A lot of commercials show a group of young adults dancing under the starlit sky at a beach somewhere remote with a DJ and lights, and the whole situation seems a little unrealistic. How did they manage to trek an entire DJ rig out into the middle of nowhere and set up a sound system? What about sand damaging the equipment?

These questions are merely excuses for those who don’t have the drive to make it happen. If commercials and films can artificially create this atmosphere for the purposes of filming them for profit, somebody out there certainly can make it happen for the pure enjoyment of it.

I had caught wind of the Mental Rager party series since I moved back to Hawaii three years ago, and had heard about the most recent one from some friends at an after-hours event the week before. I decided that I would make it my goal to show up this time, because I regretted missing it every time before. A rapper/ dancer friend of mine Juice doesn’t drink and volunteered to be DD, so a group of us hopped in with backpacks full of beers and no clue what to expect.

We parked near the secret location, which had been announced at midnight the night before, and wondered if we were in the right place. No sounds could be heard, except for wind in the trees. We hopped a fence and followed our instincts through a dark forest, but the deep bass rumble that had grown louder as we walked turned out to be the churning of the ocean waves, rather than the sound system we had hoped for. We stumbled through the sandy forest, and after about 15 minutes of walking, we began to hear something rhythmic coming from the distance.

The party was going off. We danced for at least three hours straight. Dancing on sand is difficult. I fell a couple times and got head-butted once by somebody else who lost their balance. Even though I didn’t know most of the people, the energy was inviting and rambunctious.

It was a record low 58 degrees that night. Any glimpses of swimwear were peeking out of tightly clenched zip-up hoodies. Early in the evening, many relied on dancing and alcohol to stay warm, but as the temperatures crept lower, those without appropriate cold-weather attire resorted to huddling around a bonfire or in a cluster of bodies behind the DJ booth. I volunteered my vest to my lady friend and tried to find a comfortable way to curl up next to the fire. Varying winds and flare-ups ended up melting the soles of my shoes when I nodded off for a second. I had to kick them off when I suddenly awoke to an unpleasant tickling at my toes. (I didn’t dare lay my head too close to the flames, in fear that an ember might ruin the stylish haircut my friend had just given me to fix my garish attempt at self-grooming from the previous week.)

At around 5 a.m., we left the party and started the trek to the car. The walk felt much longer, as the sounds of the music faded away and the lights of the road slowly appeared ahead.

I definitely will be back.