We spoke to a guy who sets up illegal raves

He’s been running parties in Belfast for eight years

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You may have heard of the Rave Party From Hell. Nearly 4,000 people were either marked as going or interested on Facebook. I had seen illegal raves before, but I never seen anything with as much interest as that. Nearly every person I knew had liked the page.

Recently, I saw a few new events run by the same people. A group called Annaghtek. I reached out, to see if they’d speak to me anonymously, and one of the organisers obliged.

Image from the Rave Party From Hell Facebook page

Image from the Rave Party From Hell Facebook page

So to start, how would you explain what you do?

We do raves. We want to provide an alternative experience to overpriced nightclubs with slow music, bonehead bouncers, overpriced beer and the worst part is they close by 2am – or if you’re lucky 3am. We do proper pounding techno, outside, with no bouncers, no rules, really sound people, parties that go on all night, for free. That’s what we do.

Annaghtek's symbol

Annaghtek’s symbol

So how long have you been setting up these raves?

We have a had a loose crew for about eight years, but we decided to do it on a different scale and we formed Annaghtek a little less than a year ago.

To go on from that, how has the rave scene in Belfast changed over the time you’ve been involved? At what point is it at now?

There have been ups and downs really. There were a couple of other crews back when we started going to raves that are no longer active. The raves were a lot smaller then (smaller rigs and less people) and not very frequent. Then there was a spike for a few years in underground club nights and warehouse parties in Belfast with crews like Zone33, BigBang, Skyliner and a few others. But it was pretty quiet then for a few years before us I think, and it was this lack of underground techno and raves in Belfast that motivated us and it’s booming now with a couple of other crews now also active.

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How do you go about securing the locations for your raves?

We go exploring. It’s a lot of fun. We go for places that are easy for people to get to but out of the way enough not to get complaints about noise. Also a lot of people contact us with suggestions.

The Rave party from hell had nearly 4,000 people either interested or going? How many people actually ended up showing up?

Yeah we were actually a bit worried about that. When you have a crowd that big without any security or control, anything could happen. Thankfully around five hundred people came down. Still a big crowd. And thankfully everyone behaved themselves which allowed an incredible atmosphere of freedom.

I suppose people behaving decently is a huge factor in keeping the scene alive?

Absolutely. It’s everything. It only takes one person to do something really stupid and it ruins everything. People who come to raves love it though, and don’t want to see it ruined. It becomes a self-policing social dynamic, where everyone is responsible for everyone, therein preventing and discouraging any untoward behaviour.

Now obviously there’s trouble about the legality of what’s going on, have there been any close calls from the law?

Surprisingly, no. As far as the legality goes, we are not actually breaking any laws. The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which prohibits unlicensed raves doesn’t even apply in Northern Ireland. We don’t trespass, as we only use public land, we’ve never had a noise complaint (despite a 3,000 watt system), no criminal damage, and we always clean up all rubbish after a rave. So really, we’re not doing anything wrong.

So you’re not putting yourself in too much criminal danger with the way you run the raves?

We have done a lot of raves and they just keep getting bigger. We’ve never had to deal with the law yet, but inevitably, we will at some point if this thing keeps growing. We don’t honestly know what the police would even say. Every rave we do, we’re almost sure it’ll get busted. But we’ve never even got the faintest whiff of bacon at a rave. It’s a bit odd really.

The crowd from the Rave Party From Hell

The crowd from the Rave Party From Hell

Now if someone wanted to go to one of your raves, how should they go about it?

Search “Annaghtek”. That’s the start.

Cool, well thanks for your time I think that’s us. I’f I ever need a party, I’ll know who to call.

No bother.