The chattering-class panic over Covid raves

The condemnation of quarantine raves has nothing to do with the virus.

Neil Davenport

Topics Politics UK

After the Covid-19 pandemic led to the forced closure of bars and clubs, as well as the cancellation of big outdoor festivals, there has been a revival of illicit raves all over the UK.

The first major ‘quarantine rave’ took place in Daisy Nook in Greater Manchester. Some 6,000 youngsters attended the event. It’s like the summer of 1988 all over again, when acid house and warehouse parties were everywhere. And there have been equally outraged condemnations from the authorities and the press to boot.

Since the Daisy Nook event, there have been other quarantine raves in Carrington, Lichfield, Kirkby, near Liverpool, and Stokes Croft, near Bristol. It’s not difficult to work out why these raves are happening now. Thousands of young people have been cooped up in lockdown since March. All of the major festivals have been cancelled for the summer and people are itching for socialising and fun. Even for a social-media generation, viewing smartphones and box sets can’t really compensate for a big night out. That desire to let off steam has intensified the longer the lockdown has been put in place. The Black Lives Matter protests were one way to seek a release from the lockdown – quarantine raves have been another.

But while the #BLM demos and protests have been praised for their righteous social action, ravers and their nitrous-oxide balloons have been condemned. Police have quickly dismantled a number of raves and have issued threats against further gatherings. Even older acid-house heads have been quick to denounce the ravers as ‘Covidiots’. For instance, Alon Shulman, author of The Second Summer of Love: How Dance Music Took Over the World told the Guardian: ‘If we’re putting vulnerable people at risk due to coronavirus, that’s not in the spirit of the summer of love.’

Doctors have been wheeled out to condemn the ravers as irresponsible risk-takers. Apparently, a lack of social distancing combined with an increase in sweat drops flying around will lead to a spike in Covid-19. These idiot ravers will be ‘responsible’ for extending the lockdown, they say. However, when the same causality between mass gatherings and Covid infections was raised in relation to the BLM protesters, we were told that the protests would not lead to the spread of infections. As it happens, there hasn’t been an increase in the rate of infections after the BLM protests. This is largely because the young are less likely to contract the virus or transmit it.

So why doesn’t this logic apply to ravers out in the sticks? What is it about young ravers rather than young protesters that causes such indignation? Thirty years ago, it was the Sun, the Mirror and the Daily Mail that ran moral-panic stories with upside-down ‘smiley faces’ to show their disapproval of raves. Now it’s the Guardian that is discovering its inner tabloid with headlines like: ‘Off their Heads: the shocking return of the rave.’ ‘With the stakes so high, history may not be kind to these young ravers’, the paper warns.

Since the lockdown began, condemning so-called Covidiots has become a pastime for curtain-twitchers who believe themselves to occupy the moral high ground. As with the targeting of ‘lumpen’ beachgoers last week in Bournemouth, liberal opinion is quick to condemn those people who they hate, even when they are obeying the lockdown rules, while supporting those they like, even when they are not.

A concern over the rate of infection has very little to do with it. To these liberals, provincial ravers in nowhere places such as Lichfield and Daisy Nook are full of the type of uncouth proles who the authorities should disperse or arrest. The reporting on the quarantine raves is a classic example of how criminal behaviour is constructed in the eye of the beholder. One lockdown-breaker is a hero while another is a selfish idiot.

Regardless, whether it’s beachgoers in Bournemouth, raves in Bristol or the BLM protests, young people have clearly had enough of the inhumane lockdown. If you’re keeping teenagers and twentysomethings in a state of house arrest for three months, it shouldn’t be surprising that they will find ways to let off steam. Rather than arguing for the government to maintain lockdown restrictions, all young people should be allowed to take their lives and their summers back. And this should apply to protesters and ravers alike.

Neil Davenport is a writer.

Picture by: YouTube.

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Ven Oods

4th July 2020 at 6:34 pm

It’s almost as if there’s some sort of double standard being employed…

Gareth Edward KING

4th July 2020 at 1:08 pm

As has been noted here on several occasions-give the authorities an inch and they’ll take a yard! Kids on raves? Well, what do you know! It’s suddenly become undesirable to let off steam! I’d rather kids were indeed getting their rocks off at a rave than getting up people’s noses on a BLM lark! It seems to be quite clear that the lockdown has only sharpened society’s response as the hysterical BLM statue attackers showed. Lock people up and they’ll respond in their own way. Lérida (NE Spain; 120,000) is in lockdown once again with no-one being allowed in or out. The authorities must assume that there’s been no effect on the economy after these past four months and its related chaos. How long can this go on for? It’s pitiful: Spain’s being turned into a miserable, greyish country with long-faced Health Secretary Salvador Illa and misery-guts Fernando Simón doing all they can to ruin Spain; Franco really couldn’t ‘ve done any worse.

Warren Alexander

3rd July 2020 at 10:22 pm

I’m a right wing Tory in my 60s and take great joy and encouragement from all the kids who are going to raves despite the whingeing from petty-fogging, mean spirited lefties. If the younger generation knuckle under to authority, all hope for the future is gone.

Vivian Darkbloom

3rd July 2020 at 9:03 pm

I don’t blame young people for wanting to party and to have a night out. I believe this is partly an epiphenomenon of the lockdown, as are the street parties and beach gatherings. It’s cruel to deprive young people of the things they’ve always done; gather together, be stupid, get shit-faced, meet people to pair off with or have a sneaky shag; dance to crazy music, to live intensely, etc. As a veteran of the late 80s acid house scene I’d join them if I were a bit younger. Rave has never really been accepted by the cultural gatekeepers as a serious movement and art form. It’s too uncontrolled, too anarchic, and especially, too working class.

I think this whole lockdown and new normal signals the beginning of the end for left liberalism. For years the liberal left positioned itself as caring and kind but Covid has ripped the mask off and exposed them as selfish, authoritarian, and cruel. If they had their way we would all be locked down forever in little anti-social bubbles working from home or on an endless furlough paid for by the little people who have no choice but to go out to work. They encouraged people in distress to share their feelings and assured them that they empathised with their pain. Just take a look at the comments pages of The Guardian; the most vicious invective in employed against the mere suggestion that humans need to socialise with other humans in order to sustain their humanity within a viable society. And have fun and a laugh! It’s all too much for the po-faced puritans.

Andrew Levens

3rd July 2020 at 6:56 pm

I agree to some extent, but protestors should not be allowed to get in the way of londoners going to work, or to make a nuisance at Downing street. They should be confined to the many wide roads and open spaces in the city. They can still make a noise there and wave their placards for the media. Being noisy does not mean your opinions matter more than anyone else. During the Brexit process, I found the man with the megaphone outside parliament very annoying and of course it made me more likely to turn out and vote leave.
I understood the behaviour of the beach crowds more, when i discovered that it was normal glastonbury behaviour. We are just not used to seeing it on the beach.
The common sense of british people is coming through now, regardless of government policy. Young people should go out and enjoy themselves and spend money, but keep away from older people who are most at risk and realise it is safer to stay at home.

Andrew Levens

4th July 2020 at 9:51 am

I posted this yesterday. why is it still awaiting moderation? and why was it selected in the first place? This site talks a lot about free speech but seems reluctant to practice it itself….

Gareth Edward KING

4th July 2020 at 3:49 pm

Yes, I was in same position recently on Spiked, I don’t think I said anything ‘dodgy’. I can’t imagine there’s a little man sitting there going through each mail Mary-Whitehouse-like! It might just be that if certain words come up or the filtering process fixates on words that it doesn’t recognise the post simply isn’t isn’t published! Perhaps it’s a grammar or syntaxis ‘fascist’!? (like I was as a teacher!).

Ian Wilson

3rd July 2020 at 6:21 pm

And I would imagine that the young will ignore these complaining idiots, just like they always have in every generation

bf bf

3rd July 2020 at 3:47 pm

The “global warming” scam and the insane “green new deal” was not working for the 1%ers /deep state “elites” so the debt bubble economic reset is being done via the COVID 19(84) scamdemic instead. We are now seeing the biggest transfer of wealth in human history….bigger than WW1 and WW2 combined and bigger than the (building 7 anyone) “war on terror”.
“No one has died from the coronavirus”

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