It was the best of times; it was the worst of times…
Digs and Woosh do their thing at DiY's 25th birthday
This weekend, Nottingham’s seminal, pioneering free-party collective DiY
held a wee shindig out in a field near Tamworth to celebrate their 25th birthday. It was an absolute blinder – many veterans think it the best ever – as you’d expect when PhD partyologists do it ‘emselves. A thousand or so happy folk getting on with what they want to get on with.
Cookie, Chilly Phil, Jack, Digs and Woosh took us up, down, round and around, before a sublime set from Simon DK
– dropping track after super-deep and emotive track – had nudged itself up into legendary territory when it was prematurely ended. A landowner happy to take a fee to hire the field, plus charging for parking and camping, suddenly got cold feet and invited the police along.
The music shut down early (8.30-ish), but the memories – fleeting, fuzzy moments of wordless, communal joy, when a sea of groove-induced grinning says it all – will linger on long.
Simon DK at DiY25
The memories will linger on well past the unfortunate, depressing episode that took place late on Sunday evening, when DiY’s hire van was crowbarred open and several items were stolen, including a £400 generator, a donations bucket containing upwards of £300, and worst of all two crates of records, many of which are literally irreplaceable. In addition, there will be costs incurred on the £600 insurance to the hire van. All deeply saddening.
Over the years, the crew’s steadfast adherence to the principle of free parties – “if you haven’t paid, you can’t be ripped off” Harry used to say – was predominantly subsidised by their club nights. Most of what they earned was ploughed directly back into free parties. Today, there’s no such kitty to draw from. This one was for the love – and, frankly, because hundreds of people were begging them for it, ‘cos no-one does it like DiY does it.
And then something utterly skanky happened. It beggars belief.
Nevertheless, friends and partygoers have responded quickly, and a fundraising PayPal account has been set up to help them recover their losses [see below] – as far as that is possible, at least.
As Nail Tolliday
so eloquently put it yesterday when announcing he was auctioning off his personal (and very rare) copy of the debut DiY album
that set him on his way: “There is no doubt that without them the house music landscape in this country alone would look very different, a generation spent providing this country with some of the best free parties and club nights it’s ever seen, so please give this some consideration and donate what you can, if you can.”
Music photographer David Bowen, given his first break by DiY, is doing likewise and auctioning a framed original and unframed print of a classic early image
Dave Bowen's image for auction
If you’ve ever been to a DiY club night, bought one of their recordings, or, better yet, had one of the nights of your life at their free parties, then perhaps you might be minded to chip in what you can, too. If not, no bother.
The donations are already coming in. The community is rallying round folk who, over the years, have given a huge amount of bone-deep, life-defining pleasure to so many. Ever philosophical, the DiY crew will not allow bitterness to sully the weekend. Memories will not be soured.
It was the best of times – yes, it was the very best of times…
* Post-script: Nail's album auction raised £130, while David Bowen's images were sold for an astonishing £500. John Buckby of Schmoov! (first releases on DiY) auctioned the entire back catalogue of his Winding Roads label for £450. Bespoke paintings, flyer collections, mountaineering classes -- lots more has been chucked into the pot. To check on further bids, or offer items, visit here.