Though I consider myself a fan of electronic dance music, I hadn’t heard of the PLUR movement until I went to a rave for the first time a few years ago. Walking into what had previously been a candy factory, I was inundated with banners, T-shirts, and homemade tattoos proudly showcasing the letters “P.L.U.R.”
Already feeling out of my element, my mind reeled with the possibilities: Is PLUR the DJ? Or a mascot? Maybe it’s a drug? Yeah, it’s probably a drug.
“It’s a lifestyle,” stated the girl standing next to me, decorated with candy bracelets and glow-in-the-dark paint. If PLUR had been a drug, she would have been on it. Eager to induct me into rave culture, she took my face in her neon pink hands and looked at me with glassy, unfocused eyes. “PLUR. It means peace, love, unity, and respect.”
She slid a candy bracelet onto my wrist, kissed me on the forehead, and released me into the crowd like a bird with a newly healed wing. “Party on!”
The first whispers of PLUR began in the late 80’s when American rave culture was essentially nonexistent. At the forefront was DJ Frankie Bones who took every opportunity to spread these tenets in the hopes of creating a safe and supportive EDM community. The movement came to head in 1990 when a fight broke out at Bones’ and Adam X’s Storm Rave in New York City.
Bones stopped the concert and so eloquently delivered the line, “If you don’t start showing some peace, love, and unity, I’ll break your fucking faces.”
Granted, this was a time before camera phones or social media, so the story has largely been spread by word of mouth. But, as with all great legends, Bones’ words created a ripple effect throughout the EDM community. His statement would soon become foundational to the burgeoning rave scene in America.
While peace, love, unity, and respect are still the driving forces behind the EDM community, many who rally behind the tenets use them to engage with surrounding communities.
Perhaps the best example is The Electronic Music Alliance. Founded in 2012 by Crystal Method’s Ken Jordan and a whole host of prominent artists and producers, the EMA operates under the collective mission to be “the sound of change.” They achieve this by organizing events around causes relevant to the local community, such as health and safety, sustainability, and the missions of various charities.
Their parent company Green Wave integrates sustainability initiatives into electronic music events, which has garnered international attention to the Electronic Music Alliance. Their program Play It FWD facilitates events whose proceeds are donated to charity.
So crank The Glitch Mob and spread the peace, love, unity, and respect.
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