Illegal Raves: Fair or Fail?

Written by Jenna Dreisenstock

Illegal raves are on the rise; according to a recently released Sky News report and coverage by Resident Advisor, the growing number of illegal raves in the UK is skyrocketing with incidents growing in 2018 by 9%with 680 illegal raves being reported this year alone. This begs us to ask the question, are those hosting these illegal raves at fault, or is it the responsibility of the UK government to make sure that those who are going to partake in raves, have safe venues in which to do so?

The massive amount of illegal raves is evidently connected with the loss of many venues in the Uk that caters to those who are a part of the scene; and when one loses access to safe spaces, it is extremely unreasonable to expect party-goers to simply – give up. On top of that, with the slow decline of venues; actual licensed venues are alienating those who simply cannot afford to host or attend these events – and inevitably, with less venues and skyrocketing prices – the community will take this issue into their own hands.

Law enforcement are quick to blame harmful incidents on the fact that these raves are illegal, despite acknowledging the closing down of venues. There is a large focus on the illegal activity as opposed to how they are able to combat this situation which is indeed an extremely dangerous situation for all involved. Reminiscent of the earlier crackdown of electronic music scenes in 1970’s and 1980’s; it’s easy to blame those who partake for the destructive actions of a minority without acknowledging why the problematic elements in these illegal raves even exist.

For many reading reports of drug use and poor safety regulation in these situations, it seems relatively obvious that much of the blame is being placed on the community as opposed to tackling the issue realistically and with objectivity. The complaints regarding illegal raves tend to demonise those involved, which is harmful to all as the real issues are not being tackled.

It is acknowledged that the danger involved in these raves is a serious issue, yet why is the blame being placed on the community? Those who wish to partake in rave culture should have access to spaces that are safe, affordable and allow that sense of community to flourish. Instead, cracking down on these raves actively hurts the people involved; with absolutely no safety regulations in place at these illegal venues, which includes the access to medical care without judgement and fear of arrest if someone within the rave scene accidentally overdoses on drugs such as ecstasy – which often isn’t even the drug itself that leads to overdose, but the filler ingredients in which these pills are cut with. Medics need to be present, without stigma.

The accessibility of these drugs with the lack of venue safety regulations along with the alienation of those who simply cannot afford to attend licensed venues places attendees in danger. Instead of demonising those who are pushing for the survival of the community by equating legality with morality, the UK should be examining this from a different perspective; allowing safe spaces for all without obvious threat from law enforcement and genuine understanding.

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