What does it take to be a raver? On the contrary to popular belief, there are so many divergent types of ravers. There are the “Kandi Kids”, quite easy to spot, because they are usually the ones covered with crafted bracelets and colorful clothing. Then we have the “wooks” which are kinda like the chill hippies you see walking around. Let’s not forget those crazy “headbangers” ideally known for vigorously throwing their heads back and forth when the drop hits. Last, but certainly not least, we have the good ole music lovers who come for the music, live for the music, and crave for more music.
Although living in opposite ends of the globe, I was still able to interview 21 year old Aurélie Thissen, all the way from Liege, Belgium! Aurélie has been a music loving raver since 2011. Too bad we aren’t born EDM enthusiasts, we all have to start somewhere right? Some ears fall for rock, indie, hip-hop, soul etc. whatever it is that instills that feeling we can’t shake off. At just around 11 years, Aurélie was already discovering all types of sounds and genres.
“When I was a kid I always liked that type of music. I remember harassing my mom all the time to buy me CD’s that had a combination of several EDM artists; I discovered everything and I loved it and listened to it on repeat.”
Music festivals will always be a carefree reason to isolate oneself from responsibilities of a busy schedule. It doesn’t matter where we are in the world, because at some point in time, we are all willing to drop everything for a brief escape. Even though Aurélie has lived through many festival experiences, the main thing that keeps drawing her back for more is the addictive sound of live music. I’m totally with her on that one, it’s nearly electrifying to feel the literal beats thudding from the speakers and through your body.
Just because raves and festivals exist worldwide does not mean everyone goes about them in the same way. Different countries carry different cultures; this same concept is also applied within the rave scene. The U.S. rave culture can be described as a little more eccentric, while the European side is actually quite simple. It mostly excludes concepts like Kandi, costumes, PLUR, flowing etc. but of course that doesn’t mean it’s anything to get upset about, it just shows the cultural contrast.
“I love to be comfortable, because I know that during a festival I will be up for hours jumping and dancing, so I try to stay simple. Those crazy festival outfits don’t really exist here in Europe, that’s more of American edm culture. Over here it’s more about the music, having fun, drinking with friends; so the clothes are not that much cared about.”
However, there are exceptions in cases where we have a cultural melting pot uniting together like one of the biggest EDM festivals worldwide – Tomorrowland. Aurélie informed me that Tomorrowland is the only time of the year where she gets to experience some of the American rave scene, considering this is the biggest electronic music event that draws ravers from neighboring countries including the U.S.
“When people mix you discover other people’s cultures from different areas.”
A Tomorrowland Adventure
It’s no secret that Tomorrowland is every true ravers ultimate dream. With huge artists, insane decor, and new people it’s definitely an experience to add to the bucket list. Aurélie, on the other hand, gets to live this dream every year! It has become her sort of annual “tradition” with her squad, “I had two different crews on both weekends; so it as two completely different experiences, each one incomparable to the other.”
“Tomorrowland, they care about every little detail it’s very impressive. It improves every year, and every year you leave the festival wondering ‘how can it even get better?’ and they deliver. I like that it’s always an awesome experience even though I have already been a few times.”
I don’t think I have met a bigger Jauz fan than this Belgian! He’s right on the top of her favorite artist list. So, there was no question to it when I asked her who she saw at Tomorrowland:
“Obviously Jauz. I love Jauz and I love his music. I’m a huge fan of this guy, but even if I saw him already like three times, three times is just not enough. I also went to see Excision, I really had to see him, because it was my first time. Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike is quite like a tradition for us since we have common friends we say ‘hello’ to them sometimes. Seven Lions, oh he got us crying, we really weren’t disappointed at all. I also saw Getter, Slushii, and Snails for the first time.”
After Aurélie checked off all the artists she wanted to see this year, she did what any music lover does – wonder around the festival grounds listening to music playing nearby, and let that be the decision of the next show.
No Aurélie isn’t that festie girl running around in glitter (no shame, I love glitter), but she does have her own trademark look for these events…
“When I go to festivals or small parties [raves] I get bracelets, so I have tons of them. Sometimes artists make bracelets with their names, so I have festival bracelets, artist bracelets, everything you name it. I only put them on when I go to festivals, it would be impossible and very complicated to live with them every day. I really need to wash them after every festival, because everybody’s going through the crowd and you get beer on you, you get vodka, you get champagne [from DJ’s poppin’ bottles] and there’s even mud sometimes.”
“I’ve met a lot of cool people and made friends since people come up to us and start asking about the bracelets I collect, it feels nice and even a little funny, so we kept putting them on, and now it’s like a must when I go to concerts or festivals.”
“They’re colorful and full of memories – that’s why I wear them.”
Behind the Scenes
There’s no doubt that Aurélie lives a pretty adventurous and exciting lifestyle. One look through her Instagram is solid proof of that! However, one thing we don’t get to see is what goes on in an ordinary day in her shoes. What are ultimate ravers like outside of their scene?
As a full time student and a part time adventurer, you wouldn’t think she has room to take on anything else. However, you’ll be surprised to learn that Aurélie is also a tour manager for European DJ and producer Vinz Kanté. What can’t this girl do?!
A busy schedule tends to prevent her from doing things she used to enjoy, like sketching some of her favorite artists, but she still loves to share her work. Check out some of her drawings of David Guetta and Avicii below!
“A normal day in the life is actually really different. I’m a social assistant student, so I just go to school during the day, and when I return I’m so tired I just eat, work if I need to, then go to sleep and do it all again tomorrow. I used to have a lot of hobbies, I love to sing and have been singing since I was 5 years old; I was also drawing a lot back then.
“Festivals are the only fresh air I can get out of my days.”