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22 Photos That Show Just How Insane '90s Rave Culture Really Was

Peace. Love. Unity. Respect.

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In the 1990s, the rave was a sacred haven for peace, love, unity, and respect.

Photographer Michael Tullberg was a witness to the sights and sounds, and his new book Dancefloor Thunderstorm, reveals his first-hand account of what '90s rave culture was really about. Here, Michael shares pictures from the book and tells BuzzFeed the stories behind the photos.

Michael Tullberg

"The Toy Ladies were the rave-era fashionistas, before the term was even coined. The scene was filled with lots of eclectic D-I-Y raver fashion like this, mainly because you couldn’t find anything remotely like it in almost any of the stores."

"To the left, Norman Cook, a.k.a. Fatboy Slim, is rocking the Hollywood Palladium at the height of his 'Rockafella Skank' period in 1998. On the right, Legendary DJ Frankie Bones is the man who was probably most responsible for transplanting raves from the UK to the US. Here he steals the show at the L.A. 1999 New Years Eve rave 'Together As One' at the L.A. Sports Arena."

Michael Tullberg

"Club Kids were a group of outrageous partygoers that collected infamy in New York during the 'Party Monster' era. These are L.A. club kids at a party called “The Love Festival”, sporting the same attitude as their East coast counterparts."

"The picture on the left is titled Quad Happiness. The title says it all. To the right, DJ Sandra Collins and Superstar DJ Keoki, hanging out at an after-party in his artist complex in downtown L.A., March 1999."

"On the left, The Chemical Brothers, during a cover shoot for Insider magazine. The right picture is of John Digweed at the Viper Room. Johnny Depp’s old club actually hosted a great house music night for three years, believe it or not."

Michael Tullberg

"Deep inside the ancient Alexandria Hotel, a rave called 'OZ' takes place. Meanwhile, the outside world has no clue as to the aural ecstasy that is taking place right under their noses."

Michael Tullberg

"Being part of parties like the 'Electric Daisy Carnival', as they expanded massively from mid-sized local events to the huge festivals was a great experience. They were some of the clearest examples of the rapid growth of the rave scene. You can see here that even in 2001, the crowd is already approaching the size of arena concerts. DJ Mars is behind the decks."

Michael Tullberg

"This was shot at 'Dune 4', the last of the great California desert raves of the 1990s. Held out in the middle of nowhere near the CA/AZ border, this party was buffeted by a sandstorm for hours before the sun came up and thousands emerged from the safety of their tents, re-energized and ready to keep partying well into the morning hours."

"On the left is what I think is one of my most iconic rave shots. I used Kodak EIR color infra-red film, which produced the huge color shift that turned the trees scarlet. The bold primary colors make the image almost look like a lithograph in a way. It was shot in the mountains north of L.A. at about 7:00 in a 1998 morning. On the right, is a good example of the dynamic atmosphere one could enjoy in their own personal space at a rave. I took this one at the old Magic Wednesdays club on Hollywood Boulevard."

Michael Tullberg

"In this shot, an earlier sandstorm has blown itself out, and everyone is quite happy about that. I shot this with Kodak EIR color infra-red film, which is why everyone looks blue even though they’re in the middle of the desert."

"On the right, DJ Mick Cole of the Bud Brothers provides the music, which could produce an effect within one’s head quite similar to what you see in this photograph. If the conditions were right and it really was all good, sometimes truly wonderful, even spiritual experiences occurred on the dance floor. To the right is my interpretation of one of those transcendent moments."

Michael Tullberg

"I found these two at the 6-year anniversary for the What! parties, smallish gigs that nevertheless had staying power. However, once the mainstream Hollywood clubs finally realized that they could indeed make money from electronic music, parties like What! became fewer and fewer as time went on."

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