(Micah Cruver, also known as DJ Anski, runs FundRaver; a positive-minded group that puts on fundraisers and electronic dance events for thousands of students and organizations across the country. Find out more at FundRaver.com)
4am. Portland, Oregon. The crisp sound of a freshly opened can of Guayaki has become synonymous with the start of an adventure. This was the beginning of something great. Miles of moonlit road speed underneath a vehicle packed to the roof with DJ equipment, lasers, strobe lights, beach balls and Yerba Mate.
Seven hours, three-hundred fifty miles and one amazing sunrise later, FundRaver had finally arrived at Gonzaga University.
As sound technicians unloaded massive speakers from the back of a large truck, a mountain of Guayaki was built on the front of a quickly growing stage. The event was to be a fundraiser for an on-campus student group, who had shown up hours in advance to help decorate and blow up beach balls. Crew members scuttled around, testing lighting and checking audio levels as the line of people grew outside. Finally, after hours of methodic setup, the stage sprung to life. The lights were turned off, and the doors flung open.
Excited students were greeted with chest-ratting bass and a fresh can of Yerba Mate upon entering the colorful world of FundRaver. Packed out within minutes, the venue was suddenly filled with mate-infused students, many of which wouldn’t stop dancing until the sun rose the next morning. Strobe lights illuminated a massive crowd, and lasers danced across the walls. A massive screen covered in colorful motion graphics displayed the phrase “Go Zags!”, and a thunderous cheer erupted from the dancing crowd. This was going to be a night to remember.
Electronic dance music has become a rapidly expanding scene, and maintaining energy during these massive events can be a struggle for DJs and dancers alike. For many, yerba mate is becoming an increasingly sought-after beverage, due to its healthy properties and awesome power. It’s truly a beautiful thing that something so natural has such a perfect place amid so much technology.
After a climatic finale of a Don’t Stop Believin’ remix echoed throughout the halls of Cataldo, the crowd finally dispersed; still buzzing about what they just experienced. Every drop of Guayaki had been consumed (except for the two cans secretly hidden away for the drive home). It’s rare to see so many people stick around until the very end, but the combination of amazing music, good people, and bountiful energy made this event something truly special.