UPDATE 2/8/10: Just stumbled across Digs and Woosh’s set from this party: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=7JWH8VN0 (more Mind Body Soul and the Universe tape rips here: http://dnbforum.com/archive/index.php/t-87731.html)
Here’s a long party report from an anonymous contributor:
Why the hell am I writing about a pay rave on a website that’s all about free parties and festies??? Well, it’s because, although I had a great time for some of the time (i.e. when we were in the DiY tent), this party had none of the atmosphere that makes free parties great, and I wanted to try and explain why.
The only time I ever went to a DiY do it wasn’t a free party, it was this Universe event where they ran a tent. It was quite a night, I remember dancing on the stage for a while, but I got so involved with the whole music/dancing/smiling thing that I hadn’t realised I was jogging the decks. Sorry! There were great psychedelic projections on the roof and wall of the tent, and the deep deep house music really drew me in for the first time, it made techno seem a bit grey and humourless, this was REAL FUN. Another good point for us was when we sat down by the edge of the DiY tent for a breather, and someone (er, girls, hopefully…) started massaging us through the tent. We never saw their faces but it was rather nice.
The other tents were less interesting. The second one, the house tent, which was empty, seemed to be playing remixes of Nirvana every time we went in.
Another tent had a row of people in chairs using ‘dream machine’ goggles. As we were passing, one of the guys using the goggles had a massive epileptic fit, pretty worrying.
The main tent was enormous, and condensed sweat was raining from the roof 😦 . There was a noticable lack of girls, and all the way to the back of the tent you could see legions of skinhead/tops off/gurning/bugeyed/macho/E-gannet blokes. I remember being a bit shocked at the sheer scale of it, why would people NEED to rave in such huge numbers? I just didn’t get it.
This party was my first pay rave and I really noticed the difference between this kind if party and a proper (free) one. A lot of the people there were unfriendly to say the least, unless of course they wanted to tell you how many E’s they’d had (usually more than three, for the record). Stingy too, a friend and I wandered round when it was getting light looking for Rizlas, but if anyone had any they certainly weren’t giving them to us. Tightwads Of course there were stalls selling skins at loopy prices but sod that. And of course Rizlas were probably on the long list of things which got confiscated at the gate.
We also noticed (as I’ve already mentioned) that everyone was going well overboard with their intake. My raving buddy saw a guy’s eyes turning red due to overdoing poppers.
[Update: My raving companion that night remembers things a little differently: ” Nobody’s eyes turned red, that was black, I saw that. Two E’d up crew cut northerners had a bottle of poppers clamped to each nostril and were huffing vigorously until their eyes turned black. But could have been an active imagination, a lot of these things are I guess.
Also remember someone eating speed at the chill out area and then throwing up everywhere, near us as well. We moved on.
Apart from that I remember going on one of those horrible rides, it was half fairground really.”]
I also saw someone freebasing (which I’d never seen before). There was a weird vibe at this party and the other two or three big pay raves I went to- it was as if everyone had been locked into a fenced compound and told to neck as many pills etc as possible before the party ended. With free parties and free festivals there was a more relaxed atmosphere i.e. ‘Let’s go and chill in the car/van/tent for a while, then we can come back and fucking have it 🙂 ‘
Another downer was the fact that there were clearly gangs out hassling and hustling and generally being rude boys which contributed to the feeling of being a bit on edge.
The way the party ended was pretty top though. I can’t remember the details but it went something like this: in the main tent, maybe half an hour before the party was due to end, the music suddenly stopped, and the stage, which I was right in front of, suddenly swarmed with policemen. One of them grabbed a mic and started explaining (to a loud chorus of ‘booooo’) that the party was going to finish early. The crowd’s mood became even more menacing but suddenly the cop with the microphone turned round and told us that actually the party could go on for an extra half hour. The music started up again and the cops tore their hats off and started going for it like the rest of us. They’d been actors all along. Everyone went mental (in a good way this time).
Universe had a good reputation as organisers back then, and a lot of the things I’m complaining about weren’t really their fault. Fair play to Universe for booking DiY to play at this, I had a wonderful time for some of the time at this party, and also at some of the Tribal Gatherings and Big Love, but for me personally nothing was ever going to top a really wicked free party 🙂