Raving On My Own

From since I can remember, I’ve loved rave culture. Probably due to my older brother being a teen in the 90s and him listening to a lot of Happy Hardcore and DnB. He even had a Helter Skelter bomber jacket which I remember thinking was THE shit when I was about 7. I rang him up about a year ago asking if he still had it because I wanted to wear it and also knew it was worth a few bob now, but his wife made him chuck it out… Gutted. 

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When Qravers asked me to take pictures at Tranzmission festival for them, I jumped at the chance. I’ve been listening to DnB, Jungle, and Garage since forever, and have been to that many raves I’ve lost count. Some legal, some not. I love it! I love the music, atmosphere and especially love the people I’ve met. It’s none judgemental and everyone is pretty sound. 

Qravers kindly gave me x2 tickets for the day, but everyone I asked was working. I was instantly hit with fear and anxiety. 1. because I’ve only been taking photography seriously for under a year, 2. could I really go to a festival by myself when I’ve suffered with low confidence and self esteem since I was a teen, 3. I’d already agreed with Qravers that I would do it and I would have felt awful backing out. 

A couple of weekends before the festival I went back home to the West Midlands to see my parents and found my old camera from when I was about 7 or 8. I brought it back down to London with me and bought some film to test it out. Whilst back home I had a bit of time to think. Something I’ve always said to my regular rave pal Kirsty, is that I’d always wanted to go to a rave by myself. She would always say “Really?” and I’d be like “Yeah! Look at all the people we meet and make friends with on a night out.” She would agree but I don’t think either of us thought I’d ever do it.

Sunday 1st September came around and I met up with the Qravers crew to get my wristband. Weirdly, I wasn’t feeling nervous or anxious and was kind of looking forward to the challenge. I brought my digital camera and film camera with me and had a walk around to take pictures of interesting people enjoying themselves and having a laugh. I was walking up to people I didn’t know and asking to take a picture of them. Something about a year a go I wouldn’t have ever been able to do. Even within my job now, I get anxious about what people think of me and what I look like, so doing this sort of thing was really a push to get me out of my comfort zone and a huge personal achievement. 

I was dancing on my own too and nobody cared! The people I asked to take pictures of all said yes and seemed really flattered and nearly all of them (who weren’t a bit worse for wear) had a conversation with me. I met a guy called Steph who was also on his own. He told me he had been at Scala the night before until 6am and had then headed down to Tranzmission festival. His trousers were handmade and lit up. He was also wearing a Raindance tee and had his handmade jacket taken off him for security reasons apparently. Hope he got it back. He’d also booked 60 events this year and had completed 40 already. The following week he had his mates 50th in Ibiza. 

I also met another lady in the Raindance tent who approached me and was smiling. She said she came to the festival by herself and just loved music. The week before she had been to Notting Hill Carnival on her own and danced to some Reggae, but she also loved Metal as well. There was also another gent who let me take his picture. He was blowing a whistle for a good half an hour. He was fun and I liked him.

To sum it up, I actually had a sick time. I want to do it again! I met some wicked people who were also raving by themselves, and I really learnt a lot about myself that day too. Struggling with mental health and self doubt has really affected me throughout my life and career. Doing this may not seem a big deal to anyone else, but it is to me and has made me aware of what I am actually capable of.

You can see a bit more of what I got up to at Tranzmission festival below. Special thanks to Qravers too!