Dæmian Garett

Rave Archaeology

a personal narrative

It was the summer of 1995. I had spent a year raving every weekend, becoming a naïve musicologist of electronic music and a quasi-sociologist of rave subculture.


Rave flyers (1995) - CLOSE UPS of flyers are here and here . Dæmian Garett

But I became tired of bumming rides to Denver (about 40 minutes from Boulder), and I did not understand why my hometown was not producing its own parties. There was a habit among my peers to look toward Denver for its bigger productions and to adulate out-of-state DJs. I thought we could do much better in Boulder throwing smaller and more intimate events, with more cultural content, while using strictly local DJs to keep production costs feasible.

The result was a series of special multi-media all-nighters, the likes of which Boulder had never before seen. My hope was to spur more promoters and cultivate a real scene; but the trend over the following years mostly followed Denver’s blockbuster model. There were some other crews throwing parties after Event Horizon’s debut summer (notably Mother Earth Sound System and the Humble Souls), although aside from hanging art, using wonderful outdoor venues, or booking some instrumental accompaniments, subsequent parties never approached the range of my ORBIT concept.

ORBIT featured: performance artists (who cleared the dance floor temporarily and created/disassembled installations over the course of the night), sitar and tablas players, a second-hand clothing boutique, art exhibits, group-painting walls, live electronic music sets, smart-drink bar, live VJ projections (using real film-reel loops), didjeridu and exotic instrument performances, et al.

It was a short ‘summer of love’ in Boulder. I became a promoter very fast, and I diligently got up in the middle of the night during the week to hand out fliers outside clubs. I had a grip of fliers in my back pocket everywhere I went. When I saw potential participants, I would walk up and ask them presumptively, ‘Have you heard about ORBIT yet!?’ The attendance reached the optimal 300+ range. The main event space was a wood-floored dance studio in downtown Boulder; it only had small windows and the walls soon glistened with condensing humidity from the dancers. I created, organized and promoted these events single-handedly – and it was one of the most enriching projects I ever attempted.

In the fall of 1995, my Mother went to travel in India for the first time and I enrolled in college. My raving life came to an end, and I began a 13-year academic career. A couple years later, after studying in France and England and living in Amsterdam for two months, I grew passionate about literary theory and continental Philosophy. It was fun to relate materials discussing ‘postmodernism’ with my direct experiences with the music, folklore and angst of DJ culture, which I had impacted in my own small way. I often wondered how the ORBIT parties may have inspired the party-goers in their own postmodern world-views.