We Attend Our First Sober Rave Held on an Organic Farm

If you’ve just arrived at a rave, you’re probably headed straight to the bar while others make a beeline for the quietest bathroom stall. That’s not the case at a sober rave. 

We’re at Thrive’s and Duncan Elf’s Farm Party in Malta to find out what the hype is behind sober raving, and to see if there’s a reason for so many Gen-Z’s turning to sobriety.

Meeting the organizers of Thrive

We trundle down into the farm, located on a sea-facing hill, warmly greeted by DJ Sugarsnap, Duncan Elf and two overly friendly dogs. I’m here just to catch up and chat about their upcoming event, The Farm Party.

Sat on a bench shrouded by trees, I listen to the two look back on how they first met. Ironically it was in Paceville, the typical party destination in Malta. 

They offer us soup and continue on the topic of their looming event. They both firmly agree that they want as safe an environment as possible, for both adults and children. Duncan admits that he is looking forward to seeing people leaving in shock of their new-found hobby: dancing sober.

I’m not convinced that I’ll be able to dance sans-beer, but Duncan offers up some advice; close my eyes and dance only for myself. We’ll find out how that goes.

Today’s the sober rave day

Arrival at The Farm for the sober rave
Arrival at The Farm for the sober rave

I don’t think I’ve ever been so full of pure excitement for a rave (sorry, Glitch). 

I practically skip down the trail leading to the farm, and wizz straight past the ticket lady, who is sitting singing sweetly and playing some attractive melody on an odd looking ukulele. Making my way past the compost toilets (which remained cleaner than any festival loo I’ve been to), at last, I zoom past the free-for all face painting station, and arrive to the entrance.

The doors open at around 3PM in a converted chicken hatchery, with a bar booth in one corner, a chill-out zone complete with mattresses and pillows, and a locker space for you to place your shoes before running onto the heavily carpeted dance floor.

To hold up with tradition, I go straight for the bar. It’s full of energizing, vegan and locally-sourced organic drinks, soups and wraps. Just as I start to get close to pining for a pint, I end up getting a berry juice, while my partner goes for a blue lotus tea – which is supposed to have natural anxiety-reducing and energizing effects. More on that later.

“Let loose!”

Letting loose on the dancefloor
Letting loose on the dancefloor

Not once before in my life have I thought I would stand in a circle and hold hands with my fellow ravers at the club. Today is apparently that day. DJ Sugarsnap and Duncan Elf take the mic, and welcome all of us. 

They talk about how nervous we must be to dance sober, and they look forward to seeing us all move past it. Heck, I’m nervous to see if I CAN look past it.

And, it begins! DJ Sugarsnap immediately pumps out certified bangers, remixing music from the 70’s-90’s with genres ranging from techno, to dubstep, to DnB. Immediately people start moving, and oh boy, is it a sight. Say good-bye to the generic fist-pumping or head banging- get ready to rave with yoga on the floor, tantric dancing and flapper moves.

Back to the Blue Lotus. My partner is immediately off disco-dancing and laughing with everyone- having the absolute time of his life. Meanwhile, my years of practicing muzzing feels a tad inadequate. 

Huh, there might be something to those blue lotus claims.

I end up on the sofa with an energy-ball in hand, amusing myself by observing the insanity taking place on the carpets, and learning some neat yoga tricks from the dancers.

Petition for all raves to have a break

Taking a break at the sober rave
Taking a break at the sober rave

Honestly though, why do I spend 10 hours a weekend turning myself into a cripple when I could sit and chill half way through?

That’s exactly what happens here, at the end of DJ Sugarsnap’s set, a half-hour break commenced- including fireshows, face painting and ceremonial cacao- another natural energy-enhancer. 

I sit by one of the campfires they’ve set up, and chow down on a local soup and sourdough bread meal, while my partner is still full of energy and won’t stop yapping about how spiritual it felt to fully let loose.

Take it from him.

Duncan Elf was far out, man

A night at a sober rave

After having listened to Duncan’s sets beforehand, I’m most excited for this part of the event, going on 8pm now. We gather back in a circle, holding clammy hands once again, and Duncan thanks us for giving our energy so far, reminding us not to talk on the dance floor.

His set starts off slowly, instructing us to walk around slowly and appreciate all our fellow dancers. I get homely smiles from everyone around me while Duncan lets us know we should “Feel the energy from the floor, leading into our sex center, and then to our heads”. I catch eyes with my partner from across the room, and watch as he joins me in stifling a giggle.

The music speeds up, and everyone starts moving quicker. Some women are crying at the music in ecstasy while the tantric couple from earlier have returned and are now straddling each other and rolling around on the floor. Goals, to be honest.

Ending the sober rave

Getting ready to end the sober rave
Getting ready to end the sober rave

By this point, we’re feeling pretty tired, so we steal one last sourdough and soup combo, and begin our journey down the hill back to civilization. We end up at our local, topping off the night with a well-deserved cider.

I mean, what better way to end a sober rave?

Interested in going yourself? You can catch Thrive’s next event at their Thrive Festival from the 19th to the 21st of April, a mix of camping festival vibes and a retreat atmosphere, kitted out with a range of incredible activities.

Will you be seeing me at another sober rave in the future? My partner will definitely be there, but I’ll have to do some light-reading first.

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Written by Alice Milne

Alice or Daisy as they like to be known, is a Journalist studying at Malta University. They are a film nerd when at home, and raver at heart.

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