With the free party scene looking dead and any raves happening across the country being targeted and quite frankly destroyed by the overbearing government, it’s no surprise recent times haven’t played host to any decent nights of free music and complete lack of inhibitions. There had been rumours on the grapevine that the ‘Iron Ladies’ final demise might bring out a few of the bigger names to have a frolic in the no-tickets no-information nights out that we remember from days gone by. As soon as her death was announced I knew a special night was coming our way.
GASH collective is one of the most notorious providers of sound in the north west, bringing high quality audio to any event, venue or stage you throw at them; from fields in north Yorkshire, to churches, to dirty little club nights in central Manchester; GASH have powered it all. The first night out I ever attended was Gash, a huge warehouse party in 2009 which featured two sound systems crammed into an industrial building in Manchester, with well over 4000 people in attendance and a rather hectic showdown with the police at the end. Gash regularly express their left wing views through the medium of events too. In 2011, they dedicated another 5000 strong party underneath a motorway to Ian Tomlinson, the helpless man killed during the G-20 riots in late 2009, and this latest party was dedicated to celebrating Margaret Thatcher’s death.
On their website, Gash provide a very interesting ‘manifesto’, a kind of dos and don’ts of free partying, and it sums up exactly how to make a perfect party in a few short paragraphs. They aim to create a free atmosphere, whilst keeping everyone safe and out of harm’s way. It includes advice on what to do if you encounter trouble, and how to keep yourself safe, which is a really smart foresight on Gash’s behalf, as many people don’t understand the risks or dangers which can sometimes be associated with these events
There was only 6 days between the announcement of this latest party and the actual date of the event, showing how ready to go Gash were. It’s a real credit to their own organisation that an incredible party can be put together in a matter of days, and the turnout shows the dedication and trust the northern scene has in Gash. On the night, it’s a matter of sitting around rather tensely, waiting for the announcement of the location and having taxi numbers on speed dial so the moment you know where you are going, you can pile into taxis and be there in minutes.
Last Saturday was Gash’s second outing into Buxton, and since I missed the first due to exams I was absolutely ecstatic to hear they were reusing what many have said to be the finest free party the north has seen since the birth of ‘rave’ in the late 80s early 90s. Upon arrival in the Peak District, and even just as we were leaving Manchester, it was very clear to see the grip Gash has on people in this area, traffic was extremely heaving from the word go, and once we were heading through Buxton the streets were crammed with party goers and police alike. Descending into Goyt valley, headlights illuminated the reservoir and the line of cars in front and behind our taxi was almost never ending. At this distance we could see the faint glow of spotlights, and hear the ever so slight rumble of bass.
Instantly we were met by security and stewards, dedicated to ensuring we reached the location safely and as quickly as possible, they had people monitoring the flow of traffic and cutting off different car parks as they filled. These events are run professionally and effectively, and it really is thanks to the rigorous and thoughtful planning they put in beforehand. It is obvious these guys know what they are doing, few other groups in the world seem to be able to put together the events that they do, it is a real pleasure to be able to attend.
After a rather terrifyingly pitch black nature hike along a winding path, we finally came around a corner to hear the bass smashing against the rock face, and the crowds around the path began to thicken. We then came to the clearing of choice, few man made venues can ever match up to the natural spaces the world provides us with, and this small valley in the side of a hill had been turned into an amphitheatre of bass for one night of serious partying; and what a night it was. The first set really matched my musical tastes, a real exploration through up to date 140, including Amit’s ‘Acid trip’, and the very recently released ‘Badman City’ from Kahn. The crowd that had already gathered by 12pm were really feeling it, and already the party was going hard.
From then on we were treated to a huge variety of music, Gash specialise in satisfying everyone’s needs, with music ranging from hardcore jump up drum & bass, to mellow 80’s classics such as Luther Van Dross. Buxton was no different, and the music was varied and interesting and as the sun came up, we were treated to a classics set, featuring music predominantly from the time Thatcher was prime minister.
As the sun rose, it was clear no one had any intention of letting the party stop, and an all-out jungle drum & bass set ensured no one was left standing still. People were dancing until gone 10am, and the event remained unstopped and incident free from start to finish, and was a real spectacle of good planning coming together.
In the aftermath of such an evening in other places, party goers will leave the location in an unsavoury manor, but not with gash, who insist that anyone left in the morning has to grab a bin bag and do their bit for the litter picking. On the night 45 bin bags of rubbish were collected by ravers and organisers, and taken by vans to proper waste disposal locations. Then, later in the week, Gash representatives returned to ensure the location was returned to its full natural beauty. Leaving behind only good memories and the chance for others to enjoy this beautiful location in any way they want.
Due to the fact that it is so different to a normal night it can be hard to explain and justify how good it was. So here’s a couple of videos to help you get an idea or for those of you lucky enough to be there, just for a little reminscing.
It is great to see in hard economic and social times, people can come together to have such a great time and have very little impact on the immediate area, but the memories this party created will last for years and years. A huge thanks to Gash, Daylite Robbery and all other crews involved, a truly brilliant party, and we hope to see you guys out in the summer causing some more mayhem!