by: Jennifer Ibarra
I spent all of undergrad sticking my nose up at the party scene.
I had bought into the preconceived notion that if I went to a club, a party, a rave, I would inevitably throw off my focus and flunk out of college.
I know, it sounds ridiculous. It wasn’t until I graduated that I finally asked one of my closest girlfriends if she would do the honors of taking me to my first rave: Escape 2018.
Instantly, I fell in love with the scene. That night, I learned that raves were not a reflection of all that I had heard previously. Instead, these events were truly about enjoying the music with people that you love and care about.
Fast forward to December 2021 and I had accumulated a few raves under
my belt. I must admit that I hadn’t attended many, but enough to want to tackle
the big one, EDC. I asked one of my most spontaneous girlfriends to go with me
and she agreed.
Attending the event four months pregnant, this would be her final goodbye to the electric sky before motherhood, aka baby’s first rave.
We live on opposite ends of the country, so reuniting in Vegas meant so
much more than attending a music festival. I was thrilled to experience so many
firsts with my friend by my side, but plans didn’t go as expected.
Like many other groups there, we separated briefly to go to different booths. That first night of EDC was unexpectedly windy and freezing.
So we decided that she would go wait in line to buy herself a sweater while I watched Seven Lions at KineticFIELD.
We established a meeting point, where we never found each other. I didn’t
understand how this could have happened to us.
Sure, you hear about this kinda thing, but I thought we planned enough to prevent this.
After looking for her for about 40 minutes, I accepted defeat and decided to go on a solo journey. PLUR: peace, love, unity, and respect. If you haven’t had the opportunity to be at the receiving end of PLUR, you might think it’s some corny cliché.
The idea of PLUR was one of the only things that kept me calm that night and prevented me from running back to my car out of fear.
Being in Las Vegas alone from the hours of 12:00 a.m.- 5:00 a.m., as a 25 year old woman, wasn’t exactly my ideal situation.
I realize now, it was such a blessing in disguise. I made some of the most memorable moments of my life with people that I would have otherwise not had the opportunity to meet and create connection with.
After Seven Lions, I continued with the schedule my friend and I had mapped out earlier in the night. I found my first group of new friends on my way to Ilan Bluestone’s set in Quantum Valley.
Walking alone, I was greeted by five men visiting from Australia. They were matching in colorful tops, beaming with smiles, and welcomed me into their party, which was headed to Fischer after Ilan Bluestone.
I joined them and suddenly the night didn’t feel so lonely after all. I had never felt safer with a group of men that I met for the first time.
After sharing laughs and dancing, we said our goodbye’s, as I wanted to stay through completion of Ilan’s set.
Eventually, I made my way to Fischer’s stage and shuffled to the front of
the crowd with ease, since I was alone. I was greeted by my next, new friend: a
music producer, attending in support of one of the performers.
He was simultaneously taking care of a young woman who had partied a little too hard, and as I watched how he cared for her when she was so vulnerable, I understood I was in a safe space.
We had great conversation, danced, and enjoyed the music until 4:00 am. When closing ceremony was starting, the wind had picked back up and I was visibly cold.
Apparently, a two-piece suit, equivalent to the size of a bikini, isn’t so warm after all. He offered me the shirt off of his back so that I could be warm.
I couldn’t believe strangers were capable of being so nice, without expecting anything in return.
I decided to leave 15 minutes before Day 1 ended, in hopes of beating some foot traffic. I left, still wearing his shirt with plans of meeting up with his group, and my girlfriend, for Day 2.
On the long walk back to the car, another large group of 8 approached me to ask if I was okay, needed any assistance, or wanted their company walking back to my vehicle.
The offer was genuine and sweet, and I took them up on it. When I got to my car, after walking for what felt like forever, I was greeted by my friend who was wrapped in a giant, fuzzy blanket.
We shared both of our stories from the night, as we ate Chik-fil-A on the
drive back to our hotel.
We enjoyed Day 2 and 3 together, having the best time, but I’ll always be thankful for the peace, love, unity, and respect that so many kind strangers showed me when I was alone and a little afraid.
About the Author: Jennifer Ibarra
Jennifer is an Intern Pharmacist in her last year of Pharmacy School in Californina. She enjoys pole dancing, weightlifting, and laying out at the beach. She expresses creativity through writing poetry, styling outfits for events, and choreographing dances in her spare time.
Wow 🤩 love this. Makes me want to finally commit to a rave. And Jennifer ls style is amazing ✨