However it was the island of Ibiza where dance culture really began to establish itself, originally an impoverished island with a poor economy reliant upon the trading of salt; Ibiza eventually became known as the “clubbers hot spot”, by the mid 1960s tourist attraction had grown as homosexuals, Americans, and the British began visiting the beautiful island. It is argued by many that the club culture stemmed from the attitudes and behavior of the hippies in the 1970s.
The large clubs in Ibiza grew out of the hippy counter-culture; the club ‘Amnesia’ was once an old working farm used as a venue for bohemian parties for hippies and artists. By the 1980s, Ibiza had been commercialized so much, it held some of the biggest nightclubs in the Mediterranean and became a very popular and appealing holiday destination for young British music lovers who could come away and forget all normality of life. With the experience of Ibiza, came the experience of drugs.
Ecstasy went over to Ibiza in the early 1980s, following the same route as international travelers, homosexuals and new age culturalists. Ecstasy provided a world outside the normal where people were free to feel unconstrained to their everyday life and enjoy the music and social togetherness with others around In 1987, Margaret Thatcher was elected third team and Britain was experiencing a general depression. The Thatcher years had laid down beliefs of living in a meritocratic society, and fostered materialist dreams that many would not be able to fulfill.
However, at the time, the club scene was spectacularly expanding; that summer thousands of British people flocked to Ibiza for an “extended vacation in an alternate reality”. The club counter culture was opposing the political values of the government and was fighting for collectivity; ecstasy provided an outlet for these entrepreneurial impulses, enabling people to do something about participation rather than observation. The impact of ecstasy is a personal one, yet it brought people together in an unexplainable collective consciousness.
The summer of 1988 was renamed the second summer of love, dance culture was now popularly accepted and commercialized. After returning from Ibiza the British clubbers did not want to end the parties, drugs and feelings of hedonism, and dance culture was reborn. However, the rebirth of this club culture did not prevail for long, before it came under scrutiny by the media. The press created a moral panic over the ‘acid house phenomenon’ and in August 1988, the sun newspaper ran an investigation on the drug scene in Richard Branston’s club ‘heaven’.
The paper began featuring a series of articles on the “Evil of ecstasy-danger drug that is sweeping discos and ruining lives”. The nation became panicked by this counterculture of youth dance and drug taking, and the conservative government claimed acid house was corrupting innocent youth. Producer Brian Whitehouse banned all videos or records featuring the word ‘acid’ on BBC TV show, ‘top of the pops’, and high street shops such as top shop were no longer allowed to sell clothes with smiley faced logos.
Although the youth of the culture were seen as clashing with mainstream political values, they did not support conflict and valued consensus and a ‘coming together of society’ reflecting social values. Despite great efforts to prevent acid house from proceeding, the club culture continued and grew bigger and better into the early 1990s. The acid party scene was greatest in London, Manchester and Leeds yet soon spread throughout the whole of Britain.
The police began an extensive series of raids throughout the cities, in illegal acid house parties that occurred in deserted warehouses. In 1990, there was a mass arrest in Leeds at ‘warehouse’ where 800 people were arrested. Graham Brights 1990 Entertainments act increased the maximum fine for an un-licensed party from i?? 2000 to i?? 20,000 and six months imprisonment. Although his law was successful in finally decreasing the number of illegal raves, it was seen as a direct conservative reaction to the mass amount of huge illegal acid house raves of 1989.
The criminal justice bill expressed how strongly the government felt about the threat of dance culture “with its combination of music, drugs and hordes of lusty people”. However, by the time the bill was passed, dance culture and ecstasy had entered the mainstream as a result of Brights law creating the need for property licensed premises. The government versus dance culture title seems to end here. The establishment couldn’t defeat the culture and so forced it into the mainstream. They couldn’t shut down the dance, so they licensed it and let it free.
Clubs were provided with later opening licenses to maintain legal requirements and free drinking water was available in all clubs as a safety precaution. Although the government didn’t like what was going on, they couldn’t prevent it and therefore ensured by bringing it into the mainstream, it was legal and safer. However according to Broughton and Bill by doing this club culture was no longer a form of rebellion or a ‘counterculture’ of the youth, because it was legal, it wasn’t as exciting.
Although club music is still greatly enjoyed by many as a popular form of music, the culture surrounding the music in the early 90s has died. New forms of music such as the entrance of black rap, commercially known as ‘R+B’ and adaptations of original house, ‘funky house’, are becoming increasingly popular; the novelty of club music has worn off and being replaced by these new forms of music. Even though club music has many followers, it hasn’t the mass social involvement and impact upon life that it once had.