Moments of Connection As Means of Survival

A Study of Queer Identity, Freedom and Community in UK Raves During the Covid-19 Pandemic


  • Daisy Avis-Ward UCL (University College London)


From the start of the pandemic in the UK, reports emerged of illegal raves being held by young people in violation of social distancing regulation. Media discourse was laden with condemnation levelled at the public health risk and the perceived immorality and unfairness associated with the behaviour. Drawing on 11 semi-structured interviews with attendees, this study explores the motivations for going to and experiences of raves during Covid-19. Raves are unique social safe spaces for LGBTQ+ individuals to create community, emotional connections and express their sexual identity. Additionally, the pursuit of escapism via raves was no longer only symbolic, as individuals chose to escape the confines of lockdown. These findings illuminate the function of raves as social spaces outside normal society where participants can experience identity expression, connection, and freedom. They offer a more nuanced understanding of raves beyond stereotypes of hedonist youth and immorality.






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