The tradition goes like this: the raver makes kandi at home, often with heartfelt messages, cool patterns, or with something having to do with the event they are about to attend. At the rave, when two kandi bearers see each other they may approach each other and ask to trade. What follows is a special handshake where symbols of peace, love, unity, and respect are expressed through each gesture. Finally, in a mutual show of love and respect, they slide the kandi bracelets over each others’ wrists, thus completing the trade. If you’re feeling a bit extra friendly, you may choose to give a hug to the person you just traded with. Kandi Trading Kandi trading is possibly my favorite part of rave culture and PLUR. Each kandi I receive is a piece of the raver who gave it to me; a memory of the show I had gone to. I wear each piece with pride, and I am fueled off the energy and loving vibes I feel from those I trade with. That’s why I was absolutely disheartened when I found out that several festivals have begun banning this important rave staple. Events claim they are instituting bans on kandi (or “party beads” according to some festivals) because of their link to “molly” and the drug culture that appears to be proliferating with the rise of the EDM festival. This attitude disgusts me. The harsh over-generalization that everyone is on drugs is no reason to cut out such a precious part of the rave scene. Just because two people want to be friendly and make a connection by trading fun bracelets doesn’t automatically mean that they are under the influence of something! Except for under the influence of PLUR, of course, which everyone normally is at a rave.
Kaskade, a DJ and outspoken preacher of PLUR, also recognized the travesty behind the kandi banning when one of the venues he was performing at decided it wasn’t allowed during one of during one of his tour stops. He immediately took to twitter following his discovery of the ban, voicing his feelings that it was always “them against US,” and that “taking away...kandi makes them feel in control.” I for one agree; in my opinion, people who run these events know they cannot fully stop the entrance of illicit substances into their venue, so in turn they take out their irritation by trying to destroy the fun and good vibes for everyone by banning plastic beaded jewelry. However, Kaskade brought up one more important point: “We have the power guys. We will change things for sure. We already are.” Very well said, Kaskade, very well said.