London Bridge

Party starts late around 12 o'clock. We were in a hurry to set everything up and get started. Quickly the building filled up with anxious Ravers ready to start their night. For a good few hours the party continued to go as planned. Being a small venue there was only one other sound-systems with us.

Early Sunday morning armed police arrive. Everyone is a little shocked to see such a heavy response until they realise the location. We had occupied the building next door to the Nat-West Bank. Apparently, alarms had been set off and complaints had been made. Although if this was the case it had been a long response time. The party was full and had been so for hours.  

Having the sound-system set up in the basement did mean we were directly next to a vault that could possibly have held millions of pounds. This didn't please the constituents that made us shut down, pack away and leave the area. A quick lesson that paying more attention to location of buildings was learnt.

Code 1 - "Dj Terrorise and I turn up with a couple of monitor speakers, possibly a replacement mixer and Terrorises’ usual 3 massive bags of vinyl... bowling down the street with all this gear, sticking out like a couple of sore thumbs among the usual Saturday night punters on the street!... Didn’t notice the coppers at the door who looked like they had just arrived until we were almost on top of them...they saw us, we saw them, without a word or a break in step we spun on our heals, dumped the speakers back in the car and proceeded to barge past the coppers at the door who were too busy arguing with someone and at the same time trying in vain to stop people getting in...we were already through the door before they had a chance to clock all the record bags!"

 

Camden Town

The Post Office. We had the basement and someone had smashed the water pipe in the bathroom above us. At first no one noticed the water but once they did it was a great concern. We had to keep checking as the water as it run down one side of the wall. Tricking along a pipe, though a electrical fuze box that hummed with the sound of live electricity that was so loud it could still be heard behind the decks over the sound of the rig. The puddle slowly grew until it consumed most of the dance floor. I remember looking at a huge puddle of water and wondering if anyone was going to fry.

Finally we managed to find the cut off point for the buildings water supply and managed to turn it off. The only problem being it was too late, the puddle was now huge. No one else seemed to really care, splashing around as they danced to the next tune coming in. 

It was a problem that we had now stopped any running water. This meant no toilets, running taps or any water at all into the building. This is not the best circumstances for holding a party but nothing else we could do about it. Nevertheless we continued on playing till midday on Sunday. 

 

Sipcup ABC Cinema

Used twice, we had the main room for one and the small room for the second. We joined up with another sound-system running about 15k which most of which was bass. Far too much sound for such a small room. Although this didn't stop us playing with frequencies to see the different responses Ravers will make when you do, especially after taking massive amounts of drugs. 

DJ Massa - "HAHA! This one, I took a strong pill just before I was due to play. I came up so hard I was vomiting in the foyer. OB1 came to get me and asked if I wanted to skip my set - which of course I didn't! I had to DJ while off my tits. I have absolutely no recollection of events except I blew out the sound-system twice with double drops of the records. Code 1 and OB1 kept catching me as I fell backwards from the decks from being too fucked up, partially losing consciousness. They just propped me back up again and I seemed to keep playing. Apparently one of the best sets I ever did - I wouldn't fucking know. Also remember I walked in on a gun toting crack deal."


DJ Massa - "The police stopped more people from entering but this didn't stop them, they were arriving from holes in the ceiling."

Code 1 - "We made new tops out of the speakers that were left in the cinema."

 

Catford Cinema

A cinema not too far from where I grew up. Most of the crew had been there when young to watch movies and now we were doing a party there. Stayed running till midday on Sunday. Had to take out all the seats of the main cinema to make a dance floor. The slopped floors that made it hard for people to stand let alone dance. Hundreds of unexpected Ravers turn up to an all ready crammed party after two other parties are closed down around London.

DJ Pablo - "It was great to be DJing in the same theatre screen upon which I watched ET . This would have been 15 years earlier! I also have to say, easiest travel back after the party, it was literally only 5 minutes walk from my house!"

 

Streatham ABC Cinema, Streatham High Road

The cinema had been converted into a block of flats but the original facade was left intact along with the foyer and the grand double staircase leading up to the first floor. Although rooms were going off most Ravers congregated in the foyer. 
 

Stratford News Years

Disused bus terminal converted into 14 rooms and over 20 different sound-systems. Everything from cafés to kids playroom. The warehouse depots were unbelievably huge covering vast amounts of area, far too large to fill. Instead sound-systems used small segments of the rooms. Making look like the biggest indoor festival I had ever seen. Room after room, sound-system after sound-system, it just seemed to go on for ever. I must have spent my in tire night walking from place to place looking for people.

At points the party seemed to thin out and then out of no where more Ravers arrived bringing with them new energy and enthusiasm, bring the party back to life. From midnight on Saturday night till the early hours of Monday morning the party continued to thrive. There was no police presence there that night and wonder if they were too busy or simply just didn't know of what was happening on their door step.

Code 1 - "The doors between rooms were large enough to fit 2 double decker buses through at the same time....you could walk into a room hearing the system that was closest to you, keep walking and at at one point the sound of that system would mingle with the system in the far corner, keep walking and all you could hear was the second rig....Those rigs were bloody loud, to be able to have 2 in the same room without head shattering crossover just shows how big this place was! I think everyone spent a large part of the party lost."

 

Opposite MI Building, Hackney Wick

Directly opposite the MI5 building across the river Themes. A large building that housed multiple sound-systems. The warehouse had an amazing flat roof and the break of dawn starts a beautiful summers day. Hundreds of Ravers flood the roof with bodies, hoping to catch some sun and say good morning to the city of London.

DJ Pablo - "In the morning we were out on the rooftop, and all these mi5 guys were staring at us in disbelief. They couldn't shut the party down, and we were they're neighbours for the day!"

It's funny after all the parties that did make it into the media the one they kept out was obviously the one that they were embarrassed about. It showed us that most times it was easier to ignore the problem and wait for it to go away, that deal with it. A concept that worked in our favour at least. 

 

Homesdale Road Bromley

On a small bit of land next to a park in our small home town. Known us Bromley Common, not the most ideal place for a party but we had no where else and felt obligated to run something that night as all other parties had already been stopped. The area is very residential, rows of houses that face a main busy road that leads into the main town centre. The common, only a small empty plot of land is situated on the other side of the road directly opposite the rows of houses.

We pointed the sound-system facing away from the houses towards the local common, hoping that this would stop most of the sound spilling into people's homes. Unfortunately the sound of the rig especially the high end was unbelievably loud and could be heard for miles. 

A few hundred Ravers slowly start turning up from across London to our small home town. By the time the police arrive everything is in full effect. Bromley police were completely confused by what was going on. They didn't really know how to respond. As usual we gave them excuses while it was better to keep going as long as we kept the sound quieter. It was something unexpected that they had never had to quite deal with before. They had seen endless house parties but nothing quite like this. 

We were allowed to continue playing until Sunday morning when the majority of people had gone home. The police kept their presence with two parked cars and a few offices but no other problems.

 

Oxshott Private Land

Armed police and a red helicopter with the royal emblem on the side arrive at the party, demonstrated that we had obviously pissed someone off. It turns out that the land was owned by Her Majesty the Queen. The police insist that a few officers walk around the plot of land to insure no damage to land had been made.

When they see the size of the party and amour of Ravers they make the decision to allow it to confine but it was too late. The police closed off the path leading to the site to try to stop it from growing but Ravers find alternative ways in. Many Ravers find themselves scrambling though woodland to get there. 

The only damage to land and my most rememberable moment was trying to put out a small fire near the base of a tree. I don't know how or who started it but it was far to close to our rig. Grabbing a bottle of what I thought was water, I try to put it out. The bottle of liquid turns out to be a full bottle of vodka. As I throw the liquid onto the fire I had to watch the whole tree go up in flames, Not one of my best moments. Embarrassed to say the least but happy that the police didn't notice or would have definitely made things difficult. 

Code 1 - "Police towed the truck and other cars out of the mud with their 4wd at the end of the party."

 

Tolworth Common - No K Limits UK Teknival 

An outdoor party, over 14 sound-systems. Finished Monday morning. Made it into the local newspaper and front page of the Evening Standard, also the 10pm BBC news. The Evening Standards headline was; "3 day illegal Rave Party from Hell".

The party started slow but when it finally took off it didn't stop, it just seemed to go on and on. The DJs had to cover multiple sets until we had to start asking if other DJs from other sound-systems could play as ours DJs had run out of records. Old Boy puts a smile on everyone's face after writing - 'DJ Pablo likes Plums' on the DJs table, in turn the MCs repeatedly add it into their rhymes.

DJ Decipher -  "Literally, my only memory of this party was a little girl (about 6 years old), looking around at all the bodies lying on the ground and saying "Bloody K-heads". Think I spent the next 3 hours laughing about it!"

Code 1 - "Loads of memories of rewiring shit, amps being taken apart (fucking MOSFET..!), Sweetleaf even taking decks apart and managing to get them working...all in the dark, sometimes in a field, Tolworth Common was no different."

 

Opposite KingsCross Station

Massive office complex, countless rooms with proximately 15 other sound-systems. We had the top floor only streets away from King Cross Station. The bass was so loud that the roof of the Kings Cross train station vibrated in time with the music. Ravers turned up laughing at the fact that they could hear the bass so clear vibrating the stations roof they could name the tune.

Although happy to have to the top floor as it was the largest of the room the building had carrying the complete sound-system up multiple flights of stairs, always hard work. No speaker or box of equipment is light or easy to carry but the double 18inch bass spins and amp rack were unbelievably heavy. You would need at least four maybe six individuals to carry each item up the stairs. Not an easy task to manoeuvre large objects and a group of people upstairs. Thankfully there were normally generous Ravers eager to help. 

Just as the room fills up I turn to Old Boy and shout over the sound of the rig that Pablo is on his way. Old Boy looks at me stunned, grabs the microphone and announced that the police were on the way. People start to clear the room, I grab Old Boy, explaining the mistake. He then proceeds to explain his mistake over the microphone trying to attract the crowd back into the room. After a few minutes the crowd start to return in larger numbers than before, soon the room is completely full. 

One of DJ Massa fondest memories! Massa and OB1 had a 1am back to back set that just rocked the room. DJ Massa - "The room was so packed, people were literally on-top of the decks, shaking the speakers and DJs table forward. Turntable needles jumped up and down to the movement of the crowd. All you could see was a sea of bodies crammed into a dark endless room."

DJ Decipher - "I remember turning up to the party to an unexpected pleasure! The queue went around the block. A couple of other people and I with our record bags, giving it the old excuse me, back stage pass. coming through. It was the only time I ever got to skip a queue! We made our way into the building, which was a huge venue, rigs in almost every room. Had a good giggle when we saw empty rooms while our room seemed to be the last in the building, and to our absolute joy. The room was packed, pumping with Old Skool breaks. It was one of the best parties we ever did!"

The party finally finished late Sunday night, the crowd had disappeared and so had most of the crew. Only a few of us left to carry everything back down the stairwell and back into the vans. Probably the hardest bit of physical endurance I have ever had to suffer. Happily after a lot of screaming, shouting and aggravated discussions of the best way to complete the exercise we finally got it safely out and locked away. I must have slept for two days straight after that party, it definitely was a long successful New Years party to remember. 

 

6th May Cannabis Meet

Brockwell Park is a large historic park located between Brixton, Dulwich and Herne Hill. As well as ornamental ponds, formal flower beds, a walled 'Old English' herbaceous flower garden and a charming 19th century clock tower.  Today it would be turned into a festival for the masses. No invitation but an event that I had visited on previous years, one we called "Jay Day" and one definitely not to miss. To be able to have an allocated spot at the event you had to request in months of advance to the local council or event organisers, which we didn't do. We were determined to at least give it a try.

Early that morning we packed up a small but loud part of the rig into the back of a friends car. We  rented a small generator from a local hardware store and drove from Bromley South to Brockwell Park knowing some how we were going to play. The rest of the DJs arrange their own transport and would wait to hear if we managed to get in or not. 

When we arrived everyone was already setting up. There was a large queue of cars leading into the entrance which we joined, hoping to think of something to say quickly. There were a few people standing around in workmen jackets with clip boards. One of them casually walked over to talk to us. I still had no idea what I was going to say and desperately tried to think of something. Before either of us could say anything he looked at the back seat crammed full of equipment, then the list, smiled and said "Your late!". Not the response we were expecting but one we were willing to work with. 

He crossed a line though this list and directed us where to set up. I don't know who he thought we were but it didn't matter. We were in. Slightly confused we just smiled, unpacking the car as quickly as possible. It didn't take us long but it didn't help no one had thought of a table for the turntables to rest on, so we had to park the car next to the rig and put them on the bonnet. 

Not the best to play on, as the needles jump up and down, making it nearly impossible for DJs to mix. Never the less we played on as always. If there was one thing Urban Warfare was good at was working with what we had. A few hour into playing a health and safety officer from the events council arrived concerned that we didn't have anything protecting people from the generator. We had to fix this problem as quickly as possible before they closed us down. The solution was to bend a sun-bed around the generator and tired it to a truck. Amazing this was considered as sufficient. 

Later on that day one we also had a visit from one of the organising who was complaining that we weren't who he thought we were. We explained that there must of been some confusion and that we had already had a crowd of people, it wasn't worth stopping. Presides the fact that the other sound-system didn't show up, which technically meant we had solved a problem for them: 

It turned out to be a lovely sunny day full of old school records being played in the park. It was estimated that between 10 - 15 000 people took part in the event. Everywhere you looked everyone was taking full advantage of the situation and smoking themselves to a comatose state. 

DJ Sweetleaf - "I arrive with a box of Jungle records under one arm and another set in a cast after I broke it skating a half pipe. In true UW fashion I still managed to smash the early afternoon Jungle set!"

Old Boy - "All I can say - we came, we saw, we rinsed - and BY JOVE DID WE BROCK WILE!"

 

Glastonbury Festival

I had been to Glastonbury twice before but had never taken the rig till now. It was the first opportunity to use the complete rig which was 12,000 watts by that point. Normally we would only use half or a little more for the weekend parties due to the fact we normally didn't have means of transport to move it all and also the fact that the sound-system was heavy, not easy to move up and down damaged buildings.

Preparing for Glastonbury took us just as long as the event it's self. Not only did we take the rig but had decided we were going to do it in style and took our in tire front room except for the TV. We had two large vans packed full of equipment and belongings. 

The reason for taking the front room is that we decided that we would lay it out the same way as at home in the middle of the field and make the experience a little more comfortable than usual. We didn't take the television as it wasn't needed but did take most of the seating, our rug and a few other items to make it more commutable. 

We weren't part of the main event but instead had set up the rig in the travellers field close to the car park. There was a large number of rigs that did this every year and was one of my favourite places to visit when at Glastonbury. This year we would join them.  

We arrived the day before it started and had everything running by the end of the day. The first morning of the festival I managed to meet Joseph Michael Eavis the organiser and land owner. He walked from rig to rig handing out free tickets to the festival. 

Glastonbury had first started as a place travellers met up each year and a free festival for the masses. Now it had grown and become an international event not to miss. To keep the travellers part alive they had given them a field and free tickets. I managed to get a few tickets but never used them and ended up giving them to friends. 

In total we were there for five days and I can't remember one minute though out the whole event that the rig stopped. Today it's still one of my fondest memories. Ruud Awakening had also wired the sound-system to a large aerial that gave us the opportunity to broadcast a live private radio station across the in tire plot of Glastonbury. When ever I was free to leave the travellers field to explore I was able to carry around a radio and listen to the DJs still playing.

DJs shocked to find that the rig didn't have a shelter. We thought it wouldn't be worth it as the weather was hot and sunny. No one thought about the amount of damage the sun can do to a record when left out. The records literally started to melt and warp, something we found fascinating but frustrating at the same time. 

DJ Decipher - "Getting woken up at 3am, being told that everyone had gone to sleep and it was my turn to play. So, wearily, I dragged my arse out of my sleeping bag, grabbed my records, and took my place on the 1210's. Luckily, I had my favourite MC with me through-out the in tire set. MC Ishu. I must've played about 3 hours all in all. I managed to watch the sun come up, with Ishu, and his usual brand of observational MCing, free-styling about how beautiful it was to see the dawn break. I don't think I ever played another set with so many double drops! Probably my favourite set I ever played for UW. I even got asked to play a set in the tent set up next to us when I was finished. I couldn't do it though. I was far too far gone by that point!"

Everyone gives up on the idea of sleep as the sound-systems don't stop for five days leaving it nearly impossible to get any peace and quiet. The only rest that anyone managed to get was only due to exhaustion.