Art The biggest archive of rave party flyers

The biggest archive of rave party flyers

Tommaso Berra
Rave |

Before Instagram stories promoting parties and DJ sets, the only way to know where to hang out was posters and flyers. To get attention, flyers were given a lot of graphic research, which over the years created a strand of fans and collectors. Dave, then 13 years old from Plymouth, in the south west of England, began in 1998 to preserve all the flyers of clubs and rave parties in the city, now collected in Phatmedia: the largest online archive of rave party posters in the world. In addition to collecting party invitations from bulletin boards or sidewalks around the city, Dave for years received flyers from his cousin in the London club scene. Phatmedia now collects 21000 images tracing the history of the underground of the last twenty years. There is a continuous return of subjects representing a culture that exalts metaphysical journeys, psychedelic drugs, lysergic rainbows, but also a great attention to graphics. Many of these flyers are in fact reference points and inspiration for the crazy lettering and printing techniques used. The artwork is contemporary in style, and becomes a way to tell the freedom of expression and escapism of entire generations, as Dave himself declared to The Face: “When I was first handed a flyer, I’d never seen anything like it. They were our way into underground culture, had the look and feel of something only we could know and understand. The artwork of a flyer can promise pure escapism just from its design.”
The entire archive is available along with other rave culture-related insights on Phatmedia’s website.

Written by Tommaso Berra
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