The GASHcollective guide to GASHcollective parties: A MANIFESTO
For those of you that don't know, GASHcollective are a lose group of individuals who work together to organise events in the Greater Manchester area and beyond.
We put on freeparties, festivals, dirty clubnights, crazy events and are involved with many other independent projects.
We like to mix up crowds, We like get people thinking.
What is a FREEPARTY?
A freeparty is a gathering of like-minded people. An all night or longer event, where people go to dance, socialise and have fun in an uninhibited way. Consider them temporary autonomous zones. Freeparties are generally in interesting venues or out in the countryside. A freeparty is more than just an event with free entry, in-fact freeparty organisers may sometimes ask for donations to help cover costs. Think of the term "freeparty" to mean "free" as in freedom. Freedom to have fun without the constraints of everyday life in a controlling and restrictive society.
With this freedom comes great responsibility. A freeparty is nothing like a clubnight that many people are used to. It is up to everyone in attendance to act sensibly; to look out for each other and respect fellow party goers, respect the venue and respect the local community. Don't just attend, and expect to be entertained. Each person must contribute what they can to help shape the wider group effort. Everyone must leave attitudes at home and come together in cooperation in order that they, and everyone else, can get the most from the collective experience.
Some people call freeparties 'Raves'. This has become a term with many negative connotations, and we would like to phase it out.
We at GASHcollective believe that partying in freedom is a primal human instinct that needs to be fulfilled. We are a social species, living everyday in a society that does its best to promote isolation and alienation. Boxing individuals off, buying and selling leisure time in exchange for our labour and compliance. A freeparty is a way to shake off social restrictions, to feel connected to people and to share in something amazing and joyous. A rare occasion when people must look out for one another, to work together to create something beautiful.
We believe that freeparties are a necessary form of activism in themselves. Something that must be worked hard for as part of a wider social struggle.
Many of the people involved in freeparties are also involved with other kinds of social and political activism, and freeparties are a great way to politicise people who otherwise wouldn't get involved. A way to instill in people the need for changing and reclaiming our own lives by organisation and self determination.
GASHcollective has never been about a particular style of music. We play party music; Music to get you dancing and feeling the vibe, From Drum n Bass and Dubstep to Techno and Hardstyle to Ska, Reggae, Punk, Dub, Rock and Metal. From Djs to Bands and live acts. We also like to mix in stage shows, dance, performance and art.
Most of the people involved are from a punk-rock background, and we seek to bring positive and anarchist ethics to whatever we do. Bringing values that we treasure, such as anti-racism, solidarity, activism, community, animal and human rights, and the 'get off your arse and do it yourself' attitude that is so lacking from popular culture.
We have always strived to break down musical, social and scene divides, Punks and Scallies dancing with hippies and ravers. Young, Old, Black, White. We're all on the same side, right?
We don't want to see freeparties become nothing but a group of mindless idiots taking drugs and fighting amongst themselves. We dont want to see gang culture taking over the minds of the youth and tearing us apart. We dont want to see people locked away in their homes having culture force fed to them through mainstream media. We dont want to see people's motivation sapped from them by drug abuse use and the feeling that they cant change anything.
We want to see people uniting and working together. We want people to take away some of the incredible energy and sense of community created at a freeparty and use that energy in the their everyday lives and activities. We want to see people get organised in creating our own affirmative community and culture.
Take a big a step as you like, be that quitting your job and becoming a full time revolutionary, or just reading a few good books, getting yourself clued up and discussing important issues with your friends. But do something! Lets look at the immediate world around us, and work together to make it better.
We will not tolerate racism, sexism, or homophobia. We will not tolerate violence. We cannot stand gang culture or people who think its acceptable to attack or mug people. We have strived for the longest time to keep our crowds fluffy enough to never have to deal with problems like these at our events, but elements of this has begun to creep in. We have systems in place to deal with people who are so brainwashed that they cannot be trusted to behave with humanity and respect when the restrictions of everyday life are lifted. If you see any negative behavior, or are a victim of negative behavior at a freeparty, find a member of the crew. We need these people pointing out, for too long, this tiny minority have hidden in dark corners like cowards, and ruined the party for others. We want to educate them, and failing that, we want them out.
Recreational drugs are inevitably going to be part of freeparty and youth culture, but we dont want them to be the be-all and end-all of the freeparty experience. We dont encourage or condone drug use in anyway. There is more to attending and being involved in these events than seeing how fucked up you can get. As for using drugs everyday, surely you can think of something better to do? Drugs ruin lives and pacify the masses, If you must use them, use them responsibly and lets not let them takeover our lives. If it stops being fun, then what's the point?
The police exist to maintain the status quo, and although we believe they sometimes need to be challenged in order to create change, We are not out to provoke them with freeparties. We don't want them to be forced to clamp down on our scene. In general, they would rather turn a blind eye. They have to act if they get complaints from local residents about noise, people loitering around or reports from local land owners or security guards. This is why freeparties are always well away from residential areas, and city centers, and why we are careful not to do them too often.
It is easiest for them to shut down a party before the crowds arrive, which is why it's so important for you to get to the party as fast as possible after the location is released, and not discuss the party on the internet or with anyone you don't know before hand.
If the police arrive at a freeparty, don't panic. You are not a criminal, and you are doing nothing wrong by being there. If they ask you anything, you don't know. If they tell you the party is cancelled, say 'okay' then go find another way in. The organisers will always send a representative to speak to them, and often, the police are quite nice. They will usually just hang around and try to stop the crowd getting any bigger. Their main concern is usually health and safety, and this is a big concern of ours too. They will generally wait for the party to run it's course. Sometimes a shut off time is negotiated with them, and when that time comes, and the music stops, we need your help. Please don't give the police a hard time. Being abusive does nothing to help the situation. Be friendly and polite, even if they are not polite to you. Don't leave straight away, hang around any soundsystems and equipment until it is packed away and out of there, look busy by picking up litter, then we'll all leave together, peacefully, free to party another day. Don't bother arguing with them, they will simply arrest you, and although we may sometimes have greater numbers, we are not about creating hostile crowds or riots at freeparties.
Generally, if you cooperate, the police will be civil. Police brutality at freeparties is very rare, but if you witness it, try to film it on your phone, make a note of badge numbers, and the phone numbers of other witnesses. Contact us afterwards and we'll put you on to our solicitors who will help you submit complaints.
If you choose to carry controlled drugs at a freeparty you should understand that there is a good chance the police will use their 'stop and search' powers. You should get clued up on your rights, and know exactly what to do in the event that you are arrested.
We will not tell you in this text how to find out about a freeparty. You need to keep your ear to the ground, Talk with your friends and make new ones.
We need to keep promotion of these events underground and very covert, for many reasons, And we need your help to do this. Please don't discuss upcoming freeparties on the internet, and if you must, only in private emails and text messages to people you know personally. Tell only your personal friends, and only by word of mouth. Never mention freeparty locations, past or future, online.
Part of the fun of attending freeparties, is finding them! Dont bother asking us where the party will be, we simply will not tell you until the very moment the party is ready to start. Guessing, and spreading rumors about where it might be, does nothing but put the whole thing at risk, ruining months of planning on our part, and ruining an amazing night for everyone else. If you somehow know about a location, or more likely THINK you know, keep it to yourself! NEVER EVER turn up to a venue early, before the organisers are ready for people. But when we do announce the location, we need you there as fast as humanly possible with all your friends!
You should bring small rucksack/party bag with a few essentials. Facilities are often minimal, so prepare to be self sufficient. Dress sensibly and bring warm clothes. Bring a cheap head torch, Plenty of water, some food or snacks, a few binbags for rubbish, a fully charged phone and some money for Taxi's. Look after your personal possessions. Keep an eye on your friends and don't go wondering off on your own. Be safe, Be savvy.
We recommend you get yourself some decent earplugs. Exposure to excessive noise levels can cause long term hearing damage.
Don't bring alcohol or drugs to sell, We're not out to make money from this, and neither should you be. Sharing is a much under appreciated pleasure.
Generally the best way to get to a party is to blag a lift, or get all your friends together in the pub or at your house and get ready to share a taxis or mini-busses. If you drive to the party, fill your car with friends and park sensibly, preferably some distance from the venue. Never block people in, and always leave access for emergency services. Always have a sober designated driver! Drink driving is a stupid thing to do, and your pretty likely to get breathalized leaving a party at 9am! We always try to leave any site we use as tidy as when we found it, so please help in the morning by filling a binbag or two, or even better, dont make a mess in the first place!
We want to educate our crowd and get them thinking for themselves. Take a look at our links page, get hold of some good books and zines, get yourself clued up. Keep an eye on the alternative media and get involved with actions, protests and important social and political issues in our local area and beyond. There are people doing some amazing work in the local area, but nowhere near enough. Greater Manchester needs a large network of positive and active people. Cast off your apathy and get involved. We are not a members club that you can join, we will not do it for you, we want you step up, use your brain and DO IT YOURSELF!
See you on the dance floor,