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The Definitive Guide To Putting On A Party

Forums Rave Free Parties & Teknivals The Definitive Guide To Putting On A Party

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  • By Ray Vaughn – Lifted from the Planet Yes website:

    Round up the crew, blag a rig and a van, find a venue, ring your mates and tell them where and when, set up the rig at the venue, switch it on and Bob’s your father’s brother.

    Most Important Things:

    Nice People in Safety

    Top Sounds & Visuals

    Interesting Venue

    No Grief


    The best thing about putting on a free party is that all your friends are there. Word of mouth is usually the best way, and you’ll only get friends and friends of friends etc. Advertising in other ways may attract unwanted ‘guests’. To help each and every one of your crowd correctly to experience the ‘dance energy rush’ in an environment of relative comfort and safety here’s a few tips:

    Always check squatted venues at least a day or two before the party for:

    Safe floors, ceilings walls, broken glass, electricity etc. (we found misguided revellers using a hanging live power outlet as a swing!), running water, flushing toilets and sufficient fire exits.

    Essential safety kit:

    At least one C02 (black) fire extinguisher.

    Trained first-aider with a decent first aid kit.

    Mobile phone.

    A 12 volt Halogen floodlight is useful for setting up (you can run it
    off a car battery).

    A 240 volt floodlight (or more) in case there are dangerous dark areas.


    It’s all dull, and some of it’s expensive, but there’s nothing that kills a party more effectively than someone dying in blood-soaked agony on the dance-floor.

    If you can’t think of any good music to play – let someone else do it. If, after announcing your intention to organise the party in the pub on Tuesday night you aren’t bombarded by endless DJ’s, all of whom who will guarantee to ‘rock it’ with their ‘fuckin’ mental’ collection of ‘white labels’, then, and only then, resort to “Now that’s what I call Absolutely the most ‘avin it, Hardcore Industrial Ultimate Rave Dance Anthem Classics in the pan-dimensional multiverse
    before and since the Big-Bang” from K-Tel.

    Your sound-system should have three important qualities – bass, midrange and treble. Many have only two or even one of these, but all three will seriously enhance your listening pleasure. Alternatively, soak your ears in Ketamine and Special Brew and lie face down in the scoop bin which was all you could afford with your last Housing Benefit cheque and forget about the irrelevant higher frequencies.

    A good choice of venue will greatly enhance everyone’s fun. Beautiful
    countryside makes a cheap and effective backdrop. A sunrise is infinitely less expensive than a laser and a squillion times brighter. Indoors, everyone will be happier if there’s somewhere reasonably comfortable and quieter to sit down.

    Drugs of all sorts may be available at your party, and will have an affect on the atmosphere. If you’re planning to sell alcohol, remember the penalties can be severe and the police may use this to get you if they can’t use party related laws. If you’re bringing the sound system you’ll be the first to be searched for illegal drugs.

    A good way round the sale of alcohol problem is to buy it in bulk, which everyone can ‘chip in’ for in advance (e.g. from France) and have a list of people who ‘chipped in’ ready to show the police if necessary. If you find that there are dealers at your party are selling drugs, no-one will thank you if they get sold horse tranquilliser as ecstasy. Take some ecstasy testing kits if you
    can, for the safety of those who will take it, but don’t carry any illegal drugs with them (obvious really!)

    Avoiding grief is the biggest challenge faced by anyone putting on a free party in Britain today. No matter how careful the organisers are to be safe and conscientious, some people just can’t handle seeing other people having a good time – especially if they’re not invited! Outdoor and indoor events face grief from the police (Criminal Justice Act, Public Licensing Laws), angry neighbours, uninvited guests and the weather:

    The ideal location is one where no-one can see the party or hear the music other than those attending. Sound travels a long way outside, partying in quarries and deep valleys can be very effective at limiting the range of noise disturbance, whereas trees reduce the volume much less.

    As a rule of thumb, if you can see a building from the soundsystem then they can hear the music. The amount of noise which constitutes a disturbance has frequently been debated.

    Some moaning ninnies will strain to hear a faintly audible whisper of a kick-drum, with the windows open and consider this an infringement of their rights as a miserable, party-pooping, tory (probably) land-owning killjoy.

    On the other hand pick your site badly and you could keep hundreds of people awake all night needlessly.

    The C.J.A. allows the police to insist you leave the site if they think that the party may cause serious distress to local people. Serious distress has not been defined in law and presumably if the police eject a party from a site which would not have caused a problem, they could be taken to court over it, but as yet no-one known to us has had the time or the means to try this.

    To order you to leave the land, the order has to come from a superintendent or higher ranking officer, although this often comes as a signed standard letter. In one case, the soundsystem refused to leave land when issued with this order in East Sussex and in the morning the police confiscated some of the system.

    If you successfully argued that no distress was or could be caused by the party you might get compensation for the loss of the rig and get it back, but this argument has never been tested in law (to our knowledge).

    Under the C.J.A., a confiscated soundsystem can be destroyed if the owners are convicted, and the maximum sentence for organising a ‘rave’ includes five years in prison. These laws apply whether or not you have permission from the landowner of the party site, although the police are less likely to prevent parties on land with permission. Outdoor events are not subject to the same licensing laws as indoor ones, although a marquee might be construed as ‘indoors’ for such purposes.

    Wherever you party, cleaning up afterwards is essential. Why should we fuck up the countryside for a party —after all industry and roads do it much more effectively. Cleaning up keeps on the good side of locals and helps perpetuate the outdoor free partyvibe – man!

    Partying indoors throws up a whole new legal minefield. Theoretically any gathering in a building with music and dancing to which the public have access is subject to an entertainment licence under the neatly titled Local Government Act (1982) Miscellaneous Provisions.

    Prosecution under this act is at the discretion of the Local Authority (usually) and in most cases this is too expensive and time consuming for them to undertake. However if pushed this will happen and it’s very hard to fight. The only defence is to show that all reasonable precautions were taken to ensure that no uninvited guests had access to the building.

    In the eyes of the average magistrate, this means having 6 or more bruisers in bomber jackets with headset walkie-talkies strutting around as though they just stepped off the set of Bladerunner. Taking money on the door also implies a licence is required. To the best of our knowledge, no case of this kind which has gone to court has ever been won by the defendant.

    The maximum penalty is £20,000 and/or six months, although a fine of a few hundred is more usual. Once again ownership of the building makes things easier although this law still applies. If you can prove that all the people at the party were invited—you do not have to have a licence.

    The other angles the police may use to try and stop the event are breaking and entering and abstraction(?!). If you’re cracking a squat for a party do it at least one or two nights before the event, so if you get caught you’re only looking for somewhere to live and not standing with a jemmy in one hand and a record box in the other.

    A discrete window can be left open for access on the night of the event. Most buildings are accessible without causing damage, if you break a lock or something getting in, this is enough to get you nicked for criminal damage – so replace it. Locks don’t cost much and might be useful on the night. Once you’re in get the tools (jemmy, bolt-croppers, screwdrivers etc.) off the premises immediately.

    Abstraction is stealing electricity. Check the state of the power before the night of the party. If there is power in the building go to your local electricity board shop and pay for some (£2O will do) in advance. They will normally accept the advance payment, and rarely inform anyone. If the police suggest that you’re stealing the lecky, you can produce a receipt! If possible have a generator on hand as a back-up.

    Often, the key to success seems to be not to give the police a reason to stop the event. A long-term empty industrial building, a few streets away from any residential areas can be partied all night without any authorities being aware. If you are careful about not inflicting too much damage, clean up afterwards and put your own locks on you might be able to party it again in a month.

    However, too many parties in the same building brings other problems and soon the crowd will expand to include small time local mafia and other thugs who have their own unpleasant profit motives for attending. A good phone network of friends and moving the venue each time will keep numbers manageable and idiots away.

    In general when dealing with the police, environmental health and any other officials or general busybodies and members of the public, remain calm and courteous at all times. This is a disarming tactic which will render even the most puffing, ruddy faced retired ex-colonel’s barking complaint ineffective.

    Listen to what the police say, reason intelligently and don’t believe a word of it without consideration. They will lie to you, steal your generator from behind your back and to hell with the law if it serves their purpose.

    If you think your event might result in a prosecution — take measures to protect yourselves against potentially biased court proceedings. Take photographs of all the safety precautions you have undertaken, and have a reasonable number of visible stewards. Don’t take money on the door, clean up afterwards and take photographs of the site afterwards. If possible have a camcorder available to record the event particularly interactions with the police.

    Lastly a few (highly sarcastic) DO’s and DON’Ts:


    DO hassle stressed people with head-torches and screwdrivers when the music’s mysteriously stopped saying “Oi mate, can I borrow your miners helmet to skin up with?”

    DO poke bits of metal into unknown boxes on the wall with coloured lights, saying “Beam me up Scotty”.

    DO gather round the police when they arrive, waving empty bottles and shouting “Remember the Beanfield, bastard pig wanker?”

    DON’T help clear anything up at the end, but instead lie around in a pool of piss and dog turd informing the organisers that they’re slaves to the system.

    DO arrive at a pitch-black Welsh hillside in November with only a small nightie, high-heels and two pills (previously ingested if possible).

    DO believe the police when they tell you the party’s cancelled (as they never lie), and on no account bother to try to find a different way onto the site, returning 40 miles to your flat to watch telly.

    DO park across the access road to the party so that ambulances can’t get in.


    DO give out printed flyers saying “Illegal Rave” in large letters a week in advance to give the police ample time to plan their operation.

    DON’T pick outdoor sites with ample parking as muddy dodgems in the morning is a top laugh and modern ambulances have wings.

    DON’T bother with a tarpaulin to cover the rig as it never rains in Britain.

    DO put generators inside buildings as Carbon Monoxide heightens the effects of ecstasy

    DON’T bother bringing any water to the party. If someone dies of dehydration it’s their own stupid fault …your honour.

    Good Luck and Enjoy!

    Interesting post! On a health and safety point of view I would say be prepared for evacuation if necessary, ie have appointed persons per room/area who will guide people out of the building. I think this is very important.

    althought this is pre CJB, DIY did take the law to court and won back every speaker, record, lead and truck, although in a fairly sorry state. Their defence? The wasn’t a single complaint about noise. I guess the CJB has made that a little bit trickyer now. But there you go!

    I propose that we ALL bring our resources together and make the largest events in the world. I am willing to do this for free – sacrifice my own paycheck to make it happen. these events need to have an awareness, an intention. Where do we need to direct the energy in order to facilitate and encourage the greatest healing for all?

    christopher four wolves

    but how do we become the largest and greatest without submitting to the very empire-building ethos that both our nations are currently caught up in to the detriment of the wider world?

    This sounds a bit like one of our “psy trance parties” in England (particularly with all the “hippy stuff”)

    I see what you are getting at to an extent (although nowadays on the underground party scene in England “hippy stuff” is treated with some cynicism and is often laughed at) – but at the same time we are a community (to an extent) and people pool their resources to hold these events.

    I’m not sure how you would link communities across nations when not everyone can afford to or is permitted to travel – for one thing I would have difficulty getting a US visa as I was busted for drugs many years back and it is on my record…

    but I think stuff like this board and the internet used positively are great for linking like-minded groups of people across national borders. Perhaps you might like to put up a few photos of your parties on your site as well? We would be interested to see what these events are like..

    what would happen if all the ravers – no matter where they were all agreed to party at the same time?

    Originally posted by Unregistered
    what would happen if all the ravers – no matter where they were all agreed to party at the same time?

    I think the Europeans tried it with the “wolf packs” night; (how did it go BTW)?

    Unfortunately in true British fashion there wasn’t much interest in our country in the small scale events; the crews here tried to do a big multi-rigger and got busted by cops quite heavily.

    If doing this across national boundaries, it may only work in areas where the time zones are not too far apart anyway…

    Now, let’s laugh.

    mry wrote:
    Anyway – what i’m trying to say – is that the “all at the same time” principle is such a sweet idea, kind of like the trancendental meditation where many people concentrate on world peace. I’m a believer. Now, let’s laugh.
    certainly seems like a good idea – even if it is just when you are setting out for a party thinking about the other crews in other coutnries and wishing them the best of luck (or indeed exchanging stories, photos and ideas about parties!)

    Run it to coincide with the International Dance day – week or Dance and the healthy city or one of the Big charities like the Heart Foundation who dance for your hearts sake I was just browsing an stopped and looked. I’m involved around the Southampton UK squat/rave/dance partyscene Enjoy yourselves only one life!

    Int’l Dance Day!!!! Who could have thought of a better thing….I think we’ll have a number of those (hehehe). Yes, and some ”guest lists” – a peice of paper entitled ”Guest List” with the words “everyone who’s not working for a state owned capitalist venture” written underneath shouold suffice.

    where is this party and is there ne in pa md or wv 😀 its really important to hear from u we r the soul ravers and need more partys to keep the publics interest.
    HeavenSkye you can email me at

    Can anybody help me with something I heard.

    i was talking with some friends about parties etc & apparently – (this is what I need verifying) if you have a sound system that you have hired (which means that your mate writes you a receipt for the equipment etc) then even if confiscated the hirer goes to the police to reclaim ‘their’ sound system which some naughty ravers have dragged to the middle of a large field to brainwash the innocent minds of the yout with their devil techno…

    Is this true? Has anyone tried it? does it work?

    I can see that the ‘hirer’ would probably not be involved with the actual party – i.e. not be there…
    Any thoughts anyone?

    Besides the fact that you would be treading on dangerous ground with that, it doesn’t actually work. I’ve heard a few people who have had to front the money to the company for every day that the system is impounded.

    My advice. Don’t do it. I’m not sure of the legal ins and outs but if you were caught out you could be charged with something like: “perverting the course of justice” or even fraud.






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