partied a lot in the early and mid nineties in the north wales rave scene. Currently working on a PHD thesis and looking to make sense of some of my rave experiences (interested in both the Welsh scene and the larger issue of globalisation and commercialistion)
would love to generate discussion on the current scene in wales (particularly south wales – the motherland).
seeing how the scene has spread into a global phenomena has both gladdened and saddened my heart – would love to hear what other people have to say.
by the way – currently studying in Virginia, USA – anyone know of any parties out this way (getting sick of 4 friends, boombox and a campfire!)
Although I am certainly no fan of the corporate type of “globalisation”; and I do not like the way free festivals such as Glastonbury have been commercialised, I find the “wider range” of the rave scene, facilitated by the Internet to be a mostly positive thing..
Back in 1994 (when I was first helping organise free parties and such events) I was telling my friends – “hey, do you realise with these computers we can get on something called the Internet and send messages and info to party people across the world?”
I remember how we used the then new WWW to find other crews in the UK and elsewhere; and exchanging info with people like Stephyn in the USA who publishes the Iron Feather Journal ‘zine, and Debs from Babble; people whose names still come up on this very board.
We would scrape together the money or the parts to put together a PC and connect it to the phone line; battling overloaded dial-up ISPs, slow connections, dodgy telecom infrastructure and even mischevious pet cats who would pull at the modem cables!
presumably Site had the same idea when he set up this message board a few years back – and especially in the last 7 or so years the Internet became – and still is – a great force for spreading this sort of culture. The music and art which drives this scene is made, distributed and publicised using computers; a track, a DJ set or a video can now be blasted across the continents within a few minutes.
Message boards such as this allow people across the world to exchange their info about the scene, share ideas and even arrange travel to each others countries.
The messages from other lands have kept me in the scene at points when I had considered giving it up due to other pressures – I never thought when I first started partying in 1990, that I would be on a board with people from countries that were then behind the iron curtain!
But I agree this “global connectivity” also has a downside.
These days with nearly everyone having some form of net access its taken for granted; I often am saddened by seeing some message boards being abused by trolls and offensive messages which drown out the positive communication.
Furthermore the greater publicity our scene has recently achieved due to its exposue on the electronic network (just do a google search for “rave” or “free party” and see what comes up!) attracts attention from less welcome sources.
It was less of a problem when fewer people knew about our comms channels; but nowadays we cannot tell if the other people on the board or lookint at any site could be journalists, the Police, or even “cyber-vigilantés” building up a “dodgy dossier” of info with which to attack our culture.
There is also the issue that people may now be attending parties merely because they are a cheap night out rather than looking at the wider picture – recently I have read far too many reports from parties mentioning the sort of “yob” trouble you would expect at a “townie” club in a city or suburb – young men (mostly) bringing their personal scores and battles to a party space. This isn’t to say that me and my mates didn’t have these same disputes when we grew up – but for some reason we didn’t play them out when at a party. A free party was a special thing back in 1991; you had to put effort into finding your connection to get to one – and they didn’t happen that often. People just didn’t have that many mobile phones, nor e-mail etc….
Nowadays party info is available to anyone with an internet connection at the click of a mouse; and there is an event every weekend. Not surprising some people take free parties for granted, especially if they are in somewhere like London where events are common!
The internet facilitates surveillance as well as free expression; there needs to be a balance between freedom of speech/expression and being mindful of the “wider picture” – what are the “others thinking?”
Also, the “corporate monster” is now unleashing its claws a bit more; peoples net use at work is being clamped down on and even domestic connections are being policed “to protect national security”.
Worse still, people are finding it more difficult to live the “party lifestyle” and hold down a job; globalisation and commercialisation of the scene expose it to wider scrutiny.
Many hostile sources have exposed the darker aspects of drug use, and bosses know why people have “sketchy mondays” and “ravers comedown flu” can no longer be explained away amongst other illnesses. This is starting to impact on the amount of time some people can devote to the scene, especially the wider involvement like organising events or even looking after websites etc, or is beginning to make it a “short term lifestyle choice” which people are eventually “forced to grow out of”.
But I think there is light still at the end of the tunnel; the advanced comms facilities and our own energy and creativity we have can be used to “work together” to make this scene even more of a real community.
We have the power – it just needs to be channeled in the right directions!
thanks so much for your response – what you said made a lot of sense. The search for a party back in the day was half of the fun. Travelling in a slow-arse camper van that could barely keep up with the convoy on the steep welsh hillsides often meant that we would drive for hours with no joy – but with all your crew on board you made the most of that situation.
I have not been involved in the scene for a number of years and have often despaired at the way in which it was heading. Your response has given me a great deal of heart. What I’ve been trying to unpack is the subversive potential ravers find in technology – seeing a website such as this (and though I do not imagine that it is all good or without its problems)gives me confidence that a global community of deviants can not only exist but flourish: a reaching out that crosses borderlines and cultures to find a common strength in numbers.
I would love to hear from anybody else with some experiences of this global phenomena (good or bad).
Quick question as well. I remember many moons ago that the Spiral Tribe were going to hold a rave in the Grand Canyon – did that ever take place? and if so what was the effect??
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