There are whispers of more illegal raves taking place in Manchester this weekend. But anyone who truly knows what happened at the last set of quarantine parties would never, ever attend. Not in a thousand lifetimes.
The mass gathering in Carrington on Saturday didn’t just make national headlines for being an unruly affair; it permanently changed lives in the worst possible way.
Those affected by the violent events that transpired in Trafford have now spoken out – and one thing has become abundantly clear.
This was not a fun-loving rave. It was a battlefield.
Thousands of youngsters secretly descended on the local industrial estate on 13 June for a “quarantine rave”, complete with booze and tunes. But it didn’t take long for the night to turn sour.
Within seconds of the first police car arriving, a shower of bottles and nitrous oxide canisters came raining down on the vehicle – shattering the windshield.
Along the periphery, fences were torn up as people crawled through barbed wire and nettle bushes to reach the main site.
Mounds of litter and drug paraphernalia piled up across the dirt.
Distraught onlookers desperately tried to point emergency services in the direction of injured attendees.
Brave police officers shielded ambulance crews from the chaos as they scrambled through the pitch-black woodland to find victims who’d been viciously attacked and left to bleed in a field, before escorting them out through a hazardous maze.
All this, whilst a deadly disease – that’s already killed thousands in Britain – hung heavy in the air.
One of the people stabbed that night was given life-saving first aid by the Tactical Aid Unit and North-West Ambulance Service.
He is just 18 years old.
At around 11pm, his mother decided to leave him a message to ask what time he’d be home and if he had a key, when a police car pulled up and an officer revealed her son was in surgery.
“That was the first we’d heard he’d gone to this illegal rave,” the mother said.
“The police took us to hospital and we waited there while they saved his life. Thankfully, he has been moved from ICU and is now on the major trauma ward, so he’s making small steps in the right direction.”
The man’s parents can’t see him due to COVID, but the hospital is sending daily updates and have been “brilliant”, according to the mother.
“My son made absolutely the wrong decision to go out to the rave,” she said.
“I understand that young people want to go out, they’ve had 12 weeks of lockdown; even though they shouldn’t be going out because of COVID.
“But by choosing to go to a venue like that; there is no security there, no CCTV, no access for police or paramedics. Potentially he could have bled to death in a field because as hard as the police and paramedics tried, they couldn’t get to him.
“I urge any parent who hears the slightest rumour that there’s another rave going on to tell the police. The police haven’t got the numbers to shut these raves down because there’s so many kids there. But if they know beforehand, hopefully no other family will have to go through what we’ve been through.
“And also a message to younger people: You think you’re invincible but you’re not.
“Before you leave the house and you’re intending to go to one of these things, just look at your mum in her face and know how much she loves you. Know that something potentially awful could happen to you that will destroy her and the family.
“So, please just don’t go to these things.”
The first responders on the scene that evening, PC Andy Hunt and PC Will Horrocks, were taken aback by the hostility that greeted the emergency services that evening.
“There were hundreds and hundreds of people all walking up to go to where the scene of the rave was,” explained PC Hunt.
“Initially people were engaging with us, but started to become more and more hostile as we walked into the site.
“We realised there were a couple of thousand people there and we soon came across the first victim of a stabbing who we had to remove from the area and give first aid.
“It caused a lot of distress to people walking by… but it didn’t seem to deter anyone. They still went in.”
He continued: “Following that, there were reports of the young man who’d been stabbed. We had to escort medical crews in as we were concerned for their safety. It was slightly chaotic trying to find out where he was.
“People were in tears trying to point us in the direction of where he was. And extracting him from the area was incredibly difficult due to the gates everywhere because it’s an old industrial area.
“We gave him first aid in the back of the van and whisked him off to hospital quick.
“Just stay away from these things. They have catastrophic consequences.”
As the police moved closer to the nucleus of the “rave”, they quickly learnt they were alarmingly outnumbered.
Upon approach, officers were pelted with objects from the crowd and had to manage what they could from the sidelines.
PC Horrocks described that as police blocked entrances, revellers began ripping holes in the fences and clambering through dangerous terrain to join the main crowd.
“This is probably due to the drugs and alcohol they’d consumed and they weren’t thinking straight,” he explained.
“Considering it was an illegal rave, it was a lot more anti-police than what you’d expect.
“Bottles were launched at the first police car that arrived causing the windscreen to be smashed.
“Then we got reports of casualties coming in – but describing where the injured people were was a challenge in itself.
“It’s a minor miracle that the casualty was in an area we could access easily rather than going through the main crowd.”
The makeshift event has also placed immense pressure on the NHS and North West Ambulance service (NWAS) – who had to send more than 20 resources to the site during the evening.
This included hazardous area response teams, emergency doctors, operational commanders, specialist paramedics, rapid response vehicles and three ambulances.
Oliver Mayor, Operation Commander of NWAS, said: “The impact it’s had on the North West Ambulance service both on the night and going forward is the very real risk of COVID-19 transmission – not just between those who attended but their friends and family also.
“The incidents have taken up valuable emergency resources and it’s a quite clear breach of the Government legislation that’s been there to try and protect us all.
“These events are not licensed or organised, and there’s a risk of safety and security. It’s selfishly irresponsible behaviour that puts lives at risk.
“We’d like to urge people to please be responsible and continue to follow the social distancing guidelines.
“We’ve got this far – let’s not give up.”
Greater Manchester Police have now issued a statement declaring that anyone involved in hosting or attending an illegal rave will face arrest and prosecution.
Night-time economy adviser, Sacha Lord, who knows a thing or two about what’s involved in planning a true rave, has also been left aghast.
“When I woke up to see the news last weekend, I was so saddened to see how so many people had acted so irresponsibly,” said the Parklife founder.
“Organising an event for thousands of people takes many months of working alongside emergency services and local authorities.
“I strongly urge everyone to look back at last weekend and do not ever let it happen again.
“There will be a time to party again. It won’t be too far away, but it will have your safety at the forefront.”
Mayor Andy Burnham has also vowed to “redouble” efforts to close down future gatherings in and around Manchester.
In the meantime, the message is clear: Never attend a quarantine rave. Lives are being needlessly gambled. To turn up is to throw the dice.