Police say that DJs are being bankrolled by gangsters to organise “festival-sized” raves across the UK this summer.
“It appears that criminals are providing the cash to set up the raves, which have six or seven DJs along with all the generator equipment,” says Pat Karney, a senior Manchester councillor. “The gangs will then make large profits from a ready-made marketplace of thousands of potential customers in one place.”
Police say they have stopped at least 13 raves from taking place the weekend before last, although many continue to be planned. Two men have been arrested in relation to the rave that was planned to take place in the north Manchester woodland, Boggart Hole Clough in May. Manchester police and council are working to stop a “block party” from taking place in the same location on 4th July. Detectives are trying to locate five DJs involved in organising the event.
“What is new here is the nature of the pent-up energy that is being released,” says music writer, Simon Reynolds. “It must have something to do with the lockdown – people desperate for the feeling of being in large social gatherings.”
With official festivals cancelled and nightclubs closed for the foreseeable future, many young people have found themselves restless and frustrated, even now lockdown laws are being lifted. “Club culture always thrives when times are tough, when people need an escape, a release, a sense of belonging – somewhere to dance with your tribe,” says Sheryl Garratt in The Guardian. “It’s hard to recall a tougher year than 2020.”
Police say that they are expecting a “crazy summer” of “giant raves”. Over 7,000 people attended raves in Carrington and Oldham and a large street party in Moss Side this month. At these illicit parties, two men were shot dead, three people were stabbed, a young woman was raped and a 20-year-old died from a drug overdose.
Oli Wilson, founder of rave club, Haçienda, said the illegal raves were “casting a shadow” on the free party movement. “It feels like all the kids are just running around like lunatics in Manchester at the moment. It’s perhaps about frustration during lockdown, but I think it’s also about wider problems in society.”
📷 Top image: Peter Byrne, The Times.