Boomtown | The Blackburn Warehouse Parties, 1989-1990

British Culture Archive

Back in the late eighties when acid house filtered its way into UK club culture a group of like minded friends, who disenchanted by the lack of scene and dominance of commercial nightclubs in their hometown decided to put on their own events. Housed mainly in old vacant warehouses and units around the industrial backdrop of Blackburn, these events are now part of the fabric of the emergence of rave culture in the UK.

Convoys

Initially 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 and travelling en masse in convoys to the various industrial estates dotted around Blackburn. The parties rapidly ballooned from a couple of hundred locals to thousands of likeminded youths from all over the UK.

Reel Hedz Presents. Flyer for Live The Dream with telephone number to call for instructions on the night.
Reel Hedz Presents. Flyer for Live The Dream with telephone number to call for instructions on the night. Photo © The Lancashire Telegraph.
The convoys start arriving at Live The Dream, Tockholes, September 16th, 1990.
The convoys start arriving at Live The Dream, Tockholes, September 16th, 1990. Photo © The Lancashire Telegraph.

The early raves were a success and predominantly trouble free, though as the scale of the events got bigger so did the pressure on Lancashire Police to get the parties shut down.

Live the dream

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.

Live The Dream Rave, Tockholes, 1990.
Live The Dream, Tockholes, 1990. Photo © The Lancashire Telegraph.

The Blackburn raves took place during a magical and non-pretentious era of dance music and rave culture. A culture that went onto inspire a generation of club promotors, musicians and DJs.

Gallery

Early morning sunrise at Live The Dream Rave, Tockholes, 1990.
Early morning sunrise at Live The Dream, Tockholes, 1990. Photo © The Lancashire Telegraph.
Live the dream Tockholes, Acid House Rave 1990.
Live the dream Tockholes, 1990. Photo © The Lancashire Telegraph.
Convoy heading to Tony's Empress Ballroom. 25th March 1990.
Convoy heading to Tony's Empress Ballroom. 25th March 1990. Photo © The Lancashire Telegraph.
Kick out time. Tony's Empress Ballroom, 25th March 1990.
Kick out time. Tony's Empress Ballroom, 25th March 1990. Photo © The Lancashire Telegraph.
Blackburn Raves 1989
Altham Warehouse, 12th Feb, 1990. Photo © The Lancashire Telegraph.
Police talk with ravers at Altham warehouse, 1990.
Police talk with ravers at Altham warehouse, 1990. Photo © The Lancashire Telegraph.
Blackburn Acid House Raves
Ravers leave the Altham warehouse after an all-nighter. 12th Feb, 1990. Photo © The Lancashire Telegraph.
Blackburn Warehouse Parties
Whitebirk roundabout, 1990. Photo © The Lancashire Telegraph.
Boomtown Blackburn Acid House Raves
Boomtown. Blackburn, 1990. Photo © The 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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