Illegal raves aren’t exactly a new thing. When house music reached British shores in the 1980s, there were few legal avenues who seemed willing to get behind it – hence why the genre’s history in the UK began on pirate radio and events organised in a cat and mouse game with the police around the M25.
Now, illegal events in house music didn’t originate in Britain – plenty of parties which took place in the likes of Chicago and Detroit were what we’d now call unlicensed. But they took a new scale altogether on reaching the UK – so for Ears To The House to start pontificating on the rights and wrongs of illegal raves would be showing a terrible ignorance of history.
Nonetheless, Mixmag’s attitude to the subject puzzles us. Recently, they ran an article about crackdowns on unauthorised events in Italy – introduced by the newly elected PM Giorgia Meloni. A six year prison sentence could await those who breach her new rules, which also increase police powers to try and intercept such events.
We suspect this is more about politics and manipulating media coverage than it is about public safety – but we digress. But whilst Mixmag is clearly concerned about this latest development, where was their outrage at the plague raves which took place during Covid-19 lockdowns across Europe? Nowhere to be seen, as you might recall.
Plague raves – often illegal gatherings which mostly paid little to no attention to restrictions designed to slow the spread of the pandemic – took place from pretty much the start of the first lockdowns in spring 2020. Indeed, some of them took place not far from Mixmag’s plush London office – yet we don’t recall the publication reporting on them, let alone taking any kind of stance.
And unlike with traditional illegal raves, the threat to safety was much more real at a plague rave. Not only were they more likely to be run by criminals and gangs than your average illegal event, there was also a chance of catching a highly contagious virus – let’s not forget that there was no vaccine or cure in the pandemic’s early months.
Yet despite these dangers, Mixmag almost completely ignored the issue. Their inconsistency has got worse since they became an online only publication…