The EDM world is abuzz (or, rather, abuzzed?) with news of the Netflix original movie ‘XOXO’, which follows a group of youngsters as their paths cross at a massive rave. The film, with scenes shot at multiple unnamed festivals, has some predictable characters and storylines, and an accessible soundtrack featuring artists such as Jack Ü, Galantis and Yotto.
All the accoutrements of rave life are there: kandi, crazy costumes, drugs and hugs galore. But is the film authentic at its core? Here are the ways in which ‘XOXO’ accurately portrays what it’s like attending a rave.
1. Some girl in the group thinks the most popular song at the rave is about her – An entire plot line revolves around Krystal, played by Sarah Hyland, who believes some guy is her soulmate because he sends her the #1 banger of the moment. I assume she also has “Not here for hookups” written on her Tinder profile.
2. Raves are a time and place where strangers will go the extra mile (ok, maybe yard) to help each other out – From making a bus driver stop for a straggler running to catch up to the vehicle, to giving your ticket to someone who needs it more than you, the PLUR mindset is pervasive.
3. Your phone will die before the rave even starts, unless it ends up lost or stolen – But, sitting there and waiting for your phone to charge might be a time to have a quiet conversation with a pleasant stranger. Raves are commonly held at huge venues and a lot of time is spent in lines, waiting for friends and just getting held up. This doesn’t mean your least exhilarating moments can’t count.
4. If you take a party bus to a rave, chances are it will break down – This isn’t guaranteed, but I’ve seen too many broken-down busses on the side of a road to opt for anything but a cab or personal vehicle. Or the Metro, if EDC comes back to the Coliseum, where it belongs.
5. Trying too hard to meet up with someone at any type of festival means you’re not paying enough attention to the world around you – I started raving in the days of flip phones and Blackberrys, so this comes more naturally to me. Have you ever tried sending a BBM to an EDMBB while on MDMA? Me either, but trust that you’ll bump into each other at just the right moment, and put your phone away.
6. BUTTS! THERE ARE SO MANY FEMALE BUTTS! – “PLUR” actually stands for: Patootie, Lumps, Undercarriage, Rump. Part of the fun of attending festivals is playing dress-up, and for women this usually means wearing as little as possible. I, for one, believe men shouldn’t shy away from expressing themselves, even if that means exposing themselves.
7. You are guaranteed to have a horrifying experience if you enter a port a potty – Enough said.
8. Anybody who talks shit on the current raving scene hasn’t opened themselves up to fun – Not to drop any huge spoilers, but it will come as no surprise that the jaded ol’ raver character ends up having a good time.
9. It’s over too soon – Apotheosis may seem abrupt, but that’s how raves go!
From phone charging emergencies to failed meet ups, you may have already garnered a recurring theme: “Don’t forget to enjoy the party. You’ll be home sitting in front of the computer soon enough.” That’s a direct quote from the last 10 minutes of the film, in case any viewers have taken too many psychoactive drugs at festies this summer to catch on in the preceding 80 minutes.
Raves used to be a place where people in the ’90s could get away from an oppressive electorate, accumulating student loan debt, a world shaken daily by terrorist attacks, bearing the brunt of a failed economy … oh wait, that’s us. If any age group in America’s recent history could use a day or three to completely unplug and leave the horrors of the real world behind, it’s Generations Y and Z.