A TIMELINE OF EARLY RAVE
by Chalk ‘E’ Whyte – Acid House Experience
The Times newspaper reports the first ecstasy seizures in London. The drug, it says “Is used as a sexual stimulant”
January – Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley has the first House number 1 with “Jack your Body”
Early summer – Trevor Fung & Ian St Paul open a small bar in San Antonio called the Project (named after a club in London Paul was partially running). it acts as a focal point for young British youth’s out for a good time on the island. Taking ecstasy and going to open air clubs like Amnesia where DJ’s like Alfredo were playing some of the early house imports.
September – Trevor and Ian invite their friend Paul Oakenfold to Ibiza for his birthday. Paul brings with him Johnny Walker, Nicky Holloway and Danny Rampling. Trevor and Ian close the project bar and they spend the rest of the summer back and forth between Amnesia and Cafe Del Mar.
Autumn – The newly converted Ibiza crew return to London and immediately they feel something has changed. “How can they forget what has happened in Ibiza over the summer”. Paul starts to open the original Project club ‘after hours’. At 2am when the club officially finished they would let the Ibiza crew in and party until 6am. This lasts only a few weeks until the police raid it.
November – Danny Rampling and Jenni open Klub Sch-oom (soon shortened to Shoom) at a fitness centre near Southwark bridge, just south of the Thames in London. Two weeks later Paul Oakenfold holds the first Future in the backroom of the Heaven, a huge club on London’s Charing Cross.
Into 1988 & beyond ‘A Timeline History of Rave – 1988’
January – Shoom adopts the a Smiley face logo from the for its flyers. The smiley face becomes the symbol of acid house.
February – First Illegal warehouse parties held by Hedonism
March – Shoom moves to the YMCA on Tottenham Court Road, but there are still more people dancing and partying outside than inside! So it then moves to a small club called Busby’s Joe Smooth’s “Promised Land” sums up the feeling surrounding Shoom at this time, as people take ecstasy, dance, smile & hug each other. Concepts unheard of in such a stiff British culture.
At a time when football violence was escalating, rival fans dance together in an ecstasy induced euphoria thinking the world is going to change. – “…like angels from above, come down and spread their wings like doves…”
Paul Stone & Lu Vukovic start RiP. They provide a harder edged party. Located in a labyrinth like warehouse complex on Clink Street, near London Bridge, home centuries ago to Britain’s first prison. RiP sees Mr C (Later of the Shamen – who played their first experimental acid set at RiP) and Eddie Richards & Kid Batchelor play a harder more underground house (“as opposed to the pop songs at Shoom” – Mr C) to a very diverse crowd, from gangsters to people in shell suits.
In Manchester the Hacienda’s Hot & Nude nights kick start acid house in the North.
April – RiP (still at Clink) move to Fridays with their ‘A-Transmission’ nights and Sundays with ‘Zoo’.
April 11th – Paul Oakenfold opens Spectrum in London. A brave move, in that it is to be held at Heaven, near Trafalgar Square (at the time one of the biggest club venues in London). To make matters worse it is held on Monday nights. Even so after 3 weeks they had 1200 people in every week with just as many locked out. Spectrum quickly gains a musical reputation as anything goes. Paul Oakenfold even plunges the complete club into total darkness and played Tchaikovsky’s 1824 Overture on one occasion. They also hold a few nights at Legends in Manchester and one party in a marquee by the Thames. Rave at the Cave kicks in
Underground Raves such as The Notorious Rave at the Cave, Trip City & Labyrinth, Car wash, Pirate Club & Dungeons & Confusion all play their part in the Acid House explosion..
June 4th – Nicky Holloway opens The Trip at London’s Astoria. This too is rammed every week. A full on street party erupts every night after it closes with people dancing in fountains and on cars. Passing drivers and police are baffled by 100’s of people chanting “Acieeeed!”
The British public are introduced to ‘smiley culture’ and the corporate cash in began. Mass produced smiley & “Where’s the Acid House Party” T-shirts appear everywhere. There was even tabloid rumours that Ian Beale from the soap Eastenders would take LSD at a warehouse party and try to jump off a bridge. The Sun newspaper initially cashes in with its own Smiley T-shirt but this is quickly abandoned, as the tide turns, with an anti-drugs one with a frowning smiley (frowny?).
The BBC bans Jolly Roger’s “Acid Man”.
Murray Beetson meets Craig Campell (fresh from an appearance from TV’s Blind Date – hehe) while on holiday in Tenerife with Richard Clarke (DJ Clarkee). ESP promotions is born at the Roadmender, Northampton. A few packed nights called Bounce follow at Castaways (later renamed to Millwalkies).
August – Tony Colston-Hayter, disillusioned with the increasingly stricter door policy of Jenny Rampling at Shoom, holds his first parties at Wembly Studios under the name “Apocalypse Now” One the last night of Apocalypse Now he lets ITN news film the event. Interviews with the DJ’s are dropped in favour of ‘shock’ footage of ‘spaced out kids’.
August 17th – The Sun publishes an investigation into the Heaven night club (then owned by Richard Branson) and home to Spectrum. Claiming “Junkies flaunt their craving by wearing T-shirts sold at the club bearing messages like ‘can you feel it?’ & ‘drop acid not bombs’”. They had taken the term Acid House and linked it with LSD rather than Ecstasy.
After The Sun’s article on Heaven Richard Branson tells Paul Oakenfold that he need only rename his club rather than shut it down. Spectrum closes but opens again within weeks renamed Land of Oz
At the end of the so called “Summer of Love” the ecstasy related death of Janet Mayes at an illegal acid party sparks a police crack down on warehouse parties. During one such raid at a party in Sevenoaks, 20 year old student Paul Harnoll is beaten by uniformed officers. He recovers and goes on to form Orbital.
A young James starts a club nights in Cheltenham called Trance which becomes a massive success selling out 500+ capacity crowds each week.
Robert Darby and Leslie Thomas charged with “conspiring to manage premises where drugs were supplied” after organising a boat party on the Thames. They are sentenced to 10 and 6 years imprisonment.
October – Tony Colston-Hayter renames his organization to Sunrise after the bad publicity surrounding the last Apocalypse Now. The first event is stopped by police.
Oct 1st – Grooverider & Fabio open Rage
November 5th – Sunrise sell 4000 tickets for their Guy Fawkes Edition party. As the event kicks off in a derelict gas works (where the film Full Metal Jacket was shot) riot police raid it an shut down the music. At 5am the police withdraw hopelessly out numbered by people who climbed barbed wire fences and ran across dual carriageway’s to get in.
November 7th – The Daily Mail newspaper reports Sunrise’s party as “evil night of Ecstasy”
December – DJ Ellis Dee founds Rave & The Cave in the Elephant & Castle. DJ Chalky White featured along side him.
Dec 10th – Genesis (‘KP’ & Wayne Anthony) do their first party in a warehouse near Aldgate, East London.
Dec 24th – Genesis hold their second warehouse party. Held in an empty warehouse near Clapton Pond, Hackney. Genesis use thousands of old car tyres that littered the building to build a UV lit entrance tunnel and bar area. Combined with a Christmas tree, parachutes, netting, inflatables & some new white canopies stolen from a nearby building site they are immediately catapulted into the premier league of party organisers. The party attracts 900 people.
Dec 26th – Genesis return to the same warehouse (now with a written contract with the owner!). After initial problems with the electricity which see the first 300 or so people standing round in the dark, they are caught totally off guard as (mainly due to the reputation of the X-mas eve party) 2000 people descend on the warehouse. The drink stocks were disappearing at such a rate that Wayne sent some people to a nearby 7-11 shop and bought every drink in the place at full price! Nice X-mas bonus for the owner of that shop!
26th Dec – Sunrise IV “Boxing Day in Heaven”
30th Dec – Sunrise V “Final Party”, held at the Astoria
New Years Eve – Sunrise team up with Genesis for parties under the name Sunset at Leeside Road, Hackney, London. A venue already used by Genesis on Christmas Eve & Boxing Day. .
Into 1989 & beyond ‘A Timeline History of Rave – 1989’
January to April – Genesis / Sunset parties. “The Fight Goes On”, “Against All Odds”, “Hedonism” & “Strength to Strength”.
Inspired by what he had see at RiP, Joe Wieczorek starts holding illegal warehouse parties in various east end locations (Shacklewell Lane, Essex Road, Homerton & Ferry Lane to name a few). Labrynth is Born.
Around the same time, Andy Swallow and Tony Wilson having already run a successful after-hours club at Mile End, Hackney, starts Echo’s in a small club at the foot of Bow flyover, East London. Friday’s are Tony Wilson’s “Adrenaline”
Jan 28th – RiP move to “The Dungeons” at Leabridge Road, Leytonstone.
Feb 25th – Biology hold their first party in a film studio in Battersea.
The scene takes a new direction as the parties move from inner city clubs and warehouses to the countryside. Soon there are Sunrise, Biology (Jarvis Sandy), Energy (Quintin “TinTin” Chambers & Jeremy Taylor), Back to the Future (Dave Roberts, also a partner in Sunrise), Weekend World & World Dance (Anton Le Pirate). All competing to be bigger and better than the last.
They all hold some immense illegal parties with 1000’s of Kwatts of sound, lasers & fun fairs attended by sometimes tens of thousands people cladded out in Baggy tops, smileys, bandanas & kickers. Acid House becomes a phrase reserved for the newspapers as the parties themselves begin to be called Rave’s. The term Raver is born ????)
The location of these events was a closely guarded secret up until an hour or so before the start. Meeting points would be made available through flyers and pirate radio stations (Sunrise, Centre Force, Fantasy). Mobile phones were still widely regarded as Yuppy toys but thanks to BT’s messaging service they became an ideal way to co-ordinate people to different meeting points (Motorway service stations usually) and eventually the venue itself. It generally turned into a game of “follow the car in front” until you find a party. By keeping the venue secret like this they could get everyone on the move heading for the party or in the wrong direction if needed. The police have no option but to follow. So the end effect is that 1000’s of people can descend on one location in a matter of minutes. Once a party’s goes past a certain size there is, in reality very little the police can do.
Breakbeats start to appear in rave tunes. East end Hip Hop due, Shut Up & Dance are surprised by their 5,6,7,8 single becoming an anthem as they have never been to a rave.
Tommy Smith and Tony Creft start holding illegal warehouse parties around Blackburn
April 29th – Back to the future, finding that their lined up venue has been discovered end up holding a party in a cattle silo, still half full of animal feed!
May 1st – Centre Force becomes the first 24/7 pirate acid house station. The station is set up with help from Andy Swallow and other people connected to Echo’s.
May 20th – Sunrise 5000:Once in a blue moon held in aircraft hanger at Santa Pod race track. On arriving at the site in the early evening to set up, Sunrise find there is no electricity and no toilets. Their only option is to take a big risk with a diesel
generator running dodgy wiring next to a pile of old newsprint.
May 27th– Energy hold their first major party, located in Westway film studios Featuring 5 rooms, 12 dj’s and a level of production not seen before including one room done out as Greek temple and the other like the film Bladerunner..
June 7th – The Sun Runs the front page headline “Spaced Out!” alongside a photo from the Sunrise party.
10th June – Biology hold a party in a field near Elstree Studios,
16th -18th June – Hypnosis set up the first dance tent in on of the car parks at Glastonbury.
June 24th – Sunrise’s Midsummer Nights Dream at White Waltham airstrip, Berkshire is attended by over 11000 people. The Sun newspaper runs the headline “Ecstacy Airport”. Other reports involve “youngsters so drugged up they ripped the heads of pigeons!” & “at the end of the night the floor was covered in empty ecstacy wrappers”, unsurprisingly , both are untrue, the empty wrappers are actually pieces of silver foil that fell from the ceiling – dead pigeons nowhere to be seen.
1st July – 2nd Energy party held at Membury, Berkshire. Police Seal off 20 miles of the M4. On the same weekend Biology find venue after venue failing and after leading cars up motorways and country lanes all night end in a club in Birmingham at 8am.
22nd July – Energy in a Warehouse behind Heston Services. Over 1000 police seal off the entire area but ravers simply park their cars on the hard shoulder of the motorway and run across 6 lanes. Enough gain access to the party and the police let it go on.
The size of these parties increases rapidly, starting to cause national panic by the end of the summer. With tabloid reports of over 20,000 at one Sunrise event, and convoys of “crazed teenagers” tearing up and down motorways across the country, something needed to be done (hehe) Chief Superintendent Ken Tappenden sets up the polices Pay Party Unit. Information is gathered about organizers etc and entered onto the HOLMES database.
Aug 12th – Future Dance Music Festival held by Sunrise & Back to the Future near the village of Longwick, Buckinghamshire. 17000 tickets sold.
Aug 19th – World Dance hold their first event near Junction 6 of the M25. Over 8000 people in attendance.
August – With the police monitoring info lines and posing as Ravers to find venues before the convoys, Energy put out on their information lines that the first 5000 to arrive at their Summer Festival will get in free. Within a few hours there are over 20000 people dancing in a Surry field
Sept 9th – Genesis crack a huge warehouse in east London. The venue could hold up to 10000 people and with a 60 foot high ceiling there was room for fairground rides! Biology also plan a party for the same night so Genesis’ publicity goes into overdrive, 3 different sets of flyers and a sticker campaign eventually see Genesis tickets outselling Biology’s. At 6pm the police arrest the lighting crew. Then as Wayne Anthony and his crew approach the venue they see police everywhere and the man with the fairground rides surrounded by police officers. With no other option Genesis team up with Biology.Genesis info lines start to give out directions to the Biology party held in Meopham, Kent
Sept 16th – Raindance hold the first fully licensed all night dance event at Jenkins Lane, Barking on the London/Essex borders. 8000+ people in attendance.
Sept 22rd – Energy have the venue for their Dance89 event discovered by police helicopter 2 hours before its due to start. They end up illegally occupying a hanger at Raydon Airfield,
Essex. Jeremy Taylor arrested is for causing a public nuisance.
Sept 30th – Helterskelter hold their first party and manage to get 5000+ people in a muddy ploughed field near Banbury, Oxfordshire. The KLF demand to be paid for their live set in Scottish pound notes. They write “children we love you” on them and throw them into the crowd. Maybe as a practice for the more famous burning of £million a few years later.
Sept 30th – Police try to raid a Phantasy party near Reigate, but are beaten back by ‘Strikeforce’ security with CS gas and dogs in full view of TV news crews.
– Biology try to hold a party at Guildford. With a massive line up which is to included Public Enemy to play live! A massive police operation stops the party. Police estimate there are 30,000 people in surrounding area trying to get to the party which was totally sealed off. Public Enemy are arrested and held at Heathrow.
Centre Force radio is raided and their DJ’s arrested. On the same night their Echo’s club is also raided.
Egged on by tabloid front pages like “Acid peril of Drug Kids” & “Drugs & Gun haul at Acid Party”, Tory MP Graham Bright pushes the “Entertainments (Increased Penalties) Act” through parliament and the police’s ‘pay party unit’ hunt down the organisers.
November – Pandemonium do their last illegal event, held in a Church on Lime Street, Telford. The surrounding ring road is totally blocked and Paul Archer & Paul Dawks are banned from holding another event for 12 months.
Konspiracy opened in Manchester by Chris Nelson.
December – At Whitebirk, Blackburn a police car is set alight during battles with police trying to stop ravers entering the party,
New Years Eve – Sunrise Plan an end of the decade party and for the first time print the venue on the flyer. With only hours to go until the start time the landowner gives in to police pressure and calls it off. The back up venue in Norfolk is the injuncted by the local council. At around 11pm the Sunrise message lines direct the remaining ravers to head for Heston Services on the M4, then from there they are directed to the National Panasonic building in Slough where Sunrise had negotiated with Biology and Genesis to join their party.
Into 1990 & beyond ‘A Timeline History of Rave – 1990’
Jan 27th – “Freedom to Party” campaign marches in London against the “Increased Penalties” bill. 8000 people gather in Trafalgar Square to hear speeches from the main promoters and some DJ’s. Amplified music is banned by the police. Debbie Malone sings “Rescue Me” accapella. MC Chalky White is arrested as police bring the demo to a close.
Later that night a warehouse in Radlett is cracked by Weekend World. They are joined by Sunrise, Genesis and Biology for a free party organised in just a few hours. Police road block the convoys and running battles between the police and ravers trying to get into the building result in it being allowed to continue until 9am.
Feb 24th – Tommy Smith and Tony Creft’s run of Blackburn raves ends in a warehouse at Nelson, Nr Burnley. 200 riot police raid the party while there are over 10000 people inside.
March 17th – Chris Perception holds the first Perception at the Brunel Centre, Bristol.
22nd-24th June – At the Glastonbury festival travellers start hooking up with inner city sounds systems like DiY. A new scene evolves with travelling sound systems at illegal free festivals. Spiral Tribe & Circus Warp are born. Again a loop hole in the law is exploited. As these are free festivals the ‘pay party unit’ has no powers. Its now ‘mass trespass’ or ‘breach of the peace’ both difficult to enforce when there are so many people.
July – Increased Penalties bill is passed. Penalty for organising an illegal event is raised to £20,000 and 6 months imprisonment.
July 21st – 836 ravers are arrested & detained at the Love Decade party held at Gildersome in Yorkshire. This remains one of the biggest mass arrests in British history. Only 8 are actually charged with anything!
Police attempt to shut down the Hacienda after last summer’s death. After a lengthy court case the Hacienda stays open but has lost its original atmosphere as “Madchester’s” gangsters take over the drug scene.
ESP do a joint event with Weekend World near Northampton. This outdoor event is licensed for 7000. An estimated 5000 climb the fences to get in.
10th August – “It’s a fad. It will be over in 3 months” claims Superintendent Mick Bromwich of the Coventry police.
Delight starts at Shelleys in Stoke-on-Trent with resident Dj the then virtually unknown Sasha. Shelleys rocks to Sasha’s blend of techno and rushing pianos every week (after it closes so do Knutsford & Hilton Park motorway service stations!)
Pandemonium are joined by Mark Chamberlain as the public face for dealing with councils and the police. They do 3 sell out events in a sports centre in Maidly
Alex paterson (later of the ORB) and Jimmy Cauty (KLF) take over DJing in the VIP room at Land of Oz (held at Heaven in London). They play a weird mix of film music and animal noises! Ambient music is born.
October 13th – The Legendary Eclipse opens at Lower Ford Street, Coventry. Britains first legal all night rave club. The club is packed all night every Friday & Saturday.
September 1st – Pirate radio station Kiss becomes Britain’s first legal dance radio station.
November 24th – 284 Ravers arrested as the police raid the Mad Hatters Tea Party in Burnley, Lancashire
Into 1991 & beyond ‘A Timeline History of Rave – 1991’
January 30th – Hacienda closes after door staff are threatened with a gun. “We are sick of the violence” – Tony Wilson
April – Time & Underground hold their last party at the Rag Market, Birmingham..
April 19th – James and Gideon hold a party at the Eclipse in Coventry. The line up includes Sasha, Carl Cox, Jumping Jack Frost, SS, Ellis Dee and a PA from The Scientist. Fantazia is born.
May 22nd – After filming the video for “Move any Mountain” The Shamen’s Will Sinnott drowns off the coast off Gomera, Canary Islands
June – Shelleys is allowed to keep its licence after Longton police object on grounds of “serious overcrowding”
August 2nd – ESP do a joint event with Weekend World near Northampton. This outdoor event is licensed for 7000 making it the largest legal rave (so far!).
September – Quest is born at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall.
Sept 14th – Altern-8 turn up outside Shelleys with a sounds system on the back of a lorry as people are leaving at closing time. They manage to play 5 numbers to a crowd of 1000+ in the car park before the police arrive. Some footage from this was used in the video for Activ-8. Listen to audio here..
December 6th – ESP hold an event at Denby Leisure Centre (later to be known as The Sanctuary) calling it Dreamscape.
New Years Eve – 12,000 at Fantazia at Westpoint Exhibition Centre ending with the now legendary Top Buzz set & Raindance-Big Bad Head at Melton Mowbury.
Into 1992 & beyond..
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