Illegal Raves – In Pictures


A couple of months back we illustrated Mike Boorman's excellent piece on the conflict between rave culture and the UK government with an iconic photo of a couple of coppers struggling across a field with an impounded soundsystem. Having been so taken with the image, we got in touch with the photographer Paul Massey to ask if he wanted to share any more classics from the archive – here's the results, snapshots of dancing, resistance, nutters and DJs from a golden age…

Paul Massey: OK then here at last are some of my illegal rave pics from back in the day, not a huge amount I am afraid as it was a long time ago now over 20 years incredibly. I will try and give a bit of info on each one.

CJB is from criminal justice bill demo in hyde park 1993 or 1994. I remember being outside hyde park and there was a sound system lots of people where dancing around. Police moved in and set off tear gas which obviously got people angry so lots of pushing and shoving, I then heard a huge cheer and looked up to see 2 kids on top of this van, I knew exactly what they would do so got camera ready and got the shot, absolutely no idea who they are.

Hammersmith 1        Cant remember much about this rave except it was in a squat in Hammersmith somewhere.

Hammersmith 2     Same as above

Holloway Rd        Again a squat somewhere off Holloway Rd cant remember the name of this crew who where DJing

Holloway RD 2    Same as above

Holloway Rd 3        Wide eyed saucers. Typical E head at Holloway Rd

Holloway Rd 4    No idea who this guy is

Stanstead           Illegal festival somewhere near Stanstead, this was a huge festival which was really good, bit of a traveller feel to it. These are two ravers I shot about 7am chilling after a big night

Uxbridge        One of my faves, we have christened this guy Microdot Mike, no idea who he is but I knew the 2 girls in the pic. This was in a post office sorting house in Uxbridge which was empty, I remember helping to break into this place in the afternoon, and it was mayhem. People found an office with tons of paper in and where just chucking stuff everywhere as you can see on the floor, imagine this going off flying off your head with gabba techno thundering away. Anyway I remember when I got this print we where laughing at this guy and one of the girls said I remember him, he took 5 microdots and 3 grams of speed and took it all in 1 go, ouch.


Paul Massey still works as a photographer, and can be contacted via his website over here