By the time I arrived at my biology lab at 8:30 a.m. Thursday Oct. 8, I was already several hours into my day. I tried to wipe the admission stamp off of my hand as I sat counting bacterial colonies, dance beats still playing in my head. An hour earlier, I had been watching a performance by fire dancers.
I had just attended a Daybreaker morning rave.
Daybreaker describes itself as a morning movement, aimed at breaking routines and getting the day started in a nontraditional way. According to the event’s website, the morning raves started in 2013 as an experiment to create a community around values such as wellness, self-expression and camaraderie.
The Daybreaker experience is a dance party and workout combined. Participants can start the morning earlier with 5:30 a.m. yoga class. At 6:30 a.m., a DJ starts playing music and jams until about 8:30 a.m.
As I entered the rave venue for the dance portion of the event, I was nervous that I was going to be the only one to show up at the party. However, within 20 minutes, the back of the modern-looking building was full of around 100 participants.
Although the crowd was mainly made up of younger adults, this was by no means the only demographic present. No alcohol is permitted at Daybreaker events, so the atmosphere can suit all ages. Participants were clad in regular workout gear, while others opted for more traditional rave attire — I was dancing among people decorated in paint, wearing anything from tutus to zebra onesies.
In the midst of the experience, the only word that rushed to mind was “hip.” From the space itself to the vendors, everything was new and on trend. Attendees also get free access to samples of goods from vendors in the back of the room — these included an alfalfa beverage, vegan cereal samples and canned cold-brew drinks.
In parting with traditional rave activities, there was a popular free photo booth — if one doesn’t take pictures at a morning rave, did it even happen? Later on, the morning ravers were treated to some welcome entertainment when fire dancers entered the crowd.
As I stood in the bathroom line, conversation was flowing freely between strangers, even with the sober nature of the event. The community that the Daybreaker events aim to foster was easy to see. The benefits of this type of event are numerous: reduced stress, increased self-esteem and improved memory, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on general dance benefits.
The morning raves take place in major cities throughout the US, and the list is only growing. Tickets range from $20 to $30, depending on if one opts for the added yoga class or just the dance party. In LA, the events occur at least once per month.
Most of the LA raves occur in the Playa Vista neighborhood on the Westside, but the specific location and theme of each rave is only revealed with the purchase of a ticket.
Argine Ovsepyan, a producer of Daybreaker LA, believes that the event offers a different take on partying — especially for college students.
“College students are usually up at night partying until the crack of dawn — we wake up at the crack of dawn,” Ovsepyan said. “We dance and have just as much fun, but there is no alcohol involved. It’s a really healthy impact on college students.”
Although I still needed coffee to get me through the day, Daybreaker did succeed in getting my day off to an interesting start. An added bonus, and definitely a large part of the appeal: I can now say I got up at 5:00 a.m., instead of staying up until 5:00 a.m., to attend a sober morning rave.