CMU Opinion

Disturbed locks and flattened hedgerows? There could be an illegal rave going on

By | Published on Friday 4 May 2018

Live Music

As we head into the Mayday bank holiday festivities, rural police across the country are gearing up for one of the big weekends of the year for illegal raves. Attempting to head off unscrupulous promoters and party organisers, Gwent Police have published a guide for spotting if an unlicensed party is about to take place in a field near you.

“We are aware that social networking has made it easier for organisers to spread the word of events and numbers attending could quickly grow”, say the police, before explaining why they need locals to be vigilant in monitoring possible incoming raves.

“It is vital that we obtain information and intelligence at the earliest opportunity”, they say. “Timely information about suspicious activity or plans to hold an illegal rave enables us plan ahead and take swift effective action”.

“Organising an unlicensed event, such as an illegal rave, is an offence”, they go on. “And although we do not want to stop anyone enjoying themselves – we will take robust action and do have the powers to seize equipment under Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1994”.

It has to be said, that does sound quite like they are keen to stop people from enjoying themselves. And at least one planned illegal music event has already been stopped.

Although, officers also remind illegal ravers everywhere that there is always another option: “Anyone, who wishes to hold a legal rave should obtain a regulated entertainment licence from the relevant local authority”.

It’s probably a bit short notice now to start writing out applications though, especially if you’ve used the words May Day in your planned rave name. So some people will probably still go ahead with the entire ‘no licence here thank you very much’ thing.

With that in mind, Gwent Police have put together a guide for how concerned citizens might spot if an illegal rave is about to take place near them. As well as being an impressive exercise in stating the bleeding obvious, the police guide also acts as quite a good to do list for anyone who fancies trying their hand at putting on an illicit get-together.

Posters or messages on social media advertising a rave
If you’re looking to get into the illegal rave market, it’s probably best not to write “ILLEGAL RAVE” at the top of your posters before pasting them up on the doors of the local Tesco. Equally, when setting up your social media advertising, try to avoid targeting your posts to fans of complaining to the local council or people employed by the local police force.

Locks and chains on fields and private land being cut or tampered with
Unless you own the locks or chains, I guess the key point here is that you should memorise what all locks and chains in your area look like, so that you’ll immediately notice any tampering by potential incoming illegal ravers. If it’s you cutting the locks, maybe bring your own locks to replace them with.

Unusual traffic activity – ie large convoys of cars on quieter/rural roads
All those scruffy looking people driving past your house, wide-eyed and looking lost? They might not all be Amazon delivery drivers.

Sound equipment and marquees or tents being set up
Bad luck to anyone having an outdoor wedding this weekend. You can probably expect the vicar to be strip-searched at some point before or during the ceremony. Get your gran to hide the pills in her handbag instead.

Power generators being hired and brought onto land/rural locations
I think the tip for illegal rave organisers here is not to hire your generators in the local area. Bringing them onto the land where you’re planning to hold your party is unavoidable though. Maybe shove them into a hedge to hide them.

Flattened or disturbed hedgerows
Oh, maybe hiding generators in the hedge wasn’t such a great idea. These police guys have thought of everything. Although, if your party’s got to the stage where it’s destroying the surrounding area, there might already be some other signs that something is going on.

Loud music and sound checks in locations where this would not be expected
Yeah, that would be one sign. Is there loud music playing in the middle of nowhere? Might be suspicious. Then again, Norma and Ned’s son Terry is a bit of a tearaway and often drives around blaring some horrible racket out of his Ford Capri. It could just be him. It’s so hard to tell who’s suspicious and who’s not. It’s alright though, the police have some final guidance on this…

Anyone acting suspiciously
That’s right. Anyone acting suspiciously is probably planning to whip out a soundsystem and start banging out some beats at any moment. Anyone. Now, you’re most likely all lifelong urban dwellers reading this, unsure of what a suspicious person in the countryside looks like. Having grown up in some very rural countryside, I can help you with this. Basically, anyone you don’t recognise is suspicious.

“Does this mean everyone you see who isn’t one of your neighbours should be reported to the police?” you ask. Congratulations, you are now a fully assimilated resident of the countryside. Please divert from whatever illegal rave you were travelling to and take up residence in the nearest thatched cottage.