Boomtown | The Blackburn Warehouse Parties 1989-1990.

Back in the late eighties when acid house found it’s way into UK club culture a group of like minded friends and associates, who disenchanted by the lack of scene and dominance of commercial nightclubs in their hometown decided to put on their own events, mainly in disused warehouses and units around the industrial backdrop of Blackburn.

Initially outwitting local authority the events were promoted to people in the know via word of mouth. Flyers were often given out with a contact number to be called for rendezvous points and further instructions, often meeting in distant towns and cities across the North (Manchester’s Konspiracy nightclub being one) then travelling en masse in convoys consisting of Vauxhall Nova’s, Fiesta XR2’s and Escort XR3i’s (amongst other classic models favoured by the youth of the era) across to the various industrial estates around Blackburn. The parties rapidly ballooned from a couple of hundred local kids to thousands of party-goers from across the UK.

The early raves were a success and predominantly trouble free, however as the scale of the events got bigger so did the pressure on the Lancashire Police Force to get the parties shut down, police presence increased and a number of arrests were made.

One of the last big events was ‘Live The Dream’ in Tockholes, an all-nighter that took place in September 1989, which saw in excess of  10000 people attend.

The images below provide a good insight to these times, a magical and non-pretentious era of dance music and rave culture that went onto inspire a generation of club promotors, musicians and DJs alike.

Glenfield Park Industrial Estate, Blackburn. 1989.
The morning after, waiting for a lift. Whitebirk roundabout, 1990.
The convoys start arriving at Live The Dream, Tockholes, September 16th, 1989.
Edenfield, 6th August, 1989.
Edenfield, 6th August, 1989.
Leaving the Altham warehouse after an all-nighter. 12th February, 1990.
Police at Altham Warehouse, 12th February, 1990.
Police talk with ravers at Altham warehouse, 12th February, 1990.
Convoy heading to Tony’s Empress Ballroom. 25th March, 1990.
Convoy heading to Tony’s Empress Ballroom. 25th March, 1990.
Live the dream Tockholes, 16th September 1989.
Kick out time. Tony’s Empress Ballroom, 25th March 1990.
Reel Hedz Presents. Flyer for Live The Dream with telephone number to call for instructions on the night.
The marquee at Live The Dream, Tockholes, 16th September,1989.
Live The Dream, Tockholes, 16th September, 1989.

All Images © Lancashire Telegraph.

All the above images have been used by permission of the Lancashire Telegraph. The images were taken from the following article. Blackburn’s acid house raves remembered

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4 thoughts

  1. New Years Eve 1989/1990 ~ extension of a thrilling night at Konspiracy (the Manchester club for the discerning Manc) ~ indelibly etched on my memory as the night of all those nights ~ the tectonic shifts in world order of the time became the tectonic shift in my perception of the way the world could be….the illusions and the delusions of the beautiful youthful experience…it may not have changed the world, but it changed what the world became for me…xx

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