The Blackburn Rave Scene

North West Action

“It seemed to grow really quickly. It mushroomed from a few hundred people into a few thousand in no time at all. There were similarities in the atmosphere to the Hacienda but the Blackburn do’s were on a bigger scale. There was an element of risk because they were illegal parties but there was a massive excitement about just waiting for that car to go past and join the convoy onto this illegal acid house party. That risk did add a bit of a buzz to them. It was also that the parties were full of people from all over the UK. I remember clearly going up to people and asking them “Why have you come up here from London?” And I loved their answer, to this day I still love it, they said simply “To dance.” I remember thinking “God, I suppose that’s why I’m here. I’m lucky I’m down the road” but to think there’s a guy from London, there’s a guy from Edinburgh, there’s a guy from Bristol, there’s a guy from Cardiff and they’ve come here just to dance. Even though I was firmly in the thick of it, I was able to stand back a little and think, wow, dancing is actually causing this. Everybody needs to be here every week, even with the fact that they were risking everything. People did get arrested and did get in quite serious trouble. It was that hold that it had on people from all over the country that added a real sense of excitement.” Suddi Raval

“I remember Graeme and I weren’t into it because we thought club music should be played in a club but for us to have 1200, 1400 people under a sweaty roof was far better than standing in the middle of some daft field. We called it a bit “Acid Ted”. It just wasn’t for us. I did a couple of them. I did that Joy. Most of ‘em got cancelled anyway.” Mike Pickering

“I was more involved with Blackburn towards the end. I think I’ve taken a lot of credit for being involved in it but really I only got right towards the end of it but of course that was when it was at its biggest and I did some sets there that kind of reverberated across the country and really got my name solidified in that sort of culture, the raves and the illegal sides of things. I can’t really take credit for that, there were a lot of local lads there who spent years building that scene. I think it started off with 40 people in someone’s garage and it wound up with 10,000 plus there on a Saturday night.” Sasha

“I’ve got names for some of the old Blackburn dos but really I associate the names with the venues more.Unit 7, The Abbatoir, you can imagine what that smelt like. One of the best ones was the one next door to Blackburn Rovers football ground. It was such a big room that once you got into the warehouse, it was such a big room that even though you were in the same room as where the soundsystem was, you actually couldn’t hear it properly. It sounds like I’m exaggerating but all you could hear was a distant thud. You looked down to the other end of the warehouse and there were just these glowing lights and lazers which was just an incredible experience. You just walked towards the distance, that’s where the people were gathered, it was just this huge, huge place. You could have thought it was many, many thousands there but at that party I’d reckon there were about five thousand people there.

“The biggest one was at Nelson which was about ten thousand which coincidentally was the place where we recorded Hardcore Uproar’s crowd samples. That was the last party of it’s kind, after that the police did really drive it underground cos they were arresting people after that. It was the last one of its kind and that’s where we recorded the crowd that night. That was in February 1990.” Suddi Raval

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