Free to Party

Limited edition book and multimedia piece. All 200 copies of the book are now sold out, thanks everyone!

2014 marked twenty years since the Criminal Justice Bill aimed to destroy the UK Free Party Rave scene with its definition of ‘repetitive beats’ and other anti fun legislation. However, Britain’s most important and long-standing subculture is still going, with plenty of crews keeping the vibe alive. Free to Party shows how this important part of the UK’s cultural fabric carries on, regardless of it being illegal.

Free to Party is a self published book project launched in 2014. I started going to free parties at the tender age of 16, and immediately knew it was going to be an important part of my life. We’re those who run the show on our own terms, we make it happen, independent of mainstream society. For a long time I was averse to photographing it, or too busy lugging speakers and running cables, but after years of attending and organising countless free parties, I decided to document this important corner of my world.

The book is not an exhaustive representation of the scene, it is just one photographer and seasoned party head’s interpretation of where it is now. The body of work that makes up Free to Party was shot in two stints, in 2010 and 2013. I’ve deliberately not included the locations, dates or sound system names in the captions, because the idea is that they could be anywhere at any time. It was shot on many different nights in London, Wales, Cornwall, Dorset and Frenchtek. What I am aiming to do is to get across the feelings associated with putting on and going to a free party, by representing a 24 hour period: Moments like the adrenaline rush from getting into a derelict building, the complexity then success of setting up a sound system in the darkness, the elation of DJing in front of hundreds of people, and the freedom felt from dancing in the open air, as the sun rises in a remote part of the countryside. I know and love these feelings, and that’s why I’m showing them to the world. Because there’s more to it than partying, It’s a way of life; a choice to move away from the confines of conventional society, and live to a different beat.

 Phil Clarke Hill

Free to Party
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