The Rave on The Farm
It was May 1992. We had just come back from the Philippines, after being out there for 6 weeks, we were homesick and were glad to be back in Wales. We had originally planned to go to the Philippines to find work and live out there, but that never happened, and besides that’s another story altogether.
Me and Rob were staying in a caravan park in Tenby. Rob’s mother and father were in the same park but their caravan was in the next field. I think we were there while Rob’s father worked out our next move, or his next move, we just went along with whatever was happening, it was all fun, and as long as we were going to raves we didn’t mind where we lived.
Before we left for the Philippines we were living on a farm in Ammanford. We knew when we got back to Wales that we were never going to live on the farm again, which was a shame because we had a ball and lots of parties while we were living there. But we also knew that Rob’s father had paid the rent on it until August, so technically the farm was still ours.
We were in the caravan one night listening to Easygroove at Fantazia. New Years Eve 1991. What a night. What a set. And one hell of a rave.
Rob was bouncing about the caravan running up an down shouting “ Who’s flying with ecstasy airwaves, who’s flying with ecstasy airwaves. Then all of a sudden he stopped bouncing about, pressed pause on the tape deck and said to me “Let’s have a rave on the farm”
I didn’t have to think twice about what he said, or say anything, I looked at him, started the tape back up and was bouncing on the chairs, shouting “ Easygroove, Easygroove, Easygroove.” We turned the music up and danced for the next 2 hours in the caravan.
The farm in Ammanford was like a mansion to us, it had 6 bedrooms and two bathrooms. The staircase split off in two directions, with 3 bedrooms and a bathroom on one side, and the same on the other side. There was massive kitchen with a breakfast bar and an island in the middle. The living room was like a big hall, with chandeliers, an Axminster carpet and a thick white rug by the fireplace.
The farm was out of the way and there was a long road leading up to it. On one side of the road there was a big lagoon, we had dug out to collect water for the coal plant we were working on. As well as the farmhouse we had 2 big outbuildings, one of them was and old tin shack, that was just full of junk, the other one was a breeze block building, with 3 rooms and a toilet. The main room was like a long narrow hall it used to be our canteen. We always said it would be a good place for a rave. We figured that the place could hold about 500 people, scattered about the different rooms. But potentially the whole of the farm could easily accommodate over a thousand people.
None of us had a car at the time, but we knew plenty ofpeople who we could get lifts off. We were in Tenby and the farm was in Ammanford, so we got in touch with a friend of ours, Kevin. He had a car, with a good sound system and was always up for a party. And he was loaded so if we needed any money to finance the rave he would be up for it.
There was a big rave scene going on down West Wales and Swansea in the early nineties, and we were part of it, wherever there was a rave we were there, we were in the services, in the convoys, the car parks, the fields, the warehouses and the barns. It was an exciting time, we lived for the music and we waited for the parties.
We didn’t tell Rob’s father about the rave, not because he wouldn’t let us do it, but because he would have wanted to organise it himself, and then we would have ended up with a bus full of pissheads and some DJ from the local pub. So we thought it best if he didn’t know anything about it, at least until it was over.
Kevin came down to Tenby to pick us up in his car we drove to Carmarthen, we knew a guy there who owned a pub, he could arrange a sound system and all the Dj’s for the rave. Kev was a big fan of Carl Cox, and that was all he used to play in his car, we listened to Carl Cox at the Eclipse in Coventry on the way down.
We arranged the rave for a Friday night. We had 2 weeks to set it all up. We printed little flyers with directions on the back.
The word was spread around and a gang of girls from Tenby came down to the farm and were busy painting the walls with crazy pictures, and smiley faces, they had even tie-dyed some white bed sheets and were hanging them on the ceilings, they set up a face painting stall and somewhere to sell tea and coffee. It was starting to look good.
The Night Owl in Tenby was the place to be on a Friday night when there were no other main raves going on, the atmosphere was buzzing , everybody was friendly, the music was good and we were one family. But the only problem was that it shut at 2 o’clock . So after the Night Owl everybody was always hungry for more, somewhere everyone could stay together and dance till the sun came up, or just somewhere to sit and chill and talk shit for hours. So the plan was to have the rave after the Night Owl closed.
We didn’t know how many people to expect but were sure there would be at least 300. The word was spreading around fast, we had seen some boys from Swansea that we had met in Raindance in Cambridge in 91, they said there was a big gang of them coming down, and the Neath crew were coming as well, they were a good bunch all crazy every single one of them.
Me and Rob were going to take it in turns at the gate, we were going to charge £5 a car, we joked that if people walked in they would get in for free. I was just going to stand there with a bucket, and probably let everyone in for free. We both secretly knew that none of us would be at the gate for long, because we loved the music to much and we would be dancing most of the night.
It was Friday afternoon, the day of the rave. It was a gorgeous day, the sun was shining and the place was looking good. The sound system was set up and the DJ’s were testing the speakers. Zero B – Lock up, was playing, the sound was awesome.
The girls from Tenby were busy finishing off the final touches to the stalls, the face painting stall looked good, they had made a wigwam out of the tie-dyed bed sheets, it was nice and colourful, and looked cosy inside. The lighting was set up a couple of strobe lights in the corner and a smoke machine.
Me and Rob were looking for a bucket, and talking about how many people we think would turn up, we were going to lead the first convoy of cars to the farm from the Night Owl, (Well Kevin would be driving) we were looking forward to that bit.
I could see a car driving up the long road to the farm, it was a white car and as it got closer I could see it was the police, I shouted to everyone that the police were on the way up and the music stopped. We watched the car drive up to the front of the farmhouse; Me and Rob were standing waiting for them. It was a local copper he had been up to the farm before and we knew each other. He said that he had heard we were going to hold a rave here tonight and that we were to stop all activities and leave the premises. We told him that it was a private party, with invitations only and we are the tenants of the farm so couldn’t see a problem.
He knew that we were no longer living on the farm and he also knew that we had been to the Philippines. What he didn’t know is that we were still paying the rent, so technically we could do what we wanted on the farm with the consent of the landlord of course.
He asked us if he could speak to Rob’s father, we told him he was travelling up to London, we reminded him that we still pay the rent so we were the tenants, and all we were doing is holding a private party. He was nice enough and said he was going back to the station to contact the landlord to check our story out. As soon as he left the music started up again. Music Maestro Please – Anasthasia T99 was blasting out of the speakers.
We had never met the landlord, I don’t think Rob’s father had met him either, I know he had spoken to him on the phone a few times to arrange the rent and so on, we didn’t have a clue what he would say, but as long as the police didn’t contact Rob’s father we figured we’d be ok.
An hour went by and the police came back. The DJ was playing Skin up – A juicy red apple, he didn’t turn the music off this time just turned it down a little. The police said that he had phoned the landlord and the landlord had confirmed what we said, and also told him if we wanted to hold a party on the farm it was ok with him. We were chuffed, we never thought the he would have said that, We figured he must be a raver himself, to allow us to have a party on the farm.
But the police also said that they will be putting on extra patrols on the roads leading to the farm, and they will be performing random searches. We were ok with that, we would just have to warn everybody when we were in the Night Owl.
It was 4 o’clock, everything was in place, it was time to go home, get cleaned up and head out to the Night Owl to dance and spread the word, we took one more look at the set up, congratulated everyone on the good work we had all put in ,and agreed it was going to be a wicked night.
As we were all about to leave, we could see a car coming up the road to the farm, it was coming at us fast, you could see the dust on the tracks from how fast it was coming. It was a red Porsche. It was Rob’s father. We looked at each other, and didn’t say a word. The car came to a stop skidding right in front of us, Rob’s father got out of the car completely blanked us and opened up his boot, he took out a baseball bat. Slammed the boot shut and headed for the out house where we had set up, we followed him, he took one look around and turned to us and said
“ If you don’t move all this fucking shit out of here I am going to smash it up, get it the fuck out of here now. And all you lot can fuck off as well” he pointed to the girls, and the sound system guys then looked at Rob and said
“Who the fuck are them lot anyway? Get them off my farm now”
We told everybody to pack up they didn’t waste anytime, Rob’s dad stood there with the baseball bat in his hand as the speakers and the decks were packed into the vans, the stalls were packed and the wigwam dismantled, they all left, even Kev our driver had gone. Rob’s father told us to get in the car, and he drove us back to the caravan, none of us said a word in the car. Gene Pitney’s greatest hits was playing on the stereo (Won’t put a link to that though)
We got back to the caravan, Rob’s father sat with us, he said if we’d have told him about the rave, he would set up a bus load of people from Neath, and organised some bouncers at the gates, that was exactly why we didn’t tell him about it, because we knew that he would have a bus load of piss heads, to come down and spoil it all, ravers didn’t like piss heads, they got all aggressive and stood around the dance floor laughing at everyone dancing.
He also told us that one of our mates had mentioned to him that we were having a rave on the farm, and that’s how he found out.
Rob’s father was intent on baby-sitting us in the caravan making sure that we didn’t go out. Rob was pleading with him to let us go out down the Night Owl, so we could tell everybody that there wouldn’t be a rave on the farm, but he was having none of it, and he was making sure we didn’t go out that night.
Rob kept on asking him to at least allow us to go to the Night Owl, and at one point I could see he was considering it, but then he said no have a night off. I wasn’t saying much I never did to his father I was hoping that Rob would make him come around.
It was about 11 o’clock Rob finally stopped pleading with his dad, and took off his shoes to get comfortable, resigning to the fact that we won’t be going out tonight. I looked at Rob as if to say, don’t give up keep trying, But he switched on the telly, put the snooker on and was settling in for the night, I was gutted but didn’t say anything, I just looked at Rob disappointed.
After half hour, none of us spoke a word, and Rob’s father decided it was time to go back to his caravan, his work here was done, we weren’t going anywhere.
By half past twelve me and Rob were in the Night Owl, Rob was on the stage dancing next to the DJ and I was on the dance floor, the atmosphere was electric. The DJ had just dropped New Atlantic – I Know. The place was buzzing, it was hands in the air, and big cheesy grins all around.