Club culture lives on despite lockdown

First published on: 17th June 2020

There are many things that haven’t been possible while in the heart of a pandemic. And even as restrictions start to lift, no doubt one of the last things we’ll be allowed back into for some time is a packed, sweaty club. However, some are taking matters into their own hands. By Sarah Bradbury.

As much as I would love to let my inhibitions fly for one evening and find myself back in a club with proper sound system in the throng of a dim lit dance floor, I know it makes no sense.

Not only because I’m pregnant and the need to stay sober, waddle around with a protruding belly and overcome tiredness that has me in bed by 10pm most nights wouldn’t make for much of a wild night out…

But, more importantly, if there’s one place it’s impossible to socially distance, it’s in a rammed club or heaving festival. After months of seeing no one “in real life” but my partner and the odd friend, it would seem like pure idiocy to be crammed in close proximity with a bunch of strangers.

Clearly, not everyone agrees though and there are those determined to keep the party going, pandemic or none. Illegal raves have been cropping up around the country and experts are predicting the trend is only going to continue in a “summer of rave” akin to that seen in the late 80s.

Those from the scene are partly blaming a lack of clarity about when nightlife can reopen legitimately, as Mike Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, explained to the Guardian:

“The youth of today want to be out and want to be engaged. There are a lot of people out there who are socially starved at the moment. And that’s why these illegal raves are starting to pop up because people have been trapped inside four walls for a long time now…

“Without very clear timelines there’s a lot of people looking at creating their own opportunities, socially, and putting on raves – almost like the 80s in some respects.”

So now, plans are being made via Instagram and Snapchat and last-minute location updates revealed by Whatsapp, with people gathering in parks and industrial estates in cities from London to Leeds.

Most have reportedly gone ahead peacefully, although over the weekend, an estimated 6000 people attended two illegal raves in Greater Manchester which resulted in one 20-year-old man dying of a suspected drug overdose, one 18-year-old woman sexually assaulted and three men stabbed.

Kafui Okpattah also produced this report for the BBC on raves being organised in London, who later claimed they were for people to exercise to house music.

Want to keep the party spirit alive without the health or arrest risk? Here are some recommendations:

  • Rave from your living room with a live stream. We love: Defected Records LivestreamEgg in London, United We Stream from Berlin.
  • Attend a virtual festival! Lost Horizon is on 4th and 5th July.
  • What about a car rave? No we hadn’t heard of it either. But apparently they’re catching on in Germany and are also cropping up on our shores. Electrikal Sound System are set to announce details of events in London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Bristol. Sign up for more info here.
  • Plus Live Nation just announced they’ll be launching drive-in gigs in cities across the country, with artists such as Mike Skinner and Dizzee Rascal on the line-up.

Would you attend an illegal rave? Do you have your own recommendations of other ways to keep club culture alive?