At the end of the 1980s, in a divided Thatcherite Britain, a group of determined young people in Blackburn reclaimed the Lancashire town's empty warehouses and mills so they could throw 'Parties for the People – by the People', something the media called 'raves'. Now those same people are sharing their story through a new online archive, launched today.
Called Flashback, it features over seven hours of recollections from 33 participants – and not just ravers either, but DJs, party organisers, police, and politicians who attended or were involved with the acid house parties in Blackburn between 1988 and 1991, thirty years on.
It's been created in response to work produced by British Textile Biennial artist-in-residence Jamie Holman for last year's festival, it captures a significant moment that transformed UK youth culture as well as provides a snapshot of the rebellious spirit of 20th century northern England. "These interviews are an archive of unedited and unobstructed memories from the era, without a biased context or narrative imposed by the interviewers," reads the website description.
Designer Chris Mason is behind the project's creative concept and identity while Lighten did the web build and data crunching. "It was a fascinating project to work on," Chris tells Creative Boom. "We used design and branding in a non-invasive way alongside Google's text-to-speech API to create captivating audiovisual.
"We engaged with people and discovered their untold stories from the comfort of their own homes before lockdown began. And we uncovered the historical value of telling working-class stories and creating new folklore that is considerate of all walks of life."
You can hear the stories and also view archival images, on acidhouseflashback.co.uk from today.