Rave Revival

The Re-Invention of Club Culture

Clubbing and nightlife culture is witnessing a wave of change. Youth are frustrated at venues closing, early curfews and are looking to take back ownership of their nights out. From the comeback of the illegal rave to the carving out of new spaces with new rules, the shape of club culture is fast-changing. Here we look at three trends on the scene today.

One. Illegal raves.

Illegal raves have been a staple of the British partying scene for decades, but figures show that London raves in the past year have doubled from 70 to 133, with events rapidly expanding in size.

The movement is led by the youngsters who feel left out by the strict rules and restrictions of the legitimate club scene. Where it used to be petrol station phone boxes and text messages that informed the party going youth of the rave location, nowadays of course, social media is the catalyst driving hordes of people on locations that are nothing short of imaginative and resourceful, from a closed-down Morrisons in Hounslow, to a Liverpool party accessible only by an underground tunnel.

The events are offering a kind of freedom away from intimidating door policies, invasive pat-downs and noise policing, with the aim to create a more liberated atmosphere based on trust and the mutual desire to have fun, as opposed to wanting to cause trouble.

Two. Women rule the rave.

The continuing rise of feminism both in its underground and mainstream forms, has meant that women and other marginalised groups are starting to be listened to when it comes to their partying needs, and if not, are simply creating their own spaces.

Such groups are tired of being left behind and ignored, so rather than begging and pleading with the current status quo, they have become creative with their partying by creating safe spaces. While safe spaces have a bad reputation and tend to be linked to the idea that millennials are “snowflakes”, there are many reasons why they have become necessary. In terms of nightlife, they exist to cater to the underrepresented. Clubs such as Bitch, Please! in Bristol and BBZ in London – which describes itself as “centring femme identity & eradicating misogyny for queer woman, trans folk and non-binary people of colour” are just as about creating a like-minded community as they are a place to party.

Three. House of Brand.

For those less interested in the DIY-approach, another trend that is increasingly on the rise, is the brand-owned music venues. A lot of the backlash to contemporary club-culture seems to stem from the gap between what young people earn and the cost of living – and partying. Tickets to nights out are becoming more expensive without any added benefits. While branded events have more restrictions than the no-rules-apply free raves, venues such as House of Vans or Converse’s recent hotel pop-up offer better line-ups and bigger spaces than traditional clubs. The nights appeal to those less drawn to the wild unadulterated hedonism of free raves, and more concerned about an enjoyable well-curated night out within an Instagram-aesthetic environment.

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