Rave parties are going to be controlled

If I had a day to organise a rave party, I would go looking for a nice place, in the country where there are not too many neighbours so as not to bother them, where there is a way to park the number of cars depending on the number of people we are expecting, without damaging too much either the fields…

Yes, but there you are, the Assembly of deputies [1] has just voted for a law which from now on will oblige the organisers of gatherings for techno music to ask for legal authorisation.

Rave parties, as they are called, were at first tolerated by the socialist government [2], favourable to fee artistic expression and that of youth. Luigi is a professional DJ:

A rave party, well it is quite simply some young people who have a sound system. They have some loud speakers, they have some disks and finally they have all the equipment that you need to organise a concert, you can say to welcome the world. They have the transport. They have the people. Well, it is a sort of management by association, that’s to say each person does what they can in the form of a volunteer. There is a donation which is given on entry, a story of paying a little to the artists or to pay the expenses, the petrol things like that. Most of the time it is still free, that is if someone who comes to the entrance does not want to pay or doesn’t have any money, like the young students, well, they don’t have to pay and they can, all the same, join the party.

Rave parties are organised beyond the control of the law, so the evening of the party resembles a game of cat and mouse:

The police are aware of what is happening, you’ve got to know that, and well, then it’s more a competition, I feel, for the organisers of the party to not reveal until the last minute, the place so that the police are not aware [of it].

But the people keep the knowledge to themselves, right! It is more than a culture; it is more than a movement. The people know one another and keep the knowledge to themselves up to tens of kilometres away and when there is an event like the “technival” with more than 30, 40, 50 artists organised, these people know about it and they shift themselves all right; it is like that, so that we can mobilise up to 30,000 people.

However a fatal accident due to drugs happened this summer in the course of one of these gatherings. The organisers objected that whatever the gathering of young people, there is a risk of such an incident. It is a question of statistical probability, not a problem confined to rave parties. But with the approaching elections next year, the pressure on the government is immense. So the new law anticipates security measures which jeopardize the existence of the movement:

It is true that forcing the organisers of raves to take out insurance, to take security measures, will make the expenses go up, so consequently, well, the rave movement will stay more underground [3], at this level.

The rave movement is a movement which means “free” and for free from all administrative constraints in fact and it is trey that the problem facing the authorities is that they do not have permissions to do their evening events, beyond the regulations, let’s say the classic is security, so they are against the law. In spite of all that, they start from the principle that each person is autonomous and responsible for himself. Well, I would say that there are good things and bad things in the ways of organising evenings, but even so I will say that they have not, they have not given a chance to the rave movement to express themselves really, since there has not really been any discussion. They were simply told that they have to make a request for local authorization… yes to the prefecture [4], so to organise an evening, knowing that authorizations are not given, it is as if it were forbidden, at the end of the day.

There is between them, on the one side government and on the other the young, a sort of incomprehension:

The young people who organise the raves are not enthusiastic about discussing things with the authorities. They are just keen to set down somewhere, we can say, close to nature, in the fields or things like that which reasonably ought to belong to everyone. Provided they leave the place clean and that they do not disturb 10,000 people, I would say fine, you see.

I think that the rave movement is not going to stop there though. That’s the pity that they are going to be confronted by more and more important problems with the law and that’s really a pity because the majority of these people are young and they do not have a lot of money and spend all that they have on music. And the fact that they confiscate all their equipment because they are already liable to a prison sentence, they are liable to a fine, but as well as that, they confiscate their equipment that means that all that they have, finally, all that they believe in, all that they are living for, well they’ve confiscated that and they don’t have the right to explain themselves. I find that a bit hard.

At a time when security problems are acute, social protection measure take precedence, the ravers are the first to recognise this.

Now it is true that the drug story, that’s something else, it’s true that there is something to be done, but I would say rather than banning a movement which is full of good energy and of… a new culture, well, they could have said simply, OK, let’s try to control that in a bit of a discreet way and then stop the drug dealers since the real problem is drugs and not the organisation of the evenings. They must know that, well I’d say, it is almost a cultural demonstration, a rave party, and well, we are at liberty to demonstrate for our rights, for our beliefs, our culture, and on and so forth… I think that is a bit extreme to say OK, we are stopping the movement like this, right, anyway.

Well that’s my point of view. I think that it is negotiable, but at the same time, there are many people who think like us, there are other problems to resolve before, say to… Well the problem of drugs, I am convinced that that’s a problem to be resolved in an extreme way if it must be, but then saying: we are stopping this movement lie this, when there are lots of more important things and much more serious, at this time, which deserve to be controlled…

It is difficult, it is not for me to find the solution, I’d say. It is more for the politicians to discuss with the young people who want to continue their movement.

The game is worth the trouble [4] as far as the young people are concerned. The electronic movement should not disappear with the new law, as it is an important movement.

It is enormous. It has not stopped growing. Personally I have been in it since the beginning, that’s to say the 1990s, the beginning of the 1990s; I stopped my studies for that, because that was my passion, that was music. And it is not just simply music, it is also a new way of thinking, a new way of using machines, a new way of communicating a little bit with people…

[1] The Assembée Nationale – the National Assembly is the French equivalent of the House of Commons in UK or the House of Representatives in the US. Its members are called Deputies (Députés).

[2] The majority party in the national Assembly forms the government in France. The socialist party formed the government from 1999-2002 under the leadership of Lionel Jospin.

[3] Il tient plus la route – literally means keeps on the road, but the equivalent expression in English is underground.

[4] Prefecture – Each of the 96 Departments of France is administered by a Prefect and so the department is called a prefecture.

[5] Le jeu en vaut la chandelle – literally – the game is worth its candle. In English the expression exists in the negative form, the game is not worth the candle.

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