Back in 1991, the time some people nostalgically
refer to as “The second Summer of Love
”, the rave
scene was just starting to become recognised as a cool new musical movement. Raves were held in whatever venue could accommodate the crowd, a DJ
and a sound system
. Ravers were not fussy – all sorts of geographical features could be transformed into an ad-hoc
club as long as there was space and shelter.
The most desirable kind of venue was an empty warehouse. After identifying a suitable building, the party organisers would let people know the location through ‘party lines’ – phone numbers connected to answering machines that had details of the venue. The telephone numbers of the party lines was a closely guarded secret amongst more organised ravers.
As raves became more popular these illegal raves became more frequent. I even heard alleged stories of a farmer being woken up in the middle of the night to find his cow-field transformed into a party. Naturally this provoked outrage amongst the conservative press – the Daily Mail had a new enemy to campaign against!
Unfortunately for ravers, and to the delight of club owners, warehouse parties were abruptly ended in 1994 by legislation called the Criminal Justice Act. This gave police powers to remove or arrest trespassers; it was specifically targeted against this kind of unlicensed party.