Getting People to Acid House Warehouse Parties
As Acid House veterans we all understand the concept of meeting points where the concept is relatively new to younger folks. We wanted to take this opportunity to briefly explain why party promoters used meeting points and the vital role they played when staging warehouse parties in the late eighties. Firstly, if you’re completely new to the idea of a meeting point, allow us to shed light on the topic. An Acid House meeting point describes a strategic location where people would meet on the night of an event and receive details of the party’s secret address.
Why did promoters need meeting points in the first place?
When Acid House parties began sprouting up in small warehouses around East London in 1987 / 88, police were oblivious to what was transpiring within those walls. It wouldn’t be long before police were drawn to bright lights and pumping Acid House beats. The standard operational procedure for promoters of the period was to immediately vacate the building. As far as law enforcement was concerned the promoters had abandoned the premises and therefore should be closed down due to safety concerns. It was clear the buildings were procured illegally which aroused suspicions and ultimately led to further closures. Police had enough to contend with on weekends due to excessive drinking in pubs and clubs. Once revellers are cleared from streets police can resume normal duties, so the idea of people dancing around old warehouses at alcohol-free parties wouldn’t be tolerated.
In those early days we attended numerous warehouse parties closed down by police searching for anyone willing to take responsibility for the event and everyone inside the building. Warehouse party locations became closely guarded secrets between promoters and their production teams. Meeting points were much needed buffer zones between the outside world and Nirvana.
Although some parties were stopped Acid Parties barely registered on police radar early 1988. Law enforcement were already overworked and underpaid, so unless they happened to find the party venue, no resources would go into targeting warehouse parties. Meeting points were immediately adopted by promoters. The actual venue was never too far from this staging post, but it did present an extra layer of security when processing random traffic.
How effective were meeting points in the late eighties?
Genesis’88 started using meeting points from their first event in December 1988. One meeting point was sufficient in the early days but as parties swelled in number, larger strategic locations with multiple access routes were of great importance. Varying factors applied when choosing suitable meeting points. Busy central locations had their challenges as they provoked safety concerns from police and upsetting law enforcement only leads to closures. The little police resources were wasted in managing meeting points or parties the better for promoters.
Ideally promoters wanted a site slightly off road where vehicles could park without fear of interrupting normal flowing traffic. Hundreds of vehicles would arrive before the address was announced, maintaining control was crucial to succeed. On occasion Genesis’88 would print specialised maps marking the venue location which they distributed to cars and people. The illegal party promoters had rolling meeting points, where team members would drive around the designated area with a printed sign reading ‘Genesis’88 Meeting Point’
As events grew bigger recorded telephone lines were introduced so meeting points became redundant. Genesis’88 brought them back later in 1989 and 1990, because at that point sheer numbers guaranteed the party could continue without police interference. If you arrived at the secret location from the meeting points with hundreds or thousands of people, police would be powerless to stop it.
Genesis’88 mastered the art of safely moving thousands of people from one part of the UK to another region within a short period. Efforts later commended by decorated police commander Kenneth Tappenden, head of the Police Pay Party Unit. In a TV interview Tappenden stated promoters like Genesis’88 accomplished tasks the police and army couldn’t.