Once I obtained my first piece of Kandi in 2016, my head was spinning from the loud music and the swirls of kaleidoscopic coloration round me. I appeared down at my wrist, now wreathed by a rainbow bracelet fabricated from plastic artwork beads. The woman who had given it to me had already melted again into the technicolor mass of dancing our bodies and heavy bass. I used to be bewildered, questioning why a stranger would exit of her solution to give me such a weird present.

I finally discovered she was a Kandi Child, a part of a subculture of California’s most devoted ravers. Originating in Los Angeles within the early 1990s, the group of eternally younger, EDM-obsessed ravers—primarily youngsters and younger adults—populate the underground free social gathering scene alongside the West Coast.


A Kandi Child poses along with her mild up hoop, which she dances with within the nook of a rave.

Raves are nonetheless crammed with the long-lasting particulars they’ve turn into identified for: capsule cocktails, loud beats, and sweaty dancing. Nowadays, although, Kandi Youngsters have taken on the duty of preserving their group as protected as sober ravers, a mantle that has developed out of necessity, working to forestall hurt. It is a testomony to how nightlife tradition has shifted for the reason that federal RAVE Act was signed into regulation in 2003. Below the Act, enterprise homeowners will be prosecuted in the event that they run “drug concerned premises,” which basically has brought about venues to ban something that would presumably be affiliated with drug use, together with harm-reducing measures.

Thus, enter the Kandi Youngsters.


A raver loses herself to the music within the entrance row of a present, Kandi dangling from her wrist.

Their important mission is PLUR (or, peace, love, unity and respect). Kandi bracelets are exchanged between individuals who have developed a mutual connection, following a ritualized handshake. They’re additionally given to newbies as a welcome. I used to be instructed by one Kandi Child, who known as himself ‘Mr. Calico’ that “the commerce is a present, but additionally a illustration of recognition. It’s a approach of claiming, ‘I see you, you exist, you’ve gotten been acknowledged and your presence has been accepted.’”

The Kandi group is a whirlwind of colourful outfits, LED toys, escapism, and ecstasy. From an outsider’s perspective their colourful outfits appear infantile, however I quickly discovered that this was precisely the purpose. Whereas MDMA and different medication are nonetheless a giant a part of raving, Kandi now symbolizes a presence towards hurt, anger and violence. Kandi Youngsters usually exit of their approach to verify strangers are protected, handing out water and ensuring everybody retains cool.

“I usually break free from the depth of the phases and scan by the faces within the crowd,” Mr. Calico instructed me. “I discover individuals who can’t deal with the extremes, and folks that aren’t being cared for. Once I see them, it takes such little effort on my half to stroll over, provoke a PLUR present to them, and assess in the event that they’re wholesome. More often than not they’re utterly tremendous. I give them some water, they usually stroll away with a narrative of how some wild Kandi Child approached them.”


Lili holds her Kandi bracelet with a photograph of her late grandmother as a solution to protect her reminiscence.

The Kandi scene, and the broader rave scene, helps many to deal with grief or trauma. For instance, Lili retains an image of her late grandmother near her each time she raves, as a solution to honor her reminiscence.

Kandi was initially made and worn by sellers within the 1990’s. The concept was—as a result of at raves your arms are normally within the air—the sellers’ vivid bracelets could possibly be seen simply so individuals may spot them and know the place to purchase medication. Immediately, Kandi’s which means has developed.


Mary Sola is one in all LA’s most well-known glovers, a sort of finger dance common at raves.

I spent the summer time immersed on this colourful world, assembly individuals comparable to Lili, Alex, Mary, Jason, Jess and Mr. Calico, who’ve created their very own area, past the naivete of childhood and in opposition to the grownup world. A rare group has developed, representing the subversion of the ordered, restrained, chemically pure, and self-contained physique.

With my photos, I goal to seize the delirious expertise of dropping oneself to group hedonism, and the robust internet of relationships which thrives beneath its vivid exterior.

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Jess poses in her rave outfit subsequent to her pal’s assortment of Spirit hoods, a preferred rave


Lili and Jason pose with their Kandi assortment.


Mr. Calico has been gathering Kandi for many years, and carries his assortment on a thick army belt.


Alex stands within the hallway of his dwelling after simply ending getting wearing Kandi. He wears a distinct color theme for each occasion.

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