The UK is having a resurgence of free raves and illegal raves at the moment. The two may be different but in truth they are generally both one and the same thing.
It is possible that some nice and passionate rave promoter offers a free rave in an establishment like a club by hiring it out and inviting people to his ‘free rave’ but that is rare. The free rave movement spreading across the UK is a powerful movement of the youth who gather in barns, woodlands and farmers fields making these free raves actually illegal raves.
These parties are in the spirit of the large illegal raves that started here in the UK when house and acid house hit our shores. Big illegal raves and parties were happening across the UK but mainly happening around the M25 know as the Orbital circular.(Incidentally this is where techno pioneers and early illegal rave goers Orbital got their name from)
People would gather at service stations waiting to get directions to the secret illegal rave by calling numbers that were found at the bottom of the flyers or they would listen to the pirate radio stations giving out more details.
The police would try and clamp down on these illegal warehouse parties and began to arrest people if they were in the vicinity and looked like ravers before they were anywhere near the event. At times they were accused of being heavy handed as if they were fighting a terrorist organisation threatening to destroy the UK and not just a group of young people wanting to gather in abandoned buildings and fields to dance the night away listening to dance music with other like-minded people.
The UK Government headed in the 1980s by the late Margret Thatcher used the use of illegal drugs as the reason to try and clamp down on these parties to ‘protect’ the youngsters from themselves yet it would seem that they were more concerned at the amount of money the illegal rave promoters and DJs as well as the dealers were making and none of it was finding itself going to the treasury in the form of TAX.
The truth is the Tory Government which encourages entrepreneurialism didn’t like it when the young were successful without paying TAX.
In 1994 the Tory Government led by John Major wanted to crack down so severely that they introduce the Criminal Justice Bill reforms including a whole section, Part V,which covered collective trespass and nuisance on land and included sections against illegal raves.
It included the infamous and legendary “repetitive beats” clause meaning any form of music that had a repetitive beat which was playing in a public space where several people were gathered listening and dancing could be classed as an ‘illegal rave’ and shut down with arrests made and charges pressed.
Technically a family enjoying a picnic while listening to a radio could fall under that ruling, it was down to the Police’s discretion whether you were a rave or not.
Illegal raves died down as many of the promoters took the raves inside hiring out club venues or going through the whole licensing process to hold a large outdoor event. The raving and clubbing scene changed in the UK but there were still a few illegal party groups throwing raves around the UK.
Organisations like Spiral Tribe preferred the outdoor and unlicensed feel of the illegal raves and free raves. Some had political ideology as they were commune living based groups and believed that people can and should police themselves and that their friends and members were fully capable of enjoying a rave without the Government and Police involvement, very similar to the original ideology of Anarchy where the people self-govern.
In 2014 the UK illegal rave scene has grown and has been growing over several years now with illegal raves happening regularly over several counties like Lincolnshire. There are regular reports of illegal raves and parties happening in and around Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire.
I do not know if there is a ticket cost to these events or if they are free raves but what I do know is that they are happening more and more. It is hard to believe that these events are actually outlawed when you consider the frequency that they are happening.
Times have changed from the late 1980s of the acid house scene, the music might still be a variation of acid techno with lots of repetitive beats and acid squelches, albeit a lot faster, but the organising of these events are now often done by using social media networks, websites and messenger services like SMS text, WhatsApp and BBM.