At the time, it was unclear why the UK government targeted the Spiral Tribe travelling sound system. Even after arresting many key members and launching one of Britain’s biggest court cases against them. Was it really because they were a marauding horde of anarcho-techno-pirates, their outlandish music calling a generation to rise up in rebellion against conservatism, convention, and even consensus reality?
Or was it because, as pioneers of the 1990s free party movement, championing the new British breakbeat and European techno sound, they were reclaiming social space in warehouses and out under the stars? Each weekend they pulled ever bigger crowds away from consumer culture. No superstar DJs, no door policy and everyone dancing together as equals. An inspiring, unifying force of creativity.
As Spiral Tribe’s co-founder and visual artist (or as the Crown Prosecutor described him, ‘the criminal ringleader’ who’d helped ‘mastermind’ Britain’s ‘biggest ever illegal rave’ at Castlemorton), Mark Angelo Harrison has a unique perspective to tell their inside story.
He vividly charts their nomadic journey and the rapid escalation of their popularity – and notoriety. From small squat-scene parties in London to enormous warehouse raves and free festivals. From one little overloaded van to the mighty convoy of matt-black military vehicles that instigated the teknivals of Europe.