Glowing up: Dance party combines raves and Caribbean culture • Brooklyn Paper

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.
OneTon Photography

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 event’s founder said he created the party when he realized that the endless parties of his college years needed some of the soul of his Caribbean 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.”

Smart, a Washington, D.C. native, was also inspired by a visit to Brooklyn’s West Indian Labor Day parade, where 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. He rebranded his rave parties, adding music 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. The event will also serve food from various islands, with a focus on offerings from Grenada, Haiti, 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, www.wiravetour.com]. Aug. 11 at 10 pm. $30–$40 ($100 VIP).

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimon@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @AS1mon.

More from Around New York