Going to Your First Warehouse Party? Here’s What You’ll Need to Know
From finding the party to the unspoken rules- Here's your guide to your first warehouse party.
September 18, 2023 at 3:47 PM PT
It’s 2:22am on a Saturday night. You and your friends are in the middle of a dirty, dim-lit, dis-inviting part of town, and none of you know exactly where you’re going. You texted the hotline looking for an address and instead they only gave you coordinates, along with the vague instructions to “look for the yellow door.” You’ve spent 10 minutes doing 3 laps around the same 2 blocks and your friend who has never done this before wants to go home; but the rest of your squad pre-gamed way too hard to abort the mission.
You continue marching, and this time instead of making a left at the busted up van covered in graffiti you make a right. After walking about 30 yards in that direction, the faint echo of a beat can be heard, pounding louder and louder with each step. Goosebumps run down your spine as every hair across your body raises, and that same friend asks if you’re there yet.
The beat encroaches as the aforementioned yellow door approaches, and you’re greeted by the largest, scariest man you’ve ever seen outside of a WWE re-run. “What’s the password?” he asks, flicking his Newport to the asphalt and stomping it out, just waiting for you to say the wrong thing. “H-happy birthday Raymond…” you stutter, barely getting the words out of your mouth. After a thorough pat down as if you were about to fly American Airlines, The Undertaker opens up that yellow door to quickly usher you in, and that one friend quickly realizes you that all trekked through dystopia to get to paradise. Congratulations, welcome to the warehouse party.
What Is a Warehouse party?
A warehouse party is simply just the best place to listen to house and techno; it’s why we love them so much here at 6AM. But personal opinion and bias aside, warehouse parties are raw, underground, DIY events with a lax atmosphere where you can usually dance until the sun comes up, and sometimes still dance even after. At warehouse parties, there are no dress codes, no last call for drinks, no VIP sections, and no f*cks given as they are often times held illegally without any permits or licenses. Because of the legality issues, warehouse parties are secretive and mysterious in nature; while your run of the mill club venue will take in anyone, your local underground promoter will not, and is more than happy to deny your entry if you don’t have the right password. This discretion helps keep the ‘If you know you know’ allure to the scene, while also protecting it from any potential shutdown threats. Rooting back all the way to the late 80’s/early 90’s when it was the only place you could go out and listen to house and techno, warehouse parties are the precursor to the rave culture that we know today.
How do you find a Warehouse party?
Finding a warehouse party isn’t quite as easy as just following the music as some would jokingly tell you if you asked them. It can be tough getting ahold of one, as they’re kind of made to be that way. Since these parties are secret, oftentimes you will need someone to invite you to your first one to get exposed to the underground scene. Although it really helps to have a point of contact in the scene, if you want to do something in life there is always a work around, and that’s how/why warehouse parties got started in the first place.
For starters, check out the website 19hz.com, it has listings for all sorts of ravey events happening all over the place. While you’re on the internet, continue your sleuthing on Facebook and Instagram; lot’s of promoters have their own pages and groups dedicated to their events where you can get all the info you need to get past that yellow door. But be warned: these pages are usually private and the promoter may deny you access if they think you’re “sus”. So if you plan on taking this approach, do your best to have an account that looks like it belongs to a tech-nerd and not a narc.
Let’s say nothing comes up on the web and you have to do things analog the old fashioned way, how do you find a warehouse party? Well, you’re gonna have to do some fishing around at some not-so underground parties. Since underground events are considered ‘after parties,’ try going to club venues and events that take place during regular hours. Ask around and see if anyone has any after parties lined up, some might look at you like a crack head but it’s likely at least one person in attendance knows where to keep the party going. At the end of the day, the underground is a network, and it’s all about who you meet. But if mingling isn’t going well and you still crave the rave, looks like you really are gonna have to drive around your local warehouse district and find the untz untz!
What To Know Before You Go
You finally found your warehouse party! Congrats on being cool enough to find the vibe. But it doesn’t stop there; if you wanna be cool enough to get invited to other secret warehouse parties, then you’re gonna have to come prepared. Here’s everything you’ll need to know before you head to your first underground show:
Get Dropped Off
Rather than pulling up in your own vehicle and trying to find parking, just make it easy on yourself and get dropped off. Parking is usually tough, and since these events usually happen in seedy areas of town, your car could be subject to getting broken into. That’s not something you wanna worry about in the back of your mind while you’re trying to enjoy yourself. Plus, if you get dropped off you won’t have to hold yourself back and can get as loosey goosey as you want, that’s what these kinds of parties are made for.
No Lingering Outside
For the sake of yourself as well as everyone else there, please (discreetly) head directly into the party upon arrival, and vacate the premises immediately upon exit. Hanging out outside of the party brings unwanted attention and could risk getting it shut down, that’s why there are no in’s and out’s at these types of events. Thankfully, most parties should have an outdoor area within the venue to get some fresh air, so you won’t have to leave in order to breathe.
Since you are technically at an illegal party, it would be most appropriate to not capture any evidence of it taking place. It’s respectful to the DJ’s, staff, and fellow attendees to not record what’s going on. This topic takes it back to our last point of not bringing any unwanted attention to the party. If the DJ’s/promoters want any documentation/publicity of what’s going down, they will do it themselves.
No Fan Clacking/ “Woot Woots!’
This etiquette should be commonplace on all dance floors, but ESPECIALLY at the underground ones. Let’s make it clear: no one wants to hear your offbeat fan clacking, and if anyone wanted to hear your squeaky voice then the DJ would pull out the mic for you to sing. There are a lot of ‘snobs’ at these events; snobs that know of even cooler warehouse parties after this one, and they definitely won’t invite you acting like you’re watching Chris Lake play Kinetic Field at EDC.
Read Next: Is It “Ooh Oooh” or “Woot Woot”? The Chant That Refuses to Die
Bring Whatever (Except Weapons)
One of the coolest things about warehouse parties is that, excluding outside drinks and weapons, you can pretty much bring in whatever you want to the party. Don’t get me wrong, security will thoroughly search you before entry, they just don’t care what they see as long as it doesn’t look like it can hurt anyone. A pack of already opened cigarettes? You’re good. Glow toys and light gloves? Cool. A turkey sandwich? Go ahead.
Stay Open Minded
Going to underground events, you’ll end up seeing a lot you wouldn’t normally at a regular party. It’s a safe space for people to do whatever they want, so you will most likely come across some out of the ordinary characters doing some out of the ordinary things. Make sure to keep an open mind during your experience, as that’s the best way to make new friends and network within the community. Who knows, YOU might end up being the total weirdo one day after going to these parties for a while.
Find Yourself At The Warehouse Party
Warehouse raves are where the real ones come out to play. It’s where rave culture all started way back when, and it’s where the bender ends every weekend as a group of your favorite hedonists dance until the sun comes up. After reading this, not only do we hope you have the inspiration to attend a warehouse party, but also have the tools to find one and the tips to keep going to them. Maybe you’ll end up loving warehouse parties so much, you’ll end up writing about them.