By Kai Teo
Photos by Linn Petersson with one T
Sunrise Rave Club – Öpen Äir
18 June ‘16
Somewhere near a shooting range in Malmö
We’ve all seen a few sunrises with the lovers and friends of Sunrise Rave Club, and we’ve all understood that with the brothers, sunrise only means that the second half of their party is just kicking off.
And this time, as all other times, the journey to a Sunrise Rave is already part of the adventure. You know the story of Frodo and his friends going through all that shit to get rid of that fucking ring? That’s nothing compared to trying to get to the party. Having to navigate the perilous terrain of Malmö, missing buses, spilling wine, crawling under electric fences, crossing the dangerous streets, hunting for the elusive ATMs and finally using only audio cues to get to the destination? Now that, Tolkien, is what we call a bestseller.
So the arduous travel took us 49 days and 49 nights, and we arrived to the familiar bumpy tunes of gentle tech house in a little clearing at the foot of a hill that used to be a landfill. And honouring the Swedish tradition of generally refusing to dance unless there’s enough people on the dance floor, crowds have already gathered excitedly and were sitting in circles, drowning their shyness and insecurities with copious amounts of beer and refreshing cocktails, while talking about drinking copious amounts of beer and refreshing cocktails.
Décor at the Sunrise Raves has always been an exquisite combination of modern minimalism and sheer absurdity. A random stuffed monkey has been cruelly strapped beside the speakers and we watched in horror as its frail body shuddered with the onslaught every decibel. Colourful fabrics were scattered on the bushes with careful callousness, as if a sarong-wearing hippie has run through the undergrowth and left everything there. Other items included an umbrella, a banana, and plastic flamingos.
As we thirstily devoured our first bottle of vintage red wine salvaged from the trash, the familiar characters started to arrive in style. Here’s the girl who always takes her top off after a few drinks, and over there, we see the guy who’s always talking about how good the music is. If you look over to the corner, yep, that’s the Jesus dude who’s actually Muslim, and beside him, you’ll see the friend who’s always walking on marshmallows.
It’s the ultimate expression of freedom, Swedish style – still very polite, with a slight phobia for interaction with strangers, until they get drunk.
Over the course of the evening, the DJs delivered uplifting tunes of extreme happiness, punctuated by reflective moments of deep, dark beats, before turning it all around by throwing in a bit of swing and randomness. If we had to put a finger on the general genre, it’ll be called “fun”.
And as the night fell, the dances got wilder, the number of tall people standing at the front increased, and the people who really wanted to eat out each others’ tits out but were too fucked to get home also displayed their passions frivolously. It was a beautiful, hot mess of just about a sprinkle of everything glittery.
My evening was filled with numerous “unknowingly racist” folks asking if I’m Indian. I had to constantly clarify that Indians are people from India and even though I love Goa, I’m not from there. Oh, you meant Red Indian. Well, Native Americans were mistakenly called Indians because the great explorer Columbus fucked up when he first arrived at the newfound land and thought he had reached India. And no, I’m not that either.
And just because I’m wearing neon colours doesn’t mean I would know where to procure psychedelic substances. If I had acid on me, it would be in me. But good try though.
To many, the Sunrise Rave is seen as the promised land of the free, a place where we can be truly who we want to be, and do whatever the fuck we want to do. The rave is like the future that we’ve always wanted to create for ourselves, and our children. But really, are we ready for 100% freedom? Does it mean that without the usual rules of society, I can shit on the dance floor? Does freedom mean that I can go up to anyone and stroke their inner thighs as an expression of love?
Well, for this whole freedom thing to work, I’ve learnt that there still has to be one principle we could all abide by, “Your freedom ends where another person’s freedom begins.” Just because this person doesn’t want to kiss you doesn’t mean that they’re not being free. And just because this person is not as high as you are doesn’t mean that they’re being uptight. Freedom is only maximised when everyone has their own freedom to enjoy, be what they want to be, without harassing another person, or being harassed by one.
You can fuck a watermelon on the dance floor, that’s all cool. As long as it’s not my watermelon. And if you get a kick out of seeing another person eat that watermelon, provide the fact that the watermelon has been fucked, and then ask politely with no judgement and expectations. Now, that’s how we do this freedom thing.
And dudes, when 2 girls are making out furiously, they really don’t want you to be commenting on how hot they are, because they already know. And no, they don’t want you to be part of it. If they did, they would’ve already told you.
Ok, back to the music.
As the relentless tunes wore our brains out and drained the energy from our legs, the sun slowly crept out from behind the trees, bathing the rave in a sea of golden rays. For those who had been grinding their jaws incessantly, this was the time they felt obliged to stop for fear of being judged. This was the time where we could finally see people’s faces and exchange smiles. And this was also a good time to see what everyone had dropped on the floor.
And it got warm again, just like the day before. Except that this time, we’ve run out of lines, out of wines, and out of dimes. And as usual, the Sunrise Rave has out-raved us. Years of festival training wasn’t enough to prepare me for their superhuman party stamina. As we left the bass behind, we knew that it wouldn’t be long before we watch the sunrise together again.
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