With the rise of illegal raves, some people are worried about the safety of these events. Others think they're just fun.
Rave culture is one of the most mythologized subcultures ever. The illegal rave scene was described in books like Exist to Resist and RAVE as a cultural rejection of the social and political ideologies of the then-conservative government. The "politics of dance music" and how club culture can be "an agent of change" have both been topics of discussion among academics and commentators.
And most recently, the illegal rave scene in London has experienced a comeback. The number of unlicensed music events scheduled in London only doubled between 2018 and 2019 (Before-Covid), according to official statistics.
These events drew crowds of up to 20,000 people or more in the 1980s and 1990s. In fact, they were so well-liked that tabloid publications fueled moral panic and troubled politicians decided to outlaw them. The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, which forbade music at major events "characterized by the emitting of a succession of repetitive beats," was passed as a result of this in 1994. Of course, the noise created by the four floor hymns persisted; it simply moved inside. People began to "go to the disco.
There are undoubtedly similarities to the current political scene, where successive conservative governments have come to power, this time with Brexit as the cherry on top. However, it would be sloppy to compare the current wave of illegal parties in London to earlier events. The political chaos we are currently experiencing could be compared to a similar hell, but over the past ten years, stricter licensing laws have resulted in clubs closing up shop left, right, and center; the market is shrinking by 25%, according to research firm IbisWorld. It makes sense that people would want to control the party.
The remaining clubs have expensive drinks and strict curfews. The Hackney Council announced unpopular and divisive restrictions last year, requiring all newly opened businesses in the district to close at midnight.