In Pictures: Boomtown | The Blackburn Warehouse Parties | 1989-1990

The Blackburn Warehouse Parties of 1989-1990 started off as a handful of likeminded friends and associates, who disenchanted by the lack of scene in their hometown decided to put on their own nights in disused warehouses and industrial units.

Initially outwitting local authority the events were promoted to people ‘in the know’ via word of mouth, flyers were given out with a contact number to be called for rendezvous points and further instructions, often meeting in distant towns and cities (Manchester’s Konspiracy nightclub being one) then travelling en masse in convoy 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 revellers from the satellite towns of the North West and beyond.

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 on 16th/17th September 1989, which saw in excess of  10000 people from all over the UK attend.

Our gallery below takes you back to these times and provides an insight into this magical and non-pretentious early 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.
Eddie Maxwell from Blackburn at the Edenfield rave, 6th August, 1989.
Shaun Cannon from Darwen at Edenfield, 6th August, 1989.
Leaving the Altham warehouse after an all-nighter. 12th February, 1990.
Police on the scene 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 photo’s © Lancashire Evening Post.

Article by Paul Wright

2018 © British Culture Archive

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  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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