Raver is a person who regularly goes to raves. Raves are an organized dance party at a nightclub, outdoor festival, warehouse, or other private property typically featuring performances by DJs, playing a seamless flow of electronic dance music. DJs at rave events play electronic dance music on vinyl, CDs and digital audio from a wide range of genres, including techno, hardcore, house, bassline, dubstep, New Beat and post-industrial. Ravers commonly wear clothing that is bright and/or neon coloured.


Madchester, the predecessor to modern raver culture, is a musical and cultural scene that developed in the English city of Manchester in the late 1980s. It saw artists merging alternative rock with elements of acid house, rave music, psychedelia, and 1960s pop. In many ways, the Madchester scene laid the groundwork for today's Raver aesthetic. Madchester's decline gave way to the Britpop sound that became popular in the mid-to-late 90's thanks to bands like Blur and Oasis. However, more infamously, Madchester was known for having a very rich drug scene, with the popular drug of choice being Ecstacy (aka MDMA/Molly/E); in fact, Madchester band The Shamen put out a song called "Ebeneezer Goode" which was coded to be all about dropping E.

Fashion (most commonly worn/suggested)

Madchester fashion is the main reason for another name for the genre; Baggy. Baggy pants and shorts were very popular back in Madchester's heyday and were often accompanied by tye-dye shirts of some sort. It can best be described as equal parts Raver, Hippie/Retro (for its time, not retro as we'd define it today), and Soccer Hooligan. Over time, however, as Madchester/raver culture became more mainstream, raver fashion started evolving into something completely different as it moved away from the warehouse parties of old into larger venues and outdoor spaces. Some of the new raver fashion that's come about includes:

  • Kandi
  • Comfortable Shoes
  • Breathable Clothing
  • Backpack / Fanny Pack
  • Hydration Pack
  • Face Mask / Bandana
  • Sunglasses
  • Face Glitter & Jewels
  • Neon / UV Reactive Gear
  • Fluffy Hoodies
  • Glow-in-the-dark Accessories

Raver Vendors


There are many genres of music that have their association with the Raver aesthetic, such as:

Drum 'n Bass

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Hardcore (also known as hardcore techno) is a subgenre of electronic dance music based in Belgian New Beat industrial style of Techno, that originated in the Netherlands in the 1990s. It is distinguished by faster tempos (160 to 200 BPM or more), the intensity of the kicks and the synthesized bass (in some subgenres), the rhythm and the atmosphere of the themes (sometimes violent), the usage of saturation and experimentation close to that of industrial dance music. It would spawn subgenres such as gabber.


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As described above, Madchester music combined alternative rock with acid house, techno, psychedelica, and the 1960's pop sound, with some of the big bands in the scene primarily coming from Manchester (hence the name). The music first started gaining headway from a club called the Haçienda (owned by members of legendary New Wave band New Order) and kicked off what came to be known as The Second Summer of Love. Bands within the genre include:

  • Happy Mondays
  • The Stone Roses
  • Inspiral Carpets
  • The Shamen
  • EMF
  • The Charlatans
  • 808 State
  • The Mock Turtles

The Shamen, Phorever people, Directed by Richard Heslop, 1992

If you need Madchester distilled into video form... here you go.

It was being predicted at the time that Madchester would become the defining sound of the 90's... but the 90's had other plans, as we all know by now. But, eventually, the Madchester sound eventually gave way to the rise of Shoegaze and Britpop; so while Madchester didn't become the decade-defining sound that Grunge turned out to be, it did continue to be an incredibly influential genre of music in its own right (arguably ahead of its time).

As time went on, however, the psychedelica and indie rock vibes started falling away from the Raver sound in favor of a more purely electronic sound, which gave rise to techno, trance, jungle, drum 'n bass, and so on until we arrived into the era of modern EDM, which can be split into its own subgenres.

Mainstream Hardcore

Mainstream Hardcore is a subgenre of hardcore techno. The essence of mainstream hardcore sound is a distorted bass drum sound, overdriven to the point where it becomes clipped into a distorted square wave and makes a recognizably melodic tone.


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Spotify playlist


The Madchester scene has actually inspired a lot of classic movies, chief among them being 24 Hour Party People (2002) and Trainspotting (1996).


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