Raving Nonsense: How to Spray Blood at a Party

So it appears that an someone has a neat PR campaign going on that involves blood. I will tell you at the end what it actually is all about, but I found playing along a fun project. Over the summer Vice and other sites noted an ad for a Halloween rave party in Amsterdam where the organizers will spray people with real blood. But how do you spray people with blood? Which blood? And how much is a ticket? What is this all about? Read on for the answers.

Close Up of Red and Clear Liquid Splash Crown

NLNews, an English-language news collection site reports this:

The Netherlands will have its first ever “Blood Rave” – a dance party where dancers are sprayed with 5 thousand liters of blood – in Amsterdam on Halloween night.

The event has been posted on Facebook, but with no specifics except for the date – October 31st – so far. A total of 728 guests have indicated that they are going.

One of the organizers, who want to remain anonymous due to the nature of the event, told the AD that this is will be the first blood party in the world and the demand for it is high.

The Blood Rave is based on the opening sequence of the 1998 vampire movie Blade. The opening shows a club full of dancing people suddenly sprayed with blood. The organizers want to use the same elements to recreate this scene. “In real life it is just more extreme.” one said to the newspaper. In terms of attendees, they expect somewhat “freaky” people in terms of personality.

The organizers want to host a Halloween event that if focused less on pumpkins and kids and is “rawer and more exciting”. They are still trying to figure out whether it will be possible to use real blood, but that is what they want. “After a long search we have developed a special sprinkler system with pipes running across the ceiling and thus making us able to spray blood over the crowd. We’ve already tested it a number of times a substance resembling blood”, one of the organizers explained. “It is pushing the borders, but we want to see how far we can go.”

There are many borders of taste they are pushing, but I was suspicious of the claim that they would use real blood, let alone human blood.

Culturally, the idea is not new. The organizers even allude to one of the most famous visual depictions of blood spray. No, not Monty Python’s Black Knight.

The fun scene comes the 1998 Vampire movie Blade. In a vampire lair people dance, the sprinklers start pumping blood, and..well, the whole scene just goes down-hill from there. Of course the event people offer that as an enticement to all fans of things bloody.

But let’s be reasonable for a minute. (Yes, I know, I am saying this in a post about a blood rave.) Of course we know that “real blood” is a relative term. If we mean the stuff that comes out of us when we cut our finger, so unadulterated whole blood from human bodies, that is absolutely out of the question. Of course people on the facebook event page demand it, but here are just some simple reasons that is not feasible.

For one, there is the technical problem of clogging the pipes. Untreated, blood will clot too quickly to run it through pipes that long. We remember the early transfusion experiments using quills and copper tubing and the trouble they had with clotting. va-a-haber-un-blood-rave-en-halloween-1440174809-crop_mobile_400So sodium citrate would have to be added, or some other anticoagulant. Other chemicals might work but might be hazardous if people were to ingest it (and I am sure that at least some people who would travel to this event would not be able to resist). Also, the organizers would have to closely monitor the temperature in the source (there’s a reason blood isn’t stored in barrels), the pipes, and the room.

Speaking of pipes, the amount named in the article seem odd. Five thousand liters of blood sounds a lot, but not if you pump it through a huge ceiling sprinkler. According to the wiki on fire sprinkler systems, “a typical Early Suppression Fast Response (ESFR) sprinkler at a pressure of 50 psi (340 kPa) will discharge approximately 100 US gallons per minute (0.0063 m3/s),” so let us say roughly 378 liters per minute. So a party would be seven hundred people walking through a sprinkler for ten minutes?

Finally, there is the question of cost and profit. Tickets are 25 Euros. That wouldn’t even cover the legally required HazMat clean-up, licenses, or the specially developed equipment to clean up five thousand liters of real blood. Unless it is Zuckerberg and he feels spendy, I don’t see how anyone could turn a dime on this. And that is assuming they use animal blood. Do you know how much a pint of human blood is worth??? For 25 Euros per person everyone would get one drop each.

So, now the drum roll, what is the event actually going to be?

It’s going to be a party with red paint. Eric Chapman at Vamped.org tracked down the clues left behind by the organizers and found several prior parties like it:

Being an ex-raver from the late 1990s, I remember some crazy parties, but nothing like what is depicted in the movie Blade. This pushed my curiosity to see if I could track down such a party already in existence.

Not only did I find others, but they involved similar elements: on Oct. 31, 2013, Club Ampersand, New Orleans, hosted an 18+ event called “NeonGLOW Blood Rave” headlined by Beverly sKILLZ. The event’s promotional poster boasted: “Get COVERED in BLOOD for the first time EVER at ampersand”. But there is no indication actual blood was used: the event clearly used paint to simulate the effect.

Almost a year later, Capitol VIP Night Club in Raleigh, N.C., hosted a “Night of the Demons Blood Rave” on Oct. 30, 2014, calling it “THE BIGGEST, SCARIEST, & WILDEST PAINT PARTY IN RALEIGH!” No actual blood was used, but “GALLONS OF BLOOD PAINT” was. Unlike the Dutch event, the Raleigh rave wasn’t inspired by Blade, but by cult horror film Night of the Demons (1987).

The event will be a “NeonSplash” party, held by Insight-Events, a company that specializes in dance entertainment with color sprays, and that has some very good sense of advertisement.

51b130ba19c09_3a335b7b2cFinding this out, of course, renders all my prior speculation a scholarly exercise…but hey, that’s what I’m here for. In brief: people will get to dance in or near Amsterdam, will get soaked in red paint, and will likely have a blast. I find this all a bit too 90s decadent, not to mention a little out of touch with the real blood shed around the world, but I am sure that someone will have the night of their lives. Happy Halloween!

PS Their website says not to ingest the stuff. So still no blood feast for all you vampires, sorry.

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