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Exodus July 1996

Forums Rave Party Reports Exodus July 1996

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  • Exodus July 1996 courtesy of phil

    Saturday I was quite monged out. I got up late, and everyone had decided to go to Exodus, after much vacillating (Ronan was having a birthday party at the Point/Hobgobblin which meant there would be Oxford fun although I was externally worn out after only 2 hours sleep having speeded last night away) I got carried along. I got a lift (along with Mark, Petra and Moje) in Chris’s car and we went up to Eddies, where a huge convoy of Oxford people were amassing to journey to the Exodus free party/festival. Among the stalwarts there were Bone, Mazzer + g/friend, Cait, Tasha + female friends, Luton (big) Mark, Kettle, Quentin, and maybe a dozen others whom I knew less well. Duncan, Charada, Emma etc. were being driven up in a Joe’s (female) van but had already departed. After much sitting about we finally set off at 11:30 which is a shame because I could have gone to Ronan’s birthday do until 11 and still caught up with the Oxford

    The drive was an exciting plunge through the night (although sadly we lost Bone and Mazzer’s car which broke down I think) arriving at Dunstable at 12:30 ish. We drove to a huge industrial estate to see an amazing sight. Lining the roads were 100 upon 100 of cars, all full of people, laughing smoking and drinking and waiting for the sign.

    We sat about listening to loud music in one of the many car parks, chatting to people as the excitement built. I never thought that in these days of the harsh Criminal Justice Bill I would see such freedom again!

    Then it came, an army land rover with a red flashing light filled with the Exodus “peace” stewards (what it says on their jackets) passed and the roads were filled. A massive convoy of cars with all kinds of freaks set off. Surprisingly every rule of the highway code seemed to be obeyed and nobody queue jumped, instead we drove in an orderly line 5 or 6 miles long (at least). Now and then we would reach a junction and more Exodus people would point the way (they seemed to have several 100 volunteer organizers + quite a few vehicles, most ex army landrovers and lorries (good for cross country) painted with a red star). I was told usually there is no trouble with the police, who allow it to go on, tacitly acknowledging the fact that the crime rate plummets to nothing whenever one of these parties occurs. This time there was some police hassle though because we crossed a county line and went into Buckinghamshire and the beautiful Chiltern Hills.

    We were near the tail end of the convoy and suddenly everything stopped. After a while of sitting in the car we saw several police riot vans whizz by followed later by some Exodux land rovers. After some sitting about listening to soothing classical music the word was passed down to park our cars and walk in. Some walking revealed that the police had set up a road block. Several Exodus stewards (now balacaved to avoid identification) and the police were having a heated argument, next thing I heard was a shout “get the bricks ready lads” (lads was presumably us a crowd of about 200 onlookers), at this the police fled straight away, and for the rest of the night that was the last we saw of them. Ironic that the Luton city dwellers would tell us to get bricks ready on an isolated rural lane.

    Chris and I returned to our car and drove in, making a quid donation towards the party. We got to a car park and soon located the others. The party itself was in a large valley, a big green belly button of the countryside. The valley was very steep (I think it was artificial, maybe a quarry in its past life) and we had “fun” getting down. I scoffed my wrap of billy to wake me up and decided to explore the lip of the valley to get my bearings. This involved another huge climb and about 1 hour of walking taking me round the valley and into the dawn.

    I was impressed, everyone was very very friendly and the vibe was excellent. Black and white, old and young, all partying through the night, I saw quite a few faces I had seen on the TV program about Exodus. There was no trouble and no bad attitude, they even allowed some jugglers with devil sticks onto the dance floor (perhaps they are too mellow), thankfully there were no bongo players. The sun rose to reveal a scorcher of a day, and a beautiful deep green on the hills. I decided to meet Uncle Ebeneezer with the help of a cup of tea and a bean burger (yes there was even tea there, how civilized!). The music was some of the best I have heard recently, contrary to what I had been led to believe there was no jungle, mostly really good techno with a good beat, as Eddie (the rasta man) said if you can jump you’ll love exodus. But the friendly atmosphere made it (some people had even brought their kids). We partied on through one of the sunniest days this year (good job I brought my suncream) leaping and cavorting until about 5pm next afternoon. All in all it ranks as the best rave I went to (especially as it was “free”) and perhaps one of the better events since the days of the free festivals!






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Forums Rave Party Reports Exodus July 1996