George Hull

Bored of the dance

I dropped out of university to pursue a career as a rave promoter. Raves now aren’t worth promoting

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[/audioplayer]At 19, I dropped out of university to pursue a career as a rave promoter. I went into business with a schoolfriend. We rose through the ranks of party promotion, founded a record label, and started an annual dance music festival. After more than ten years, though, we’ve regretfully decided to close down. And here’s why: young people these days just don’t know how to rave. They are too safe and boring.

Rave, like all youth movements, was meant to be about freedom, rebellion and pissing off your parents. Generations before us had alienated their elders with the help of Elvis or the Sex Pistols. Ravers aimed to start a revolution by dancing all night under the influence of their drug of choice: ecstasy.

The late 1980s and early 1990s were the heyday of commercial rave promotion. In true Thatcherite spirit, quick-witted entrepreneurs worked within and around the law to swiftly organise and publicise parties to entertain tens of thousands of people at imaginative locations. Promoters such as Paul Staines, later known as the libertarian-conservative blogger Guido Fawkes, dazzled the kids and kept most of the home counties awake with vast outdoor events.

That generation is now middle-aged. Instead we have hipsters — a subculture so spineless that it had to borrow its name from its parents. Hipsters are an uptight bunch. They like dance music, but they lack the sense of abandon that made raving so much fun.

Regulatory pressure means that most raves in this country are held in city parks in the afternoon, and wrap up around 10 p.m., which is when a proper rave should start. A grey sky and a light drizzle is considered an acceptable ambience.

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