We’ve previously noted how the word ‘rave’ was used in the late 40s and 50s for late night jazz parties in London and elsewhere. Moving into the 1960s, ‘rave’ continued to be used for parties on the emerging psychedelic scene
In October 1966 there was an ‘All-Night Rave’ at the Roundhouse in Camden (North London), a disused railway engine shed. The event was held to mark the launch of the underground newspaper International Times . On the bill were Pink Floyd and Soft Machine, both playing one of their first London gigs. In his ‘Watch Out Kids’ (1972), Mick Farren recalled the night:
‘It was a new kind of celebration. The Roundhouse, then, was a vast, filthy circular building. Loose bricks, lumps of masonry and old wooden cable drums littered the floor. Slide and movie projectors threw images on a screen of polythene sheeting that had been hung at the back of a rickety, makeshift stage. The only way into the building was up a single flight of shaky wooden stairs. At the top Miles and Hoppy passed our sugar cubes. According to legend one in twenty was dosed with acid. Mine wasn’t.
A Jamaican steel band played on the stage… Paul McCartney came by in an Arab suit. For the first time in my life I saw joints being passed around openly in a public place… A band called Soft Machine played from the floor as a weird biker rode round and round them… Across the room an Italian film crew filmed a couple of nubile starlets stomping in a mess of pink emulsion paint. As we lurched into shot we were told by the producer ‘Fuck off, you’re spoiling the spontaneity’. We stumbled off to watch a bunch of freaks dragging an old horse-drawn cart around the building’.