This chronology of raves, clubs and policing was compiled from the dance music press at the time (Mixmag, Muzik, Eternity, DJ etc.). Much of it is the familiar story of cat and mouse chases between police and sound systems in East Anglia, Wales etc. - just as happened in 2007. But some things have changed - no more Reclaim the Streets parties in England, and more positively people being able to go out dancing in the north of Ireland without having to worry so much shootings and plastic bullets.
January 1997, Scotland: Fusion close down operations in Grampian after police threaten the licence of any venues allowing them to put on events
January 1997, London: Club UK in south London loses its licence. The club had appealed against the council withdrawing its licence, but this was upheld by a magistrates court.
February 1997, Holland: Police confiscate vans containing tripods, sound systems and banners to prevent a Reclaim the Streets party outside the Amsterdam motor show. After police baton charge the crowd, there is free food, music and dancing with a huge bonfire in a market square [Earth First Action Update, March 1997]
February 1997, USA: A nail bomb explodes at the Otherside Lounge, a lesbian club in Atlanta, Georgia, injuring five people. The attack is claimed by the far right Army of God saying it is aimed at “sodomites, their organisations and all who push their agenda”.
February 1997, London: Battersea police licencing section announce they are to oppose the renewal of the public entertainments licence for the club Adrenalin Village, up for renewal by Wandsworth Council.
February 1997, Leicester: Hardcore club Die Hard raided by 50 police - everyone searched.
February 1997, London The Cool Tan the building in Brixton, previously evicted, is resquatted for two parties and then evicted after a fortnight.
April 1997, London: A man dies from a heart attack and 8 people are arrested when riot police raid a squat party in Putney.
April 1997, Luton: The Exodus collective win the right to appeal against eviction from their site by the Department of Transport
April 1997, London: Linford Film Studios in Battersea, south London loses its licence
April 1997, N.Ireland: Robert Hamill a 25 year old Catholic father of two, is kicked to death by Loyalists while on his way home from a dance at St Patrick’s Hall in Portadown. The attack happens in full view of police who refuse pleas to intervene. In March 1999 his family’s solicitor, Rosemary Nelson, is killed by a car bomb. She has been preparing to bring private prosecutions against those involved and the Royal Ulster Constabulary
April 1997, London: 5000 party in Trafalgar Square at the end of march for social justice in support of Liverpool dockers, organised by Reclaim the Streets. Police seize sound system at the end and arrest four people in the van, charging them with conspiracy to murder for allegedly driving through police lines (charges later dropped). 1000 riot police clear people out of the square
May 1997, London: Southwark Council refuse licence to Urban Free Festival (formerly held in Fordham Park, New Cross), after earlier given permission for it to take place in Peckham in July
May 1997, Wales: Police use helicopters and road blocks to stop free party at a disused quarry in North Wales, seizing the T.W.A.T. sound system and dispersing a 4 mile convoy of party cars to the English border (despite this two parties go ahead later)
May 1997, Manchester: Police and bailiffs evict treetop and tunnel protesters, including the Zero Tolerance sound system tied into the trees, at the site of the proposed Manchester Airport Terminal 2
May 1997, Brighton: Police action prevents parties at three venues in Brighton, but one goes ahead on a travellers site at Braepool on the outskirts of town. A Noise Abatement notice is served, and the Council begins legal action to evict the site [Big Issue, 4.8.97]
May 1997, Hull: 300 party at Hull Reclaim the Streets, with sand pits and dancing for three hours (no arrests)
June 1997, Bristol: Police make 22 arrests at Bristol Reclaim the Streets and confiscate the Desert Storm sound system
July 1997, N.Ireland: Police open fire with plastic bullets on young people returning from a teenage disco on the Falls Road, Belfast. A 14-year-old boy is left in a coma.
July 1997, USA: The Stonewall Inn in New York is once again under threat, scrutinised by the city’s Social Club Task Force because of concerns about noise levels and ‘illegal dancing” [Pink Paper, 8/8/97]
August 1997, Wales: Two people on their way to set up an open air party in Deiniolen, North Wales are stopped and strip searched by police, who set up road blocks to prevent the party going ahead.
August 1997, London: Local councillor calls for the Dog Star pub/club in Brixton to be closed, claiming it is a magnet for drug dealers.
August 1997, Surrey: Hundreds of people turn up at a free party in old chalk pits in the Mole Valley in Surrey by the time police turned up the next morning to serve a notice under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act most people had gone home [Guilfin, September 1997]
August 1997, Portsmouth: Police with dogs and video surveillance teams ring a common in Portsmouth and search people trying to attend the Smokey Bears Picnic; council byelaws banning music on the common are enforced and 10 people are arrested [Guilfin, September 1997]
Summer 1997, Surrey: Police close down a free party in a forest near Guildford put on by Timber sound system.
September 1997, France: Police in Paris close down five mainly gay clubs supposedly because of ecstasy dealing (Le Queen, Le Cox, L’Enfer, Le Scorp and Les Follies Pigalle). 2000 people march in protest with one banner declaring “Paris, capitale de l’ennui” (Paris, capital of boredom).
October 1997, Russia: Moscow gay club Chance is raided by “a team of men wearing special troops uniform, black masks and carrying automatic guns”. The special police claim to be searching for drugs; dancers are beaten up and abused a 90 people are arrested [Pink Paper, 17.10.97]
October 1997, Wales: 24 police raid a party in a private house in North Wales and impound the sound system. The Country Landowners Association have set up a Rave Watch scheme in the local area encouraging local farmers to tip off the police about possible parties
November 1997, Greece: police violently raid the ACID trance club in Thessaloniki.
November 1997, Norfolk: Police bust squat party at Thelveton Hall, an unoccupied country house in Norfolk, seizing the Brighton-based Innerfield Sound System and carry out intimate body searches. The house belongs to Sir Rupert Mann, but had been empty for seven years.
November 1997, Oxford: Police use a helicopter and horses in an effort to stop Oxford Reclaim the Streets party. Despite the seizure of the solar powered sound system, and the Rinky Dinky Sound System being escorted out of the city, 400 people party in the road [Peace News, December 1997]
December 1997, N.Ireland: Loyalist Volunteer Force open fire on a disco in Dungannon, County Tyrone, killing a doorman. Another man is killed in an attack on a bar in Belfast.
December 1997, Scotland: Street party halts traffic for 1.5 hours outside the Faslane nuclear submarine base . Several people injured by Ministry of Defence police.
December 1997, Wales: 22 arrests in police drug raid on Hippo Club, Cardiff.
December 1997, Israel: Trance outfit Juno Reactor are deported from the country, where they were due to be playing at a 5000 capacity rave, prompting the launch of a Freedom to Party organisation. “Indoor parties are usually legal, as opposed to outdoor parties which are usually not. But even so, many of the indoor parties are constantly being raided by the police” (Dream Creation July 1997)
December 1997, N.Ireland: Edmund Treanor killed and five injured in a Loyalist Volunteer Force attack on New Year celebrations at the Clifton Tavern, Belfast.
December 1997, Brighton: 27 people arrested as police try and close down New Year’s Eve squat party in Brighton; people throw bottles at police.