Live the Dream, 1989

BLACKBURN'S rave scene exploded in 1989 – thousands of people flocked from across the country to attend parties in disused warehouses and open fields.

Lancashire’s streets were chock-a-block with cars packed full of clubbers that had descended on East Lancashire to take part in a youth movement that would outrage locals and inspire a new generation of DJs and musicians.

Lancashire Telegraph:

A press cutting reporting the rise of an 'evil cult' taken from the Lancashire Telegraph 22 November 1988

The Lancashire Evening Telegraph reported at the time that [an] ‘evil’ club craze had surfaced in East Lancashire. It said ‘the cult’ had been linked with drugs like Ecstasy Amphetamines and LSD. It even went so far as to assemble an Evening Telegraph investigation team, which visited one of the “Acid clubs” in Darwen where it found evidence of drug taking.

In September 1989 rumours began to ciruclate that another acid house party was scheduled to take place. The site of the mysterious party was a source of constant speculation as ‘worried’ residents looked for clues that would reveal its secret location. The police and council even issued a ‘help us find it’ plea to the public.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Boomtown: The Whitebirk roundabout sign at Blackburn

Mr Morris from the Ribble Valley Borough Council said: “If anyone sees large marquees, tents, and generators being erected or transported in the area we would like to know. The last event was horrendous from a noise point of view and we don’t want a repeat.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

The power behind the scenes. Two massive generators provided the electricity for the party

The site of the ‘Live the Dream’ acid house party was eventually found on the morning before the rave on 16 September 1989 when a team of workmen arrived to erect tents. Fifteen security guards later joined them to keep watch over the site in a field off Gib Lane in Tockholes, Blackburn.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Party goers arrive at the Live the Dream rave in Tockholes Blackburn

One of the organisers said at the time: “There has never been any trouble before and there won’t be this time. The only problem we are expecting is traffic congestion.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

The cars that brought the ravers to the Live the Dream rave in Tockholes

The Lancashire Evening Telegraph reported that crowds of up to 30 thousand were expected to attend the rave, although in reality numbers were limited to around 3,000.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Ticket holders were instructed to call a Vodaphone number printed on the ticket. They were told: “Head for Manchester, the party will be within 30 minutes drive of Manchester and further details will be given after 5pm.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

A police van keeps a watchful eye on the proceedings

One Chorley raver said: “I remember heading over to the Thunderdome on Oldham St. Manchester with half a dozen of my mates. 808 boys Partington and Barker were on deck duty under their moniker of ‘Spinmaster DJ's’ and the place was a sweatbox of acidic madness.

We got a lift from there to an illegal rave in Tockholes, where-upon arrival the driver (a complete stranger at the time) said, "Right, the car's all yours lads but I'm havin' the tapes", and proceeded to waltz off into the night with a clutch of C90 mixtapes. We just looked at each other completely stunned as we realised we'd travelled with this guy unaware it was a stolen car!”

Lancashire Telegraph:

The Live the Dream rave in full swing in the early hours of sunday morning

Supt Eddie Walsh head of Blackburn police at the time said: “I don’t want these parties in my area. I am worried about the safety of the people attending.”

Officials made a last ditch attempt to serve an injunction against the owner of the land to prevent the party going ahead. They also tried to block the Vodaphone numbers on the tickets. But in the end, even the wet weather couldn't stop the rave. Police monitored the event and even though numbers were well below the estimates there was no trouble apart from noise and traffic congestion. 

Lancashire Telegraph:

Partygoers still dancing to the beat at the Live the Dream rave in Blackburn at 9am the following morning

Lancashire Telegraph:

A raver is treated for knee injuries after falling off a stone wall

Lancashire Telegraph:

Two revellers at Live the Dream take a moment to reflect on Sunday morning

The Evening Telegraph even went so far as to publish the phone number of the farmer who hired out his field to the rave organisers, so that readers, who had their ears ‘assailed by 14 hrs of non-stop music’, could complain to him personally.

An opinion piece from the Lancashire Telegraph at the time said: “When the peace of thousands of people in East Lancashire is being shattered we will do everything in our power to protect them and we hope that legislators will show similar concern before the next invasion.”