Things across the pond are getting dicey in the rave community as large group recently held an unauthorized rave at Kirkstall Valley Nature Reserve in Leeds, West Yorkshire, which was shut down by police. The illegal festivities took place over the Bank Holiday weekend (May 23rd to 25th), with images surfacing of partygoers ranging from late teens to early '20s deliberately ignoring the social distancing measures instated amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Posting on Facebook, a Kirkstall Valley environmental advocacy group admonished the event. Local police said people were wading their way across a section of the river to gain access to the reserve, sparking concerns for their safety. Since the reserve is a nesting ground for several species of birds, the status of these animals' repopulation is now tenuous considering their nests were more than likely damaged during the rave. The advocacy group also stated that the revelers would have scared off many waterfowl species, leading to their young being abandoned.
You can take a look inside the illegal rave via the footage below, which was obtained by British tabloid Daily Mail.
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Through the chaos, three partygoers were arrested and sound equipment was seized. This isn't the first time this region has been affected by those wishing to use it as a secluded rave oasis. Back in 2018, the reserve was overtaken by attendees, who burned down meadows full of moths and butterflies and disturbed the area's waterfowl and wildlife.
"We would urge people to consider their own safety and the safety of others, particularly during the warmer weather and the ongoing period of lockdown," said Superintendent Chris Bowen of West Yorkshire Police. "We will continue to work alongside our partners to engage, explain, and encourage in a way that will influence people's behaviors, using enforcement only in the circumstances that we have to."
With quarantines being put into place for all of our safety, we in the electronic music community must set an example as honorable citizens. While we're accustomed to the freedom of going to clubs and festivals, we must take this time to entertain ourselves in safer, more responsible ways, like tuning into a livestream. Rave responsibly, everyone.