Rave culture. It’s a term that has remained prominent in an era of “rebellious” youth behaviour in the last two decades. But as we enter an age where the possibilities to immerse in alternative fun begins to decrease, people have started to take matters into their own hands.
The rise of illegal raves has come hand in hand with the increase in club closures and restrictions, creating a 21st century version of rave culture. With this in mind, Vice UK took it upon themselves to investigate and bring light to a scene that has understandably remained low key. This comes together in a brand new short film entitled “Locked Off”, where host Clive Martin indulges. Luckily, we were able to catch a glimpse of it all at a private screening.
As a partaker in “rave culture”, I was naturally intrigued by the concept of the film. I’ve attended the odd illegal rave in previous years and was curious to see the operation behind it all. In typical Vice fashion, no holds were barred – a necessary trait in such circumstances.
One thing that struck me was the incredible knowledge of the law from illegal rave organisers. The ability to react to any situation was admirable, with the squat tactics enforced to tackle police a clever ploy. But with the illegality comes extreme paranoia, which was a given, but also a stimulating insight into the livelihoods of those embedded into the scene. Trust and secrecy is paramount, and with an abuse on narcotics, it results in a severe lack of trust.
Whilst the natural route was to explore the culture in London, it was interesting to see the trip take a turn up north. Of all towns, never would I’ve known there to be a thriving scene in Denbigh, North Wales. Entering into undoubtedly the funniest part of “Locked Off”, we saw the little town draw people from far and wide into a forest. What it showcased was the dying need for uncontrolled fun, with youngsters losing interest in overpriced, stuck-up nightclubs. For me, it highlighted the not so obvious formula of drugs, excitement and freedom, creating an incredibly weird sense of unity amongst all walks of life. This led me to believe, if nobody is affected by the “gathering” then why should it be a problem?
A constant throughout was the high appeal of the illegality. It almost seems as if it’s within our biological make-up to take interest in rebellious action. Many admit to sticking a middle finger up to the law as being a main draw, and it brings up a good point. Is it the thrill and the thrill only that maintains this popularity?
Despite the fear of police action constantly surrounding it, it ironically rids the majority of exactly that. Being in a nightclub, you have CCTV and bouncers constantly eyeing up your every move. But in an illegal rave, you’re left to your own devices and can do whatever you want, which a lot of people are forbidden from in day-to-day life.
Balancing the argument was always needed. Unsurprisingly the police decided against weighing in their side of the story, but we were directed towards the dark side. We saw an account from a man who’d lost a friend at an illegal rave. It was a quick reminder of the severe implications that can occur at such events. With a lack of control comes the ability for people to go way over their limitations. However, there was zero blame on the scenario from the man in question. It helped to resonate that these environments are created and people are essentially responsible for what they do. Freak situations conjure themselves up in unfortunate circumstances and that cannot be attributed towards a sole event.
On the whole, “Locked Off” perfectly summed up the crying need for a release in the new generation of youth. Whilst city nightlife may have sufficed in the past, it definitely doesn’t today, with the constant focus upon your actions via surveillance. As the country’s favourite party spots see restrictions and closures, it’s rapidly paving the way for a new scene. In a society where people have become accustomed to mundane day-to-day life, a sense of excitement and drug-fuelled joy helps to numb the effects. Not only does the film cut into a relatively secretive scene, “Locked Off” produces a message which can only be portrayed by a selective few.
Photo Credits: Vice UK
Words – @JaikBFenton