Raving in a pandemic

One group, organizing an illegal rave in Sheffield this weekend, started dropping clues to its followers on Snapchat on Thursday. “Hope everyone’s still ready for a mad weekend,” they wrote in an update seen by CNN, before advertising a “Lockdown Rave” on Saturday for which a location will be revealed on the day.As the plans picked up coverage in local media, the group gleefully shared screenshots of news articles and police warnings, reassuring followers: “This is 100% still on.” Meanwhile, several new police warnings were issued about similar events. Authorities in Manchester even publicized body-cam footage from their response to raves last week, in an effort to deter partygoers.

“What is new here is the nature of the pent-up energy that is being released,” says Reynolds. “It must have something to do with the lockdown — people desperate for the feeling of being in large social gatherings.”To be young at this point in time, it must feel like a pause button has been pressed down hard on your life,” he adds. “So the counter-reaction is this explosion of recklessness.” The pandemic not only caused the shuttering of clubs and bars, but also wiped out the entire summer calendar of festivals and music concerts, which are such a staple of British youth culture.These events have little in common with the raves seen in the late 80s, note those who attended the first time around, and are shunned by promoters for their shoddy organization and public health implications.”I want to go back to a rave as soon as possible, it’s what I love, it’s how I earn my living,” says Gee. “But it’s a very dangerous time to be doing that.”But they’re attracting daily attention in the pages of British newspapers nonetheless — and some worry they could tarnish the entire industry. “It’s a bad look on the rave scene,” says Gordon.

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