UNG:DOX
Free Party

Free Party

Aaron Trinder / United Kingdom / 2023

Welcome to a party so wild that the British state had to rewrite the law to ban it, and that the electronic sound waves of the raging Free Party movement of the 1990s still resonate today.

It’s a long way from illegal British warehouse raves to hippies singing around the campfire, but in a field outside Glastonbury, England, the two subcultures collided one fateful day at the end of Margaret Thatcher’s grey decade. The two groups threw the acoustic guitar on the bonfire and agreed to believe in anarchy, dance and freedom. And so begins the story of the disruptive Free Party movement that took over British underground culture in the early 1990s with home-built speaker systems and rickety DJ booths. There were no fences around the festival grounds, everyone was welcome, everything was free and the music never stopped. The Free Party movement was the first to believe in the party as a sweaty social utopia and for the same reason ended up in the British Parliament, which passed an infamous law banning ‘repetitive beats’, thus ending a wild and unruly chapter in the history of electronic music. A chapter that is now finally being told by those who lived it.