The Strange Attraction

By DiamonDie/foobug^Numedia Cyclops^Hugi

A big hall filled with loud, banging music and some blinking lights. At one end of the venue there's a big screen displaying abstract effects. People often travel long distances to these events, sometimes even coming from another country. Ordinary people can't figure out why anyone would want to spend time there. We could be talking about a demoparty or are we talking about a rave? Those events have a lot of things in common.

Of course, there are usually no computers at raves. People go there to dance their asses off. In the end they're tired, like people tend to be after a demoparty. Raves are usually either commercial or illegal, demoparties are seldom either - though at least in Finland it seems like you actually have better chances at running into the police if you're at a demoparty than if you're at a dance event.

Raves are a much better known institution than demoparties are. You can even see ads for them in the paper, which doesn't really happen for scene events. People still seem to have misconceptions of them both. Raves are thought to be just an excuse for using drugs, "no one could bear that music sober". Demoparties are often confused with LAN parties. Both raves and demoparties are mainly about social contact - though it seems like many can't stand the latter one while being sober.

Techno scene and demoscene both have their own communities. People comment on upcoming and previous happenings and exchange photos from past events. Demosceners argue whether Haujobb is better than Farbrausch and which is the correct way to do volumetric light, Ravers compare Tiesto to Armin van Buuren and discuss best beatmatching techniques. Often it's the same people participating in both discussions. There are a lot of ravers in the demoscene and perhaps the scene has also taught new people to appreciate electronic music. Some demoscene artists are now popular club attractions.

Raves and demoparties have been combined successfully on several occasions. Assembly 2002 even featured the most popular dj's in Finland, Orkidea and Proteus. Last year the rave was held on two nights and together they added up to 11 hours of dancing and great dj's. In the earlier years of Assembly raves were held in the passages or even in the ladies' room. The Party topped that by having a rave in the sleeping hall.

Both editions of the Finnish party Simulaatio featured some banging techno action. First time the rave was in a small classroom with a strobe and a discolight. The next time the dj's just performed in the main hall with a volume that would make many people really jealous - even with ear plugs it sounded really loud in the other parts of the building. The decorations included a black light and a smoke machine.

I think almost any demoparty could do with a little rave. It doesn't matter if there are no known names spinning, you can always find sceners who know their way with decks. Just remember to ask them in advance so that they'll bring their record bags. Strobes or color lights add to the atmosphere, but they're definitely not necessary. And if the weather is good, the best place for partying is of course outdoors.

Technoparties should be spiked with demoscene influences more often. Many demos really fit well as visuals, from old Amiga products to shiny Farbrausch eye candy. I once was in a rave where the visuals consisted of a data projector and the 3D text screensaver of Windows XP, projected on a brick wall. It would have been funny had they started showing Second Reality or Kasparov. The projector in the chillout room was presenting Bubble Bobble, not a bad choice either.

Demoscene art would make for nifty party flyers (with permission, naturally), beats the busty clipart anime chicks and the million-layer 3D objects. Lokomotiv has already made ASCII and ANSI flyers. Demoparties could also use flyers for extra exposure. Evoke had a nice printed flyer, but I'm under the impression that it was only handed out on demoparties, while the PR should be spread on the street.

Almost any party could make use of a nice flyer, imagine this: "The code inside - party with computers in an exotic army location in the wilderness. 72 hours filled with electronic music and amazing visuals. Artists from all over the world, massive fire shows and cheap drinks." Oh, I almost forgot the famous stage dancer brought all the way from Norway. Give everyone a glowstick and decorate the sleeping hall with strobes, no one will ever call demoparties "boring" again.