One of Colorado's biggest massives is going off tonight and tomorrow at Red Rocks. We're talking, of course, about the hotly anticipated two-day edition of Global Dance Festival. If you've always been curious about dance music and are wondering if this is a good opportunity to indulge in it, let us assure you: It is.
But before you pack up your glow sticks and head up to the foothills, we've got a few pieces of advice for you first-time party kids. Hit the break for ten tips to have a safe, sane and thoroughly awesome time dancing your ass off in a natural wonderland.
1) Be yourself. The dance-music scene is incredibly welcoming to newcomers, but no one likes a poser. Don't feel like you need to dress up in some hastily constructed "raver costume" based on something you saw on 60 Minutes five years ago. Chances are you will just look like an ass and induce snickers from passersby. On the other hand, dress like you always do, and it will likely be obvious to many that it's your first time. Ravers love first-timers and are far more likely to take you under their wing than if you're trying to be something you're not.
2) Be nice. Like we said, the dance-music scene is super-friendly, but you need to give back the same vibe. Don't stare at people doing what appears to you to be "weird shit," don't make snide comments about the at-times unusual fashion sense on display, and don't stick your nose where it doesn't belong. You know, the basic things your mom taught you (or should have). When in doubt, the rule is simple: Don't be a dick.
3) Be smart. We all know that there are certain things being ingested for their exotic effects. That doesn't mean it's a good idea. The promoters and security will kick you out if they see you engaging in illicit activity. Actually, they won't kick you out; they'll turn you over to the cops. And buying something from some random dude in the parking lot and swallowing it could leave you sick or dead. That's a bad trip no matter how you cut it. People do what people do, but whatever you do, just be smart about it.
4) Make some friends. If you've only ever been to rock shows, you are going to be amazed at how friendly and outgoing people are. Take advantage of this and make a new friend/guide. It's amazing how much more fun you'll have when you can ask your new friend what something means, why that guy is doing that weird thing and what the hell the DJ is actually doing up there to make that constant, irresistible oomph-oomph-oomph.
5) Yes, those girls are as young as they look. So stop staring. And for God's sake, don't try to pick any of them up. You do not want to be that guy. As far as we know, Chris Hansen doesn't run pedophile sting operations at raves, but he could. Besides, those girls are there to dance, not get picked up by some sleazy dude. They wear skimpy clothing because they can feel safe doing it (like we said, it's a pretty friendly crowd), not to get your attention. Really. (P.S.: It's moderately okay to stare at the go-go dancers, and they are all of legal age, so enjoy).
6) Dance! Even if your primary interest is in checking out the scene, you should really dance. If you're wondering why everyone seems to be having a better time than you and you're just standing around with your arms crossed, that's why. It's dance music -- you will never really get it if you don't dance. Don't worry about what you look like. People only watch two kinds of dancers: the incredibly good and the unbelievably bad. Despite what you think, you are almost certainly not bad enough to be funny. And if you are, you will bring much joy to those around you, but since they are so nice, they almost certainly won't laugh in your face. Stop being self-conscious and let the music take you.
7) Drink water. Lots of it. Dancing will make you sweat a lot. Alcohol and other inebriants will dehydrate you. Red Rocks is at a higher elevation than downtown D-town. All of these things make it really easy to get dangerously dehydrated, even more so than at a typical rock show. Drink water. Bottled water tends to be pricey, but it's cheaper than a trip to the emergency room for heat stroke. And there are fountains down by the bathrooms near the main stage if you're really that cheap.
8) No matter how good an idea it seems, don't climb the rocks. If the moment really hits you and you start feeling like the king of the world (or queen, whatever), you are going to be tempted to climb those beautiful rocks, maybe even taking your clothes off first. Do. Not. Do. That. We've all been tempted. It is not a good idea. Best-case scenario is security throws you out. Worst case scenario ... can you say multiple contusions, skull fractures and a broken neck? Not if you're dead, you can't.
9) Glow sticks are fun! They might seem a little silly and look a little retarded when everyone else is swinging them around, but they're actually pretty fun to dance with in your hands, at least the first couple of times. Also, do not break them open and drink them, no matter how good an idea it seems at the time. We've all been there, too, but it's only mildly safer than trying to climb the rocks.
10) Check out a variety of music. There's a lot more going on than just the main stage where the headliners are playing. And despite what detractors and noobs think, all dance music does not sound alike. If you're not digging what you hear, wander off to another area and see what's going on there. There's the main stage, another stage at the top of the rocks, and a third down the stairs on the west side. Stop by all of them and see what suits your fancy.
Global Dance Fest Cliff Notes (or, some things you might want to check out)
bt - Saturday 6 p.m. Main Stage - The superstar producer helped push [trance] to its lushest, most symphonic and bombastic heights, and his tracks are among the most recognizable and iconic in the genre.
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Infected Mushroom - Friday, 10 p.m. Main Stage - Mixing in everything from metal guitars to gamelan sounds and layering the whole acid-damaged mess over typical hard trance beats and squiggling synth lines...
Kaskade - Saturday, 9:45 p.m. Main Stage - An unusual blend of disco-kissed deep house and big-room trance ... balance[d] into a unified whole, leaning heavily on female vocals and sexy bass lines to tie it all together.
Savoy - Friday, 8:30 p.m. - Pure, fist-pumping, anthemic electro, but there are layers there -- subtle touches and more dynamic range than you might suspect Global Bass Stage - all night, both days - Lots of mostly local talent here, playing a variety of bass-heavy, gut-punching urban dance music, most notably dubstep, an up-and-coming genre that's really taken root in Denver.