I've been attending all-night dance parties, originally called raves or rave-parties, since sometime between late 1994 and early 1995. It all started by accident, actually. I was invited to a monthly party in Greensboro, NC at Babylon called First Friday. I said, sure, why not? The San Francisco Wicked Crew was spinning that night, and I was way-impressed with the music and the talent. I had been "clubbing" for a short while, but mainly following industrial music. Techno -- in the general sense -- was new to me. After that night at First Friday, I started attending Rise and Fever in Baltimore, MD and also sought out unique parties all over.
Before I continue, it might be a good idea to explain what one of these 'rave' parties is. Unfortunately the forces of evil (read: mass media) have had their way and managed to paint a very wrong picture of what a 'rave' is. According to media's definition, a rave is an illegal event that teenagers attend to do illegal drugs, have sex, and commit other atrocious acts. This is wrong. A rave is an event that fans of the techno (broad sense of the word) gendre attend to spend time dancing and interacting with others who share common interests. Many people like raves more than typical club events because those attending aren't in it to score (read: get laid) or show off their macho (read: asshole) selves. They are their to have a good time, hang out, and be friendly. Anyway, I'm about to start a major rant, so I'll quit now... :) Check out www.hyperreal.com for some other information about the scene.
Since then, I've been "raving" on a regular basis, and still make it out to parties with a decent frequency (at least once a month). Some of my favorite parties/weeklies/monthlies of all time are (in chronological order):
I've been to parties all over the East coast, and some on the West coast as well, and each one is usually unique in some regard, and interesting. I've met dozens of awesome people at parties, and actually, some of those people have become my closest friends. It'd be silly to say that the scene hasn't been a really important and influential aspect of my life these past few years.
If you asked me 5 years ago what I thought about dancing and techno, I'd probably have said that it's all corny and that I didn't like it. Well, my view has definitely changed! Dancing with friends -- new and old -- to some great tracks at 6 AM when the sun's coming up surrounded by hundreds/thousands of people grooving by your side is wonderously amazing. I don't know if it can really be explained, its something that must be experienced and only some people really understand.