Kareem Bouhafs, known on the internet as the “Fresh Raver,” has gone viral for his energetic videos layering deodorant all over fans at electronic dance music (EDM) festivals and concerts.
Boasting more than 15,000 followers on Instagram, the “Fresh Raver” has built a reputation among EDM fans for his lively videos featuring the 29-year-old Boston native coating deodorant on festival-goers and DJs performing live in the middle of their own sets. His first video garnered the largest audience, landing a spot on comedian Daniel Tosh’s television show highlighting clips from the internet, “Tosh.O.”
The video shown on Tosh.O from Ohio’s Lost Lands Music Festival last fall began a series of events that ultimately led Bouhafs to raising funds to give more than 1,100 deodorant sticks for charity, and that number is growing quickly with a goal of 5,000. The idea to bring deodorant to electronic music concerts, however, started in the spring of 2018.
Bouhafs said he first got the idea to bring a deodorant stick into a festival after the first day of the three-day music festival Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas, otherwise known as EDC Las Vegas.
After 12 hours of partying on the first day of the festival, Bouhafs said, he needed some deodorant again, so on day two of the festival, he brought a stick with him. Others at the festival began asking for a swipe too, so on day three, Bouhafs packed two sticks: One for himself, and one to share.
“Since then I’ve put deodorant on a lot of other people… I usually bring a communal stick,” Bouhafs told The Federalist.
Bringing multiple sticks of deodorant to music festivals has since become a regular thing for him, and ever since that “Tosh.O” clip at Lost Lands last fall, the “Fresh Raver” has been on a mission to encourage others to practice good hygiene and supply deodorant to the homeless.
“Deodorant should be one of those key items that you have,” Bouhafs said, comparing the hygiene product to other items people take with them into festivals, such as their wallets and phones. “If you can go to a festival, you can afford deodorant.”
Bouhafs first turned his effort into a charity at the Beyond Wonderland music festival in March, holding his first deodorant drive for the homeless. Festival-goers would visit Bouhafs on the way into the event to drop off extra deodorant or to grab a stick for themselves if they forgot to pack it. Any extra deodorant left over was donated to charity.
“I kind of see it as an opportunity to change the scene,” Bouhafs said. “The hygiene problem is avoidable.”
If you’ve ever been to an EDM concert, you know body odor is a problem. Andrew Wilkins and Ryan Chiasson are Boston-based music producers who go by the stage name “Raw.”
“We would never be the type of people like ‘Hey, man, you smell,’” Chiasson told The Federalist. “But there have definitely been a few shows where people smell pretty bad.”
Wilkins and Chiasson met Bouhafs at a show in the Boston area doing a deodorant drive. When they saw a flyer advertising Bouhafs’s charity dubstep show, they instantly wanted in on it.
“We saw the flyer and both were like, ‘If he asked us to play the show, we should go,’” Wilkins said.
Soon after, Bouhafs asked the duo to perform.
“I think it’s great that he’s able to use his platform that he’s gained from the EDM and rave community and has turned it into something really great,” Wilkins said.
The event, set for the end of the month, is the “Fresh Raver’s” first organized event promoting the concept of clean hygiene among his fellow music enthusiasts. The show will feature local DJs performing in an “aroma-infused rave,” Bouhafs says, with different scents being dispensed around the venue along with lights to “visualize the smell.” There will also be “fresh fairies” wondering among the crowd with fans, water, and gum for attendees, each of whom will pick up a stick of deodorant at the door.
Bouhafs said 10 percent of the proceeds raised from the event will go towards providing hygiene products for the homeless in the Boston area. If all goes according to plan, Bouhafs said he wants to take the show on the road to other cities. Tickets have already almost sold out for the Boston event.
Bouhaf has also started a GoFundMe page for the cause that has raised $621 towards a $4,000 goal, with donations to be split across homeless shelters in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago, according to the page.
Since taking on the character of the “Fresh Raver,” festival-goers who recognize him from social media flock to Bouhafs. Aaron Lachman has been going to concerts and music festivals with Bouhafs since Lost Lands last summer.
“He’s a celebrity,” Lachman The Federalist. “Everybody comes up to him and are like ‘Yooou, you’re the deodorant guy!”
Bouhafs said that while he enjoys when people come up to him at the events, he started wearing a face mask to conceal his identity for at least one day of each festival.
“I’m not saying I don’t enjoy people who come up to me, but it is a different experience,” Bouhafs said.
Lachman said Bouhafs has always welcomed the people who approach.
“Anybody who comes up to him, he’s always giving wristbands, love and hugs,” Lachman said. “He just really loves being Fresh Raver and enjoys deodorizing people at festivals.”