An hour of madness from one of the UK’s most memorable New Year’s raves.
In case you missed it last week, producer and unofficial rave scholar Chrissy gave Electronic Beats a crash course in the tragically under-appreciated sound and history of happy hardcore. One of Chrissy’s most striking insights comes when discussing the development of hardcore and rave after the UK cracked down on outdoor raves with the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act in 1994.
As Chrissy writes, the act “banned any outdoor gathering of more than 20 people playing ‘sounds wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats’. This, along with other factors, shattered the diverse coalition of the hardcore rave scene: the older, more fashionable urban contingent largely took to the nightclubs and developed the sound we know as jungle—with its distinctly non-repetitive chopped-up beats—while the teens from the suburbs took their parties to the arenas and other large venues of the surrounding areas. Their sound pushed the tempo and cranked up the bass in the same way jungle did, but kept the piano breakdowns, chipmunk vocals, and four-on-the-floor kick drums of hardcore rave. This is when happy hardcore truly came into being.”
The video above is an amazing snapshot of exactly this moment in rave history: New Years Eve, 1994. No outdoor gatherings were allowed, so instead, the Wembley Exhibition Centre played host to over 10,000 ravers for the Strictly Underground Records & Ravealation party. In the video, the Strictly Underground speak to leading hardcore DJs like DJ Rap and capture wild scenes of thousands of ravers going absolutely mental to a mix of jungle, hardcore and happy hardcore.
Watch the full video above.