Socialist Worker

All aboard the ravey train

by Sam James
Issue No. 1673

'THE CORPORATE giants are tuning into Britain's thriving dance market.' That is what the Sunday Business newspaper declared last month. This will come as no surprise to hundreds of thousands of young people. I once queued for hours in the rain at a Tribal Gathering rave in 1996. When I got to the entrance I handed over my £25 ticket. All my food and water was taken off me to ensure I entered the rave arena ready to spend money.

But that wasn't always the case. Rave music began to emerge in the late 1980s. The music inspired a generation of young people who were sick of Thatcher, and angry about the decimation of the mining industry, and the poll tax. The scene was inspired by a hatred of big business and Big Brother dictating what you could and couldn't do. People were angry that those who ran the clubs were making a fast buck. So they set up their own illegal raves. They became massive events involving thousands of people.

Big clubs and record companies began to cash in on the scene. Just like punk and Northern Soul music, the record companies incorporated the music and sanitised it. There are scores of 'Now That's What I Call Ibiza 1999' type records doing good business.

James Palumbo, the son of a Tory lord and friend of Peter Mandelson, set up the Ministry of Sound club in south London. It is now a multi-million pound enterprise with its own record label and clothing chain. Other clubs like Cream and Manumission followed in the Ministry's wake. Despite the hyped big bands and the fact that big business is trying to dominate the whole dance arena, there are still loads of small clubs and illegal outdoor raves.

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Sat 20 Nov 1999, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1673
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