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Gurn, baby, gurn! A massive rave retrospective is coming to London

By Nick Levine

Acieeeed! To mark the 30th anniversary of 1989’s Second Summer of Love, the Saatchi Gallery is presenting an immersive retrospective exhibition celebrating the birth and evolution of rave culture.

Titled SWEET HARMONY: RAVE | TODAY’, the exhibition uses photo stories, multimedia room installations and audio-visual works to chart how the rise of acid music led to an explosion of massive free rave parties all over the UK. The extensive exhibition – staged over the west London gallery’s two main floors – will also bring the story bang up to date by exploring how today’s youth tribes connect with rave culture.

The exhibition is co-curated by Kobi Prempeh and the Saatchi Gallery’s director Philly Adams with contributions from photographers who documented this late ’80s/early ’90s countercultural phenomenon, including Mattko, Vinca Peterson and Time Out’s former Nightlife Editor Dave Swindells. You get the sounds as well as the sights of rave culture, as experts have collected the best of acid house and adjacent genres – including Detroit techno, happy hardcore, UK garage and grime – and created bespoke Spotify playlists.

Admission to the exhibition – which opens this Friday (July 12) – is £10. Wearing a T-shirt with a big yellow smiley face on it is entirely optional.

‘SWEET HARMONY: RAVE | TODAY’ runs at the Saatchi Gallery from Fri Jul 12 to Sep 14. 

Check out Time Out's guide to the best ever house tracks here

Tribal Dance Joe Bloggs + Baseball cap
Dave Swindells
Shoom at FC Sacha Souter (1988)
Dave Swindells
Nice Tripsies (1993)
Ted Polhemus
Girl W Fan
Ewen Spencer


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