You know the more i hear about this absolute tragedy in Oakland at the Ghost Ship wherehouse, i can not help but compare the party on friday night to one of the parties we had back in the day of early underground rave parties. Not only would and did we do parties in places like this we also broke into abandoned wherehouses, turned on a generator or 3 and powered up. This tragedy could have very easily happened to us at our parties any number of times.
There was an incident back in the early 90’s where a hillside caught fire on private land at a party in Livermore. Thank heavens the promoters of this party were not only conscience but also on the ball by having a water truck on site and acting quickly. I remember that fire. (see videos below) It didnt last long and it didn’t get very big, but i do remember it being scary all the same. The thoughts of the whole hillside going up in flames and us getting trapped crossed my mind a few times that night.
There was also a party that i went to in the early 90’s that was at the Fashion Center in San Francisco. It was in the basement and i remember someone letting out the contents out of a fire extinguisher. I remember that you could not breathe. You just wanted to get out of there and find some air. No one could see where an exit was with all the smoke from the smoke machine and people smoking and the fire extinguisher contents. It was just like thick white smoke that you could not breathe. It was terrifying. I was lucky i was able to remember what color lights were near an exit. But people did not know where to go. There was nowhere to run. Luckily that situation ended without any injuries. We were lucky no one was trampled.
So when i hear about this absolute tragedy it hits very close to home. I feel we all got very lucky that there was nothing like this that we ever had to contend with when we were throwing parties in a similar fashion.
My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of this fire. They predict that the count of victims may be over 100 people to parish. It is unthinkable. All young people just starting their lives who just wanted to go and enjoy some good house music. It is an extremely sad day in house music.
I dont know exactly how this is going to change the way people put parties together but i guarantee that there will be changes. We can say goodbye to any spaces with code violations which unfortunately means probably greater loss of artists and musicians and bohemians to the fabric of our communities and will force more gentrification within the bay which is also a tragedy.
I will say thank you to the people who put on all of the parties that i attended as a young person. And that they had been more aware of safety than i was clearly aware of. If this had happened back in my day, it would have practically ended all of the house music parties on the spot. The rave movement would have ended before it started.
House music usually heals. But on this dark week, it killed. 😦
**my prayers and hope goes out to all the family and friends and loved ones of the victims of the Ghost Ship Party. You are all in my thoughts!