By Daisy Figueroa |Staff Writer|
“The true magic of raves is in the atmosphere. Everyone is accepted, everyone is happy,” said Vicente Navarro, who has been raving for three years now. “There is such a strong sense of community and love at these events.”
San Bernardino and raves have both developed an unfortunate reputation over the years.
Southern California residents recognize the Inland Empire (I.E.) as a hub for some of the most popular electric dance concerts, or raves.
These include Insomniac’s Beyond Wonderland, Countdown NYE, Escape from Wonderland and Nocturnal Wonderland.
While these raves have developed a bad reputation, due to drug-related incidents, most attendees attest that the gatherings are not about drugs at all, but rather about a sense of love and unity.
“The atmosphere at raves is usually very happy and energetic, said frequent rave attendee Ilse Sarabia. “People have a lot of energy and it’s all about loving each other and making new friends. It is definitely all about peace and bringing everybody together no matter who you are or where you come from to enjoy EDM.”
Proposals have been made, and later denied, pertaining to the banning of raves in San Bernardino County.
Drug-related issues, noise and traffic complaints from nearby residents were the biggest reasons for the proposal.
Matt Prieshoff, chief operating officer for Live Nation in California, organizers of these raves, states that the festivals bring large amounts of money to county and local business and give jobs to local workers.
Prieshoff said that the company is committed to improving traffic and mitigating sound problems.
The Inland Empire has ideal venues for these raves other places do not offer and not taking advantage of this feature would be a disservice to the community.
“People always seem to come back to where they make great memories,” Sarabia states. “So if the I.E. hosts many events, I think people will want to come back.”
Raves encourages a sense of community, where diversity is accepted and loved. San Bernardino offers the same, making it an ideal place to host theses raves.
“The I.E. is such a big county overall and it draws a lot of people in,” CSUSB student and recent first-time raver, Yvonne Nunez said. “The diversity and culture of it allows individuals from everywhere to find a place to fit in.”
Raving has become a part of San Bernardino County’s identity.
Promoting peace, love, unity and respect, or what the rave community likes to refer to as P.L.U.R., is an essential part of these raves.
Banning raves in San Bernardino would not allow for some of those ideals to spread into the community.
Although there have been cases of drug-related deaths at raves in the Inland Empire, Insomniac has since then increased security measures at their events.
This includes TSA style searches prior to entering the events with all narcotic laws being strictly enforced.
The use or possession of any illegal drugs at Insomniac events will not be tolerated anywhere inside or outside their venues.
Insomniac events said it is “dedicated to proving a safe environment for Headliners, staff, artists and ravers alike.”
They encourage all rave attendees to stay safe and keep it P.L.U.R.