Glowing up: Dance party combines raves and Caribbean culture

Glowing up: Dance party combines raves and Caribbean culture
Rave and wave: The West Indian Rave Tour is a traveling party that combines Caribbean carnival and rave traditions into one event. It will make its Brooklyn debut in Prospect Heights on Aug. 11.
WI Rave

This party gets a rave review!

A travelling Caribbean dance party will make its Brooklyn debut this weekend. The “West Indian Rave Tour,” in Prospect Heights on Aug. 11, combines elements of island Carnival culture with the thumpa-thumpa glow stick style of rave parties. The mastermind of the event says that he was inspired when he realized that endless parties of his college years some of the soul that comes from his Carribbean heritage.

“We wanted to take the positives of raving and combine that with Caribbean carnival culture, which is about freedom, being carefree, and enjoyment,” said Jeron Smart. “People go to raves to go and feel release, and we want people to feel that and come to vibe and rave with that energy and excitement.”

The Washington, DC native, who is of Trinidadian and Jamaican descent, says that Carnival and raves have a similar energy.

“They are similar to raves in a sense, have the energy, only thing different is that the costume is on different scale,” he said.

Smart started his party in DC in 2010, but expanded its scope after a visit to Brooklyn’s West Indian Labor Day parade. During that visit, his concept of Caribbean music expanded beyond the reggae and soca music he was used to.

“After I came from the Labor Day parade, I saw how much bigger and different Caribbean culture here was,” he said. “I had been in New York many times but I never really paid attention to the different types of music played there, and then I discovered Kompa.”

Smart was compelled to spread the word about the Haitian music style, he said.

“I felt I needed to find a way to put people on to this,” said Smart.

He rebranded his rave parties, switching the usual electronic dance music for styles from across the entire Caribbean, he said.

“When you go to New York, there’s parties that play zouk, kompa, salsa, and merengue,” he said. “There’s a lot of different islands that have their own music and own cultures. We wanted the event to showcase the beauty of every island’s music, especially the ones in French, Dutch, or Spanish.”

At the party on Aug. 11, guests will receive glow sticks and glowing necklaces, and can choose to have glowing makeup applied by artists, or to apply glow spray to their hair or bodies, said Smart.

The rave will also serve food from various islands, with a focus on offerings from Grenada, Haiti, Martinique, Cuba, and Barbados. The mixture of cultures and the food should be a major draw for people, he said.

“People should attend not only to see the perfect marriage of Caribbean carnival and rave, but the food is going to be amazing and it’s going to make you come back,” he said.

“WI Rave Tour” at PacificBK [1065 Pacific St. between Classon and Franklin avenues in Prospect Heights, (347) 632-7578,]. Aug. 11 at 10 pm. $30–$40 ($100 VIP).

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected] Follow her on Twitter @AS1mon.

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