up to 3 months in advance.
Closest to here is one on the 4th February at the Bath Pavilion with Nicky Blackmarket playing classic drum ‘n’ bass with MC Chalky. And 8th April at Swindon’s Mecca with DJ Slipmatt.
Founded by Mike Pickets in 2017, Raver Tots has an ongoing charitable interest and supports an array of charities that help children with Autism and ADHD.
They advise ear defenders can be worn although the music is kept to safe levels and club lights are in “rave style” but no strobe lights are used. A maximum of three adults are permitted per child but you can’t get in without a child, insuring this is a totally family atmosphere.
What a brilliant idea, I salute the organisers of Raver Tots and I’m pleased to see just because rave has come of age, there’s acceptable outlets keeping the vibe alive in their own, individual way, keen to note though, this isn’t completely unique, Bestival innovating family festival vibes since 2004.
Bestival increased this ethos by hosting spin-off club events of a similar nature called “big fish, little fish family raves,” and they’re at the Neeld Community Centre in Chippenham on the 10th March.
They describe the events as being, “designed as much for grown ups as for children; daft, social, anarchic and a whole load of fun for everyone together.” Which is, in a nutshell, what rave was all about to begin with!
Bath Pavillion 4th Feb:
Neeld, Chippenham 10th March:
Swindon Mecca 8th April