A new exhibition will explore the rave scene in Coventry.
The City of Culture event will be an immersive multimedia exhibition that explores the city before, during and after the arrival of house music.
The area took center stage and saw the first legal events orchestrated by Amnesia House and The Eclipse, the UK’s first 24-hour club.
Artist Adi Dowling said it records “one of the most important cultural movements of the 20th century”.
Mr Dowling moved to Coventry from Ireland in the 1970s and was a teenager when he first got involved in the scene.
He said it once became “like a religion … it changed my world”.
“The people present were a diverse crowd of all backgrounds, all ethnicities.”
“It was completely different and even different from what happened in the nightclubs in the city before that time, people didn’t get drunk and argue, they hugged and danced.
“It was kind of a euphoria and they were playing music you didn’t hear on the radio,” he said.
“They would give you a flyer for what would happen next, you were just planning what would be the next event you would go to, the next week was spent on earning enough money for a ticket or to go to Eclipse.”
He said he spent the next few years documenting what was happening.
It later became his job, as in 1992 he founded Daylight Robbery, an organization specializing in live visual projections, moving images and curated sets designed for themed nights in clubs.
“I found something where I could make money but also be involved in something I loved,” he said.
In 2018 he self-financed, produced and curated his first exhibition which was a combination of original footage and digital manipulations of the dance music revolution of the 1980s and produced a series of Coventry-focused audio documentaries of the 1980s and 1990s.
“At that time to go to the club you had to wear a shirt, tie, pants and shoes and they played pop music until 2 am,” said Mr. Dowling.
“It was completely different for these young people to go against the grain and organize events.
“This is the beginning of all these new subcultures that exist today.”
House is a Feeling, he said, would look to Coventry before house music, during and after, as well as the impact the rave scene’s drug culture has had.
The exhibition, he said, would be a sensory experience.
“If people come to the show and they don’t feel drunk, I’ll be pretty annoyed,” he said.
Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director of Coventry City of Culture, added: “The city was the epicenter of electronic dance music and rave culture at this time.
“It was just pure love of rhythm. There was a sense of freedom and spirit in that generation that will never be seen again.”
The exhibition will take place in a secret place from 11 to 28 November.
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