As the underground techno and house scene in the United States continues to grow, it’s vitally important that every single person involved understands proper etiquette and rules of conduct when attending such events.
By definition alone, the moment the “underground” isn’t underground anymore it ceases to exist, and all it takes is careless behavior to bring unnecessary light to great events occurring in your city. Promoters are undoubtedly responsible for ensuring that every single event they put on is planned and executed with attendee safety as a first priority, but they also need your help in ensuring that the event goes smoothly and becomes one of a series, rather than a single burning flame destined for no future.
Here is the truth: promoters bear an incredible amount of risk putting on underground events, often dealing with months of preparation that include long negotiations to book lineups featuring your favorite artists, finding and securing safe venues, staffing the event adequately to service your needs, organizing day/night-of logistics and of course ensuring that it all goes smoothly when it’s crunch time. The emotional, physical and financial stress is not small, and when all is said or done it’s the promoter that puts everything at risk in an effort to put on an event that hopefully becomes a night you will remember for time to come. Don’t forget that almost every single nightlife and electronic music promoter on this planet is a raver and music fan just like you, and that it’s the love for the music and movement that drives them to do what they do.
So where do you come in the equation? Simple: it take the effort of every single person involved with an event, from the promoter on down to each attendee, to keep the underground alive and… underground. Here are some things you can do to keep the underground alive:
Keep The Address to Yourself
This may seem obvious to some, but you cannot imagine how many times people violate this one simple rule. Keep the address to yourself and share it only with those you trust. Absolutely never ever post it on any form of social media.
If you’re getting hit up for the address by a Facebook acquaintance whom you’ve never met you should question the circumstances and, for the sake of the party, not share it anyways. If they are truly looking to attend they can get it from the right sources, period.
Be Smart When Arriving
Try to take a cab, Uber or Lyft when going to an underground event. The more cars are parked around the venue the higher the likelihood of the location getting noticed. Also ensure you park in a legal spot, again to detract attention from the area.
When you arrive do not loiter outside your car or venue. Don’t make unnecessary noise. Park and make your way into the venue as swiftly as you can, without pre-partying there. The pre-party/pre-game should be done at home and before arriving to the location.
Social Media Can Kill an Event
Social media is a double edged sword. It serves as organic promotion for a well-executed event of almost any kind, but can be the easiest way to ensure an underground event gets shut down. Here are some big no-no’s to consider:
- Disable your cell phone “Location” settings if you can
- Avoid check-in at an underground event on Facebook.
- Do not go “LIVE” at an underground event, ever.
Our cell phones come equipped with super-accurate GPS tracking which, coupled with social media networks’ geo-tagging, make it the perfect way to locate where you are checking in from or where your live stream is coming from, whether it’s through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
While disabling location services and ensuring your app settings do not share your location are a way of getting around this problem, the truth of the matter is that most people will not go through the lengths of doing this prior to every underground they attend. In fact most do not even know how to in the first place.
At the end of the day it boils down to this one simple question: why risk ruining the party for yourself and everyone just for the sake of some social media likes?
Keep Videos and Photos to a Minimum or Take None Altogether
I love Berghain’s no photo policy. The underground should be a place of escape, where every single person on the dance floor can be themselves without worrying about ending up on someone’s video or in the background of a group photo.
Due to the very same geo-tagging technology mentioned above, photos and videos taken with your cell phone can be traced, giving up the location of where they were taken. This remains valid even when you upload them to social media later. I can tell you from personal experience that this does happen, as I have had a venue cancel days before an underground as it was “discovered” using this method.
Also if you’re going to use your phone or camera please do not under any circumstance use your flash. This is a big no-no as it’s distracting and disrespectful. This is a rule that frankly applies to all nightlife events of any kind.
It is likely that the promoters are paying professional staff to take photos and videos of the event all while taking the necessary security precautions in doing so. Therefore if you must post something on social media just share the professional footage that will be posted in the days following the event.
Do NOT Harass, Abuse or Discriminate
There is no place for any sort of harassment, abuse or discrimination in the dance music community, and especially so in the underground. Never forget the origins of house music: it was a movement born in the black-latino urban gay clubs of Chicago, later spreading to similar communities elsewhere in the country and the world.
Treat everyone around you with respect and do not hesitate to report harassment, abuse or discrimination of any kind to security or staff at the venue. Underground events should be a safe space where people do not have to worry about any such treatment.
Do not forget to dance, it’s what you’re there for. The underground isn’t a space to hump people or to be flashy with bottles or the latest fashion trends. Everyone is equal on the dance floor.
Realize that YOU Are a Part of The Movement
Yes, you and everyone else around you on the dance floor are integral and key part of the underground dance music movement in your city, region, country and world. Your actions, or inactions, have a big role in the growth and expansion of the scene you yourself love and are a part of, which is why it’s key to follow the above points.
Music is and should always be the focus of any underground dance music event. Social media, popularity, getting laid or general intoxicated debauchery should never be a distraction that takes away from the musical escape and experience.
Do your part in keeping the underground alive in your city and you will be rewarded with better lineups, improved productions and a prosperous movement you can enjoy weekend in, weekend out.
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