The debate about rave parties is always the focus of controversy and rumors: moralists on one side are opposed to what they call “DRUG PARTIES” while supporters of these events claim their right of free association on public ground.
Rave parties are common in the rest of Europe and are perceived as just one more, completely normal, event: the former RAF military base, now Ryanair airport, of Duesseldorf-Weeze in Germany hosts the party Q-BASE Raveolution in the now empty hangars.
As the picture and video gallery of the website shows, the participants are not what a backward public opinion would like us to think of them: drug addicts, delinquents ready to break into the locals’ homes and rob them and pollute the woods of Alta Val Trebbia with their rubbish.
It is important to highlight, from a critical point of view, how ignorance (in the sense of “to ignore something”, not knowing) often gives way to unfounded fears and hostility towards all that is new and unknown.
Almost all the people of Alta Val Trebbia that had the chance to speak, give a lift to or meet the ravers can well report how they are totally normal young people willing to enjoy a weekend of music, and of course in some case a weekend of excess (but this is a personal choice that harms nobody but the person who directly makes it). If you are thinking of the good old argument “But they bring drug dealing to our valley!”, I would reply saying that no one of us is ever obliged to purchase drugs against his/her own will. Too often we forget our individual free will and point the finger at a third party instead, to push responsability far away from ourselves.
If rave parties at Colonia di Rovegno will continue to take place in the future, something that more than disadvantages could bring incentives for the villages of Val Trebbia thanks to a self-organised weekend tourism, the most productive attitude to assume is that of a modern approach, free from prejudice and based on the model offered by N the northern European countries.
A short-sighted and moralistic vision of the rave parties held at the Colonia does not consider several pragmatic elements and business opportunities easy to realise:
1. It is one more occasion to invite young tourists to Val Trebbia, thus promoting the area much beyond its borders: is it proved in fact that many ravers come from the whole of Italy and several foreign countries. Why be hostile towards who could promote Val Trebbia abroad?
2. Fear of environmental pollution: why not significantly increase the distribution of garbage containers along the road connecting Rovegno to the Colonia? And if the official containers are too expensive it will be enough to tape off signposted collection areas or fence them off with removable barriers. The same applies for the location of the rave itself.
3. Environmental volunteers: not just adults but children and young people too, the population can actively take part in this activity and signal to the ravers where the next garbage collection area is located along the Rovegno-Colonia route. It could also become a way to get to know people from all over the world. Knowledge is the best weapon against fear and xenophobia.
4. Shuttle bus Rovegno-Colonia: business opportunity for official transport companies and private individuals.
5. Refreshment areas on site and along the route: business opportunity to offer home made or local snacks and drinks.
6. Toilets: complaining about woods left littered without offering an alternative solution to the physiological needs of the participants is a bit of a nonsense. Buisiness opportunity for private companies offering this kind of service. Probably ravers too would prefer paying 50 cents for a bit of privacy rather than showing their best side in the open.
These are just a few proposals.
The Colonia di Rovegno is an abandoned site on the verge of collapse nobody talks about most of the year: I think it is hypocritical to criticize a grassroots initiative as rave parties, which in any case are an occasion of social interaction and entertainment, without suggesting alternatives on how to improve the situation.
There is a lot to learn from this kind of spontaneously organised event: first of all that it is possible to bring back to life, although only for a weekend, an abandoned site such as the Colonia through music and self-organised events.
These ideas are at your complete disposal, there is still much time before the next rave so…think about it!