Sober morning rave craze hits Asia

Singapore, ready to rock the dancefloor at 6am?
Singapore, ready to rock the dancefloor at 6am?   

While most of Singapore was still sleeping, over 300 "conscious clubbers" were rocking the dance floor in a sober rave that kicked off at the break of dawn on Friday at popular nightspot Kyo.

Conscious clubbing - a growing global trend – promotes healthy partying, trading late nights for early mornings, alcohol for fruit juices and heels for flats.

"It's about finding a medium between going all out and writing yourself off the next day, and staying in and not going out at all," Caitlin Hudson, fun facilitator at the event's organizer, Morning Gloryville, told CNBC.

"It's also about starting the day for yourself. Everyone in this room hasn't gotten up to go to work and run errands. They've gotten up to treat themselves. Everyone is happy, alive and in a good mood," she added.

People dancing at the Zespri x Morning Gloryville Party in Singapore.
People dancing at the Zespri x Morning Gloryville Party in Singapore.

Friday's four-hour long Zespri x Morning Gloryville Party was the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, Hudson said, and is unlikely to be the last, judging by its reception.

The movement, which started in East London in 2013, has now spread to 23 cities around the world, according to Morning Gloryville, which calls itself the pioneer of "conscious clubbing."

While waking up three hours earlier than usual was a bit of drag for 27-year-old Singaporean Stefan Kwang, he gave the morning rave two thumbs up: "I'm so glad I did it, the energy inside is admirable."

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This sentiment was echoed by 38-year-old French expatriate Karen Meddour. "The vibe is amazing. People are so light and fun, and ready to party. Nobody remembers they are going to work," she said. "It's so different from clubbing at night when people are usually getting wasted. Here you can actually see people because it's not totally in the dark. People are smiling."

Hitting the dance floor with a fruit juice at 6:30am, naturally, isn't everyone's cup of tea.

"We have a name for people that attend our events – we call them 'bravers' – because they are brave ravers. It takes a level of bravery to let go of your inhibitions to move freely on the dance floor," said Hudson.


She said she's seen many initial naysayers jumping on the bandwagon.

"People want to come play and sometimes they just need a little bit of help," she said, adding that giving people a little bit of glitter or face paint can do the trick sometimes.

But while those accouterments may be a common part of conventional clubbing, the usual fashion dress codes were largely absent. At Friday's event, attendees were sporting everything from jungle-animal-print jumpsuit costumes to neon gym clothes.

Encouraged by event's gung-ho reception, Dirk Cornelis, the general manager of Kyo, said he's considering making it a more regular affair.

While hosting a sober morning rave is certainly a far less lucrative proposition for nightclubs that get their bread and butter from alcohol sales, Cornelis says he sees it as an opportunity to introduce the club to a different group of partiers.

"It's a great opportunity for people who haven't been to Kyo to meet Kyo in a different light, they might come again at night," he said.

"Also, as a nightclub these days, we have to think further. We've definitely noticed our younger clubbers are much more conscious about how much they drink and making sure they don't go overboard so [conscious clubbing] is something we need to embrace," he said.