HIGH ON HOPE: This long awaited film celebrates the 20th anniversary of the acid house scene in Blackburn through a combination of rare retro footage, animation, and revealing interviews with some of the people who raved their little hearts out at some of the biggest parties the North had ever seen, as well as the people who made them happen. Despite rave reviews Piers Sandersons award winning documentary is still waiting for a general release because of problems finding the funding to pay for the music rights.
Starting out with original footage of the warehouse parties and mixed with interviews, news archive and animation this film is a testament to what happened when ‘acid house music’ arrived from Chicago to northern England in recession hit 1980’s Thatcher’s Britain.
In 1989 Britain was a bland, depressed country. However the nation’s youth, facing a future with no jobs or sense of community, used the derelict warehouses of Britain’s old industrial past in a new togetherness, one based around music and danced all night in these un-policed environments, free from the constraints of the corporate owned night clubs of the time.
By 1991 acid house became the latest underground youth cult to threaten the moral majority. Reacting to the right wing press inspired public outrage, the police, in full body armour, with battons, shields and dogs, put an end to the the warehouse parties using tactics recently perfected on striking miners and previously during the race riots that defined the Thatcher era. The story ends with the largest post war mass arrest in British history.
When Piers Sanderson started making this film he did not know how to make a documentary he just wanted to tell the story of a time and a movement that had changed him irrevocably. He started by tracking down the original organisers of the parties and they told him their incredible stories – how they broke in to the warehouses, organised thousands of people to get past the authorities and in to the parties, the methods they used to get the sound equipment in and out of the heavily policed industrial estates of Lancashire and how ultimately they all ended up giving their liberty for something they believed so strongly in.
He also found ‘Preston Bob’ whose parents, at the time of the parties, had a local corner shop. The shop had a video camera that they would rent out for weddings and Christenings and when this was not used Bob would borrow it to film the parties. He gave an old box of VHS tapes to Piers and this incredible footage brings these legendary parties back to life!
A 10-year labour of love, this film has been made in the same way as the parties themselves were put together – with passion, enthusiasm and innovation, using collaborations and a collective approach, to tell as story that hopes inspire us to come together more positively in the 21st Century, as this might just be what we all need most.