Archive for the ‘Bedlam’ Category

22nd February 1992: Bedlam free party at Unigate warehouse, Park Royal, London

October 7, 2012

Update 21.10.12: Another diary extract from

Diary entry:
Dance, dance, dance, dance. Non-stop fucking getting lost, Tom – K case, eyes bulging out, saw Grooverider or some DJ total fossilised face.
I don’t remember much about this party; according to my diary entry I danced a lot, so the music and drugs must have been good.  There was a big bonfire outside the warehouse and at sunrise, as the drugs were wearing off I was invited out by a friend of mine to smoke some MDMA. That got me feeling pretty mashed again. For some reason I then found myself sat in DJ Loftgroover’s beige Jaguar, and I thought he looked like he had a fossilised face.

An anonymous contributor to the blog sent us this report:

Where to start? This was year zero for me in terms of parties, the first of which took place on February 22nd in a disused Unigate warehouse on a defunct industrial estate somewhere in West London.

We had originally intended to travel to a local party in the adjoining county, but as we were driving from meeting point to meeting point, we realised we were half-way to London anyway. Often, as the years progressed, this kind of mission ended in failure. But not this time.

We arrived, after a bit of fiddly driving, at a vast warehouse with large fires burning outside. This was situated on a large patch of rubbly wasteground adjoining the main road.

I remember remarking at the time that I felt like I was in a foreign country. There is nothing quite like realising that you have just entered a country within a country where no/new rules apply and the only goal is hedonism. The party seemed to be everlasting (although us lightweights chickened out by Sunday afternoon).

I can still remember the pit-of-the-stomach, wobbly legged euphoric feeling of entering that warehouse. We had to enter via a door in the upper part of the warehouse, and descend a staircase into the depths of the party, all the while getting a bird’s eye view of the deafening and blinding spectacle. There was an incredibly intense vibe. The place was full of people dancing. The music was very hard, the lighting minimal. My first proper party was everything my friends had told me to expect  and more.

There was one point in the night where I looked around for one of my travelling companions and he appeared at my side, however, as I looked, I started seeing double, and then in triplicate, and then there was a whole row of him!

The music I remember being very hard, the lighting was very minimal.

We felt like we were living in the future- the experience seemed so magical, so unlike anything in our everyday lives.

DJ’s? Unknown. Hours spent dancing? Can’t remember (but probably a lot). Amount of fun had? Immeasurable.

I picked up this flyer at the party:


22nd-29th May 1992: Spiral Tribe, Bedlam, Techno Travellers, Circus Warp, Circus Normal, Adrenalin and DiY at Castlemorton Common Free Festival, Worcestershire

October 5, 2012

UPDATE 1.3.2018:

Interesting query from Hardcore Bob in the comments: the Techno Travellers (who we’ve now added to the headline) had their rig in the blue and red marquee, so where were Circuses Warp and Normal, and Bedlam? Let us know in the comments 🙂

I missed Castlemorton but I believe everyone who says it was wicked. Interesting that dr_box (see below) mentioned the police herding him onto the common, people often forget that the travellers and soundystems were pushed/chased there by the cops. By the way, if anyone has exact dates for this please let us know, we know it’s quoted as going on for 6 days, but we need some sort-of-facts! Thanks!

UPDATE 5.10.2012:

We came across three longish (slightly chewed) VHS videos of Castlemorton free festival recently. Thanks a million to youtuber discodelinquent (great name by the way!) for uploading them. Discodelinquent has also uploaded some footage from Sugarlump parties. We’ll probably do a post on Sugarlump sound system sooner or later… Meanwhile, enjoy these videos:

Here’s a quote about Castlemorton from ‘Adventures In Wonderland’ by Sheryl Garratt:

Mr Arm (you know who you are!) let us scan a load of newspaper cuttings from his scrapbook. Big up! :

The following photo was captioned “Festivalgoers on Castlemorton Common yesterday, enjoying the sound of music in the Malvern Hills”.

The following photo was captioned “Common nuisance: The 20,000 hippies encamped at Castlemorton common yesterday”.

A classic headline:

Click on images for larger versions:

The following picture and article appeared with the headline: “Villagers threaten to burn out hippies -An illegal festival in the Malverns has driven people living near the site to breaking point”

Continuation of article above, click on image below for larger version:

The following article and photo appeared together:

Here are a couple of videos, the first one’s been online for ages, the second one’s newer and includes some footage taken near the spiral rig-

Thanks youtuber Yangow for the first vid, and thanks youtuber hemustbemad for uploading the second (he credits his friend Matt with filming).

Old friend Atomic Robot Man was there, and he sent us this page from his diary:

These great photos courtesy of Pete Dibdin whose work can be found at :

The photos below are from George McKay‘s book ‘Senseless Acts of Beauty’ and I believe they were taken by Alan ‘Tash’ Lodge (whose excellent website you can find in the links on the right hand side of our main page.

The Riddler (who has a great site, well worth a browse), has some pics of castlemorton here:

A Flickr pool with some pics of Castlemorton:

Commenter Jam Smoot told us about this mixtape:

A couple of contributors remembered some tunes they heard at Castlemorton and here are a couple of youtube links for them (see this post for details: )

Tim Aldiss’s site has his account of his trip to Castlemorton (his rave diaries are a good read, look at the other entries while you’re there)-

Here are a couple of Guardian articles about Castlemorton etc:

This lucky lucky person was there too:

dr_box wrote:

Castle Morton was an experience.. I’d been visiting a mates place in East London and he was coming over to mine in the depths of West Wales afterwards. we’d heard that there was a festi down near Bristol that weekend, so set off on the hunt along the M4. At one of the service stations along the M4 we got a lift from a Green godess fire engine that was loaded down with kit and Hippies, it was one of the vehicles spiral tribe was using to get to the festival. As we got close we found out that the festival might not be on, so set off on a hunt. the police herded us up to Castle Morton, by the time we got close there were several miles of trucks and busses full of people. At one point the line stopped and a guy with us got out and started counting vehicles as he walked towards the front. when the line started moving again, he waited for us to catch up. he’d counted over seven hundred vehicles, and he hadn’t reached the front of the line.

When we got there, the sun was setting and from the hills overlooking the site you could see the site starting to pulse with light and hear blasts of sound as things were set up. Travelling off all the way to the horizon there was a ribbon of headlights delivering more people to the festival.

Blinding weekend, my mate had his first E experience, Watched the police try and drive through the centre of the crowd. they got stopped in the middle, and a nameless longhair got passed over the crowd, and started selling Acid off the bonnet of the police car. after futilely attempting to get out of the car the plod ended up just laughing at the sheer balls of him.

Nighttime had more than its fair quota of low flying helicopters with spotlights. (although someone did take a potshot at them with a firework)

Last of the truly fun free festivals.


16th October 1993: Bedlam and/or Advance Party at derelict hospital, Hammersmith, London

September 6, 2012

Thanks again to for the memories. Can anyone tell us which soundsystem this was for certain, and any other details about location? Thanks!

Diary entry:
Spiral Tribe – Hammersmith
and then…I don’t think so! Weird E’s that make you sick 6 hours later. Warm and tingly, empty head. Um…

The last free party I went to was in a disused (mental?) hospital in Hammersmith. The music was harder than ever; too fast to dance to and really distorted, with a barely decipherable Skallywag MCing over the top. The atmosphere was very edgy and the handful of people that were gathered round the sound system were kind of moshing. A running battle was taking place across the inside of the derelict building. Fired up on ketamine and Special Brew, the Bedlam crew were lobbing glass bottles across the room. On the opposite side some other ravers were smashing the bottles with dustbin lids held like shields, shards of glass were raining down across those that were brave enough to be on the dance floor.

7th March 1992, Bedlam Free Party in Hayes, Middlesex

September 4, 2012

UPDATE 05/09/12: More memories from the not-so dusty brain archives of Thanks!

From his diary:

So off my head rushing mulushing couldn’t stay in warehouse too much mental. People shouting at each other in time with the music – went in car – crowded to the brim – couldn’t skin up shaking so much. Back to Ben’s – watched Life on Earth DNA. Jake played music that bounced around the room.

We were parked outside the warehouse in my gold Mini Metro. There were about seven or eight people squeezed into the car in various states of drugged up-ness. A jar of mushrooms in honey was being passed around; Orbital was blasting out of the car stereo. I was in the driver’s seat desperately trying to skin up but rushing so much my eyes and mind couldn’t focus. The skins were all wrong, my hands were all wrong, and tobacco and hash were spilling everywhere. I began to feel claustrophobic and somewhat detached from the rest of the group. I stumbled out of the car and into the warehouse and I soon realised the party was really full on and I should have stayed within the relative safety of the car but by now the music from the sound system was drawing me in. I remember hearing Urban Shakedown’s “Do It Now”, and thinking that everyone in the party was shouting at each other in time with the music.

When morning came we could properly see where we were: a large warehouse surrounded by smaller derelict buildings. Cars were randomly parked everywhere. People perched precariously on top of tumble down buildings dancing to Ravesignal III’s “Horsepower”. Some ravers’ were trying to jump start a car. We should have helped them but with my acid raddled vision I believed they were all dribbling, long lines of spittle dripping off their chins. At the time Siobhan and I thought this was the funniest thing we’d ever seen.

At some point on Sunday afternoon we went back to Ben’s flat and Jake played music that bounced around the room as we watched a David Attenborough program on telly about DNA.

Anything to add? 🙂

16th May 1992: Bedlam and Spiral Tribe in Rhayader, Black Mountains

May 16, 2011

This pic of DJ Ed Case, which appeared in Select magazine, was taken at Rhayader:

Here’s an extract from Atomic Robot Man rave diaries:

And here’s a party report from an anonymous contributor. Thanks, whoever you are!

It was a beautiful location, but there was 12 hours of driving and loads of calls to the hotline before we even had proper directions, let alone arrived! We were listening to Levitation, The Cardiacs and Butthole Surfers to keep us awake. Out of the darkness on a Welsh mountain road in the arse end of the arse end of nowhere a shape loomed towards us, and the driver braked sharply. It was just a paralytic local on his way back from a pub spilling off his antiquated bicycle and headfirst onto the tarmac. We were worried, and asked if he was OK. He clambered back on, grunted, and cycled off into the gloom.

Eventually we had to give up, and had a couple of hours of very uncomfortable sleep in a layby in the car (3 of us in a mini metro, a gearstick poking me in the ribs).

In the morning we were aching, but the weather was beautiful and we’d already decided that if we couldn’t find the party we’d take our pills and go for a walk. We finally got proper directions at 7 am or thereabouts. After driving through some deep valleys carpeted with thick forests, we stopped the car for my friend to get out for a pee. Two minutes later she came rushing back -‘I can hear it! I can hear it!’, after hours of uncertainty and confusion we arrived at the party at 8 or 9 am. A seemingly purpose-built dancefloor (actually a ruined building- part of a disused leadmine) on the side of a slate mountain with a waterfall over to the right (just out of the picture). There was a river running past to the left of the picture.

When we arrived we realised we needed something for ‘breakfast’. We started with Love Hearts and followed these up with some Special K.

Tired after the journey we spent a stupid amount of time in the car. This often happened back then, you’d travelled MILES with your friends to be in this special place and then, fuck it, let’s just stay in our mobile chill out room.

We were listening to Special K (an old house tape) in the car, and I remember attracting one or two curious stares because of this. Even then, things were quite polarised- you liked house OR techno. We liked both, which confused people.

A pair of beautiful girls knocked on the car window. They were tripping enormously and pointing to a piece of sheet music and gibbering at us through the window.

Sometimes, in certain states of mind, time seems to fuck up and start looping. At one stage there were about 5 of us sat in this tiny mini metro, so fucked that all we could do was sigh. This was all that could be heard for a while: ‘Ffffffffffff. Pshhhhhhhh. Phoooooooo! Ffffffffffff. Pshhhhhhhh. Phoooooooo!’
This was what passed for conversation in the old days. Then there was a new sound ‘Ffffffffffff. Pshhhhhhhh. Phoooooooo! Fwap. OW! Ffffffffffff. Pshhhhhhhh. Phoooooooo! Fwap. OW!’ The girl sat in the middle of the back seat was brushing her hair. Every time she brushed it, the brush twatted her neighbour in the head. It was a while before she realised and stopped.

We spent some time chilling out in/by the river.While we were sitting relaxing by the river, my mate, our driver for the weekend, heard the start of Aphex Twin’s ‘Didgeridoo’ and, without warning,sprinted back to the sound system.

Then, and this was something to do with the K, I had a very strong urge to climb the mountain (or at least get to the waterfall). I could feel, and this sounds weird, I’m sure, an invisible thread pulling me upwards. The mountainside was covered in loose slate and so it would have been a bit hairy even if you were straight. God knows how I managed it, but I reached the height of the waterfall. However, I’d gone slightly off course and the waterfall was now too far away for me to reach. I looked down. Mistake. I realised that if I wanted to get through this in one piece I would have to continue going upwards. I reached the top and noticed a gentler slope (you can see this to the right of the first picture) to take me back to where the party was. On my way down I walked into a field full of sheep. I could see a farmer in a Range Rover in a field below me, and I didn’t want him to see me so I sat on the ground and kept still for a couple of minutes. That was when I realised that the field I was sitting on was covered in clover and there seemed to be millions of bees everywhere. I carried on staying very still for quite some time. The farmer had left and the bees weren’t attacking me so I carried on down the slope. I reached the main road and had to walk a little way back to the party. I passed a lone Welsh country copper and gave him a cheery ‘hello’. Arriving back at the party I saw my friends, who had last seen me disappear up a mountain a couple of hours previously. They’d been worried, and I was oblivious to this.

On the way home one of the fluffed up casualties co-piloting the car insisted the vehicle be stopped and they be let out immediately so they could leap into a field and hug a lamb. I think the lamb ran away.

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