Thursday 4th November

| BY Paul Toner

Ten’s to Do: Flip Through the Pages of ‘Dirty Dancing’, a Chronicle of Europe’s Free Parties from 1997-2005

It ain’t a stretch to say that if you’re a die-hard clubber, you’ve probably fantasised at some point about attending a proper rave. And who’s to question you haven’t actually been to one? With illegal parties springing up across the UK last summer, you may very well be one of the thousands of fed-up party-goers who trekked to abandoned warehouses and forests in Manchester, London and beyond, for a glimpse of freedom after months of being locked indoors.

Whether you’re against legal parties or not – who remembers that elderly couple who made cups of teas for wide-eyed partygoers at a rave in the sleepy Welsh village of Banwen? – there’s no denying that, over the years, going out ravin’ has brought people together on makeshift dancefloors all over the globe.

This community spirit is brought to the fore with Dirty Dancing, the brand new photography book by Mattia Zoppellaro – published by record label Klasse Wrecks – which chronicles 18 years of free parties across Europe.

The Italian photographer spent from 1997-2005 as part of the free-roaming raving community, who would trawl stacks of speakers to the outskirts of London, Milan, and Barcelona, for nights of complete hedonism.

As a close member of this travelling partygoers, his images are intimate, showcasing low-roofed techo seshes, makeshift DJ decks, and sweat-soaked ravers livin’ it large till the sun came up. Described as a “nostalgic reminder of a not too distant past”, Zoppellaro was able to capture his subjects at moments of utter freedom, and whether they knew it then or not, these nightcrawlers were crafting moments of hidden history.

Photography courtesy of Mattia Zoppellaro. ‘Dirty Dancing’ is available to purchase here.