Last weekend SkumTek's Strictly Scum Dancing free party was stopped by police on an industrial estate in Enfield. The press release issued by the police stated : "At 2300 on Saturday we attended a premises on a trading estate regarding a possible illegal rave being planned. Three people were arrested and a sound system was taken. Subsequently about 800 people attended and we dispersed the crowd." (BBC News, 5 December 2010)
But other accounts suggest it was more chaotic than this implies. According to the Enfield Independent:
Riot police clash with Enfield warehouse ravers (Monday 6th December 2010)
'Police officers were pelted by fired-up ravers furious their illegal warehouse rave was shut down prematurely. Officers visited the abandoned warehouse on an Enfield industrial site, in Lincoln Road, at 11.30pm on Saturday night after a tip off that hundreds of young people were gearing up to party.
It is believed the rave was put together by a rave group called Scumtek which organises guerilla dance events dubbed Strictly Scum Dancing, spread by word of mouth and on the internet. One reveller broadcasted the event on the web, stating: "London ravers! Strictly Scum Dancing from Scumtek is happening now in Lincoln Road, Enfield...if the Old Bill says it's off, it's not".
Up to 300 turned up and more than 800 people were said to have been turned away before even getting to their destination. As officers tried to move the party-goers along, a small group started throwing bottles and rocks at the police near Great Cambridge Road. Enfield police were inundated with calls from frightened residents from Percival Road as small groups of the ravers sat on cars, setting off alarms and drinking alcohol, leaving behind their cans and beer bottles.
Neighbours who live near the scene said it all started to "turn nasty" around 2am when police arrived in riot gear. They claimed 100 young people were penned in by officers, in Main Avenue, and were charged by officers in a bid to force them along. Many of them fled into a nearby housing estate and down side roads with small groups lingering in the area until 4am. A total of 12 people were arrested for public disorder, three people were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and a sound system was seized'.
Was the police operation pay back for the recent high profile Holborn Halloween party, which the police were criticised for failing to stop? Both were organised by SkumTek, and in the days leading up to the Enfield party, police raided the homes of people they believed to be involved, seizing computers, phones and other equipment. On this occasion, the police seemed to have got the upper hand, although many people made it on to another squat party that night in Hackney Wick (Smeed Road) afterwards.
Lots of discussion about all this at Party Vibe and Facebook. Much of it the usual armchair moaning - 'they shouldn't have organised a party in Central London last time'/'they shouldn't have organised a party so far out of Central London'; 'They shouldn't have put it on Facebook'/'Why can't I find out what's going on?'; 'You kids should have been there when the parties were much better in 2000/1995/1988/1066' etc. etc. Putting on parties like this is a risky business, nobody can guarantee that it will always work out and maybe some of the moaners should try putting one on themselves.
On the other hand it is important to acknowledge that there are some real problems that the scene has to deal with - mostly not the fault of party organisers - such as people being mugged at parties and other stupid behaviour. Somebody reported that on the bus back from the Enfield party they narrowly missed being injured by a brick coming through the window thrown by another disgruntled would be party goer. Still if the Enfield party had been allowed to go ahead, maybe there wouldn't have been any trouble.
Here's some footage of last Saturday night, with the crowd beginning to face off to police behind makeshift barricades. Funny how the Holborn events were front page news but something like this happening just a few miles north is more or less ignored by the media: