Sign up for our free newsletter

Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.

The thing I miss most about high-school dances is not the dancing, usually awkward and self-conscious, but the chaperones’ comical efforts to decode youth culture. For all their years of education and vast accumulated wisdom, they still couldn’t identify that funny smell in the boys’ bathroom.

Kids don’t go to school dances any more. They go to raves, which are monitored by bouncers and not chaperones. The music is blisteringly loud, and, mystifyingly, everyone stands around drinking fruit juice. As the affidavit below reveals, this has the police, media, politicians, and other self-appointed grown-ups worried. The quasi-underground dance parties have been the target of official crackdowns from London to suburban Maryland. Prince George’s County has even established a “Rave Task Force” to deal with the problem (which it must be, if kids think it’s fun).

Someone apparently tipped off the Howard County Police that a rave was scheduled to take place in the county over the weekend of Aug. 7. Exactly when and where was unknown, since promoters tend to share these details with only a few thousand ticket buyers—perhaps to stave off surprise fire inspections like the one that shut down a Bladensburg rave this spring.

The affidavit, filed last month in Howard County Circuit Court, details the nimble sleuthing of one Lt. Wayne Livesay, who single-handedly figured out just what is this thing called rave. Make that “RAVE,” in his hysterical all-caps spelling of the word. Livesay’s gumshoe work brought about the demise of a rave that its promoters—local graduate students Max Adams, Eric Sudol, and Chris Coats—had disguised as a music-video shoot. The video “producers” invited a couple thousand “extras,” each paying $18 admission, and as many as 15 DJs and bands.

Lt. Livesay’s affidavit, reprinted here in all its wooden glory, also reveals the existence of a “RAVE Intelligence Unit,” which is not an oxymoron but a branch of the Prince George’s County Police Department. (D.C. has one, too.) With the help of his counter-rave spooks, Livesay determined that a rave was to be held in a warehouse on Route 1 in Laurel on Saturday, Aug. 7. Armed with Livesay’s affidavit, the state’s attorney went to court late in the afternoon of Friday, Aug. 6, and obtained an injunction blocking the rave—another small victory against the forces of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll.

Affadavit of Lieutenant Wayne Livesay

WAYNE LIVESAY, being first duly sworn, depose and state the following:

1. I am over the age of 18 years, am not a party to the within matter, and am competent to testify.

2. I have been employed by the Howard County Police Department since 1972, and in my general knowledge, training and experience in investigating vice and narcotics activities in Howard County, am familiar with the facts as set forth herein.

3. On August 6, 1993, I contacted Det. Bill Lynn of the Prince George’s County Police Department to gather information on RAVE activities. Det. Lynn is the coordinator of RAVE Intelligence. Det. Lynn informed me that RAVE sponsors always rent a warehouse on the pretext of doing a video production; however, the video is a ruse. They bring in about 10 to 15 DJs to provide music. The attendance is generally 3,000 to 4,000 people. The people range in age from early teens to early 20s. They hire offduty security personnel to protect their money which is charged as admission. The average admission price is $12-$20. There have been 6 RAVE parties in P.G. Co. during the last year. Washington D.C. started a RAVE Task Force to try to combat the problem.

4. On August 6, 1993, I contacted Carl Shoffler, who is also with the P.G. Co. Police Task Force and has extensive experience in RAVE intelligence. He informed me that tickets to a RAVE event generally are sold between $12 and $25. During the RAVE event all the lights go off in the warehouse where the event is taking place. The attendees burn candles for light. Often the kids use colored neon lights which identifies the type of drug they are using. The following of the RAVEs is generally a Grateful Dead type crowd. He has not seen a lot of violence associated with the parties. It is generally a gathering for drug and alcohol abuse by young kids and overcrowding generally occurs.

5. On August 6, 1993, I contacted Det. Dennis Last of the D.C. Police who is the RAVE Intelligence Coordinator. His information was consistent with Det. Lynn and Det. Shoffler. He also provided me with two underground hotline numbers which advertise the RAVE events. He told me that you can call the number for price information and general locations, but they won’t give the exact location of the event until the day of the event, or until a person buys a ticket. The first hotline number is 410-523-1882, which is listed to a store called Modern Music in Baltimore. I called the number and asked if there was a RAVE event this weekend. The person on the other end said, “yes.” I asked how much tickets were, and he said $18 today and $20 tomorrow. I asked for the location. He said between Washington and Baltimore near Laurel. The second hotline number was 202- 638-3272, listed to a store called Music Now. I called that phone number and received a taped recording that said a RAVE concert was scheduled for Saturday night. The price of the tickets was $18-$20 and it was going to be held between Baltimore and Washington.

6. On this date, Detective Rivera of the Howard County Police Department went to Modern Music at 241 W. Reed Street, Baltimore, and purchased a RAVE ticket for $18.00. The ticket granted admission to a RAVE event on 8/7/93 at 10:00 p.m. to be held at 9455 Route 1 in Howard County.

I HEREBY AFFIRM, under penalties of perjury, that the above facts are true and correct according to the best of my knowledge, information and belief.

Lt. Wayne Livesay

Art accompanying story in the printed newspaper is not available in this archive: Illustrations by Melissa Blives.