There is an illegal rave revival happening now in the London area with an ever-growing youthful following who are inspired by protest movements, connected by social media networks and pirate radio stations in their quest for low cost excitement.
Many of the organisers of these raves or squat parties which take place in empty buildings and residential properties are squatters and anarchists who systematically scour the city for vacant buildings to use. Commercial buildings, large residences, former offices, warehouses or other disused spaces which can hold hundreds of ravers are highly vulnerable when unoccupied.
For these “rave hosts” it is a lucrative business venture with large amounts of cash and quantities of drugs changing hands. At the same time they relish the opportunity to create a thrill by showing their “middle finger” to authority and empowering their crowd to indulge in some anarchy.
If a property can be accessed without leaving signs of illegal activity then it is game on. All it takes is some bolt-cutters, huge speakers and trespassers with enough legal knowledge about squatting to ensure property owners and police are powerless to stop raves from happening. DJs are announced and the rave is promoted on social media channels to an eager crowd hanging around in anticipation of finding out the location.
Organisers can move a rave to another property at very short notice if the police or owners are onto them but once a crowd forms at the location it is very difficult to disperse as seen in the notorious events at Holborn, Vauxhall and East Croydon raves of recent years. In May 2017 even “sleepy” Stanmore in Middlesex at the far end of the Jubilee line saw an illegal party at a vacant building which was attended by around 600 youths.
In another instance, in January 2017 five security guards were forced to flee a vacant commercial building in Hounslow, West London when around 1,500 16-18 year olds descended on the property after a message went out on social media about a rave at the property. The rave was eventually shut down by riot police who removed hundreds of youths from the building.
Each year the period from Halloween until after New Year is marked by huge squat parties in empty buildings, such as Scumoween, an illegal rave with various off-shoot events and infamous for instances of arson and violent clashes with police.
The ravers see the buildings where the squat parties are held as disposable and revel in the fact that “anything goes”. There are no restrictions on what you can do, no one is taking any responsibility for safety and tragedies (mainly drug induced) including fatalities are widely reported in the press. At any point the building and the people trespassing there can be literally be one discarded roll-up away from a huge fire.
Ultimately the responsibility or liability for injuries, damage or worse ends with the “duty of care” under negligence that the property owner has to people entering the premises. It does not matter that the rave has been organised illegally.
PGP regularly sees the aftermath of these raves when buildings are covered in spray paint and we have to wade through broken glass and piles of small metal canisters from nitrous oxide balloons whilst explaining to owners or property managers that just cleaning up and making the building safe again is going to cost tens of thousands.
Why be wise after the event? All these issues are avoidable. Talk to us about protecting your building before it becomes vacant.