Darren is the man that’s been responsible for many of the best free parties in Brighton. His Positive Soundsystem has just celebrated 21 years of events on the beach, in our woodlands and warehouses.
Why did you decide to put on free parties rather than make a bit of money from club nights?
When I started there was nothing going on after 2am on a Saturday night, so initially it was just about staying up all night with friends, having fun and dancing to this amazing new acid house music. Once the Government decided to outlaw free parties it became a divine mission. We wanted to prove a point – that we should be allowed to dance all night if we wanted to and nobody was going to stop us.
What have been the high points of the 21 years of Positive?
All the early parties were unforgettable fun. Getting the soundsystem back from the police after winning our first criminal justice court case in ’96 was priceless. Getting away with the biggest ever ‘illegal’ warehouse party in Brighton on Millennium Eve and then having the £5,000 fine we got for doing it paid by our friends and party crew was pretty sweet.
Did you have trouble from the police?
When I used to organise parties in the pre-Positive years it was a battle of wits with the police. We’d have no problem barricading ourselves in a building if it meant the party could carry on. After several police raids I had an epiphany of sorts and I decided that at future parties I would talk to the police instead of ignoring them. This new approach worked wonders.
Has the age of the free party ended?
There will always be a need for these types of parties, even more so now that the club/party industry is so swamped with corporate commercialism. If I was a young kid putting on parties today, I’d arrange it purely by word of mouth with your close friends (don’t advertise it anywhere on the internet or even by text/messaging) and after two or three successful parties you could have upwards of a thousand people coming to dance all night long, just like we used to.
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