|This article relies on references to primary sources. (November 2007)|
Fantazia is a dance organisation based in the UK. Founded in 1991 by James Perkins, it was set up at a time when breakbeat hardcore was on the ascendent within the rave scene, having grown out of the Acid House movement.
Given the popularity and appeal of the music to a new generation of disaffected youth, the company grew quickly in line with the movement, holding six large raves in 1992.
Raves / Events
The following are just some of the major Fantazia's heyday events in the early 1990s :
• Second Sight: 22 February 1992 at Westpoint Centre, Nr Exeter. 8000 people;
• Summertime: 15 May 1992 at Matchams Park Stadium, Bournemouth. 16,000 people;
• One Step Beyond: 25 July 1992 at Donington Park. 28,000 people (Fantazia’s largest ever rave);
• Unforgettable Journey: 5 September 1992 at Quest, Wolverhampton;
As part of a general trend in the rave movement, not only were these events legal – but also particularly large. As above, Fantazia’s rave at Castle Donington was the largest outdoor rave to be held in the UK – with no fewer than 25,000 people (police at the time estimated that an extra 3000 had gained entrance without tickets so the attendance figure was closer to 30,000).
Additionally, possibly following on from the Raindance events, Fantazia raves increasingly featured certain characteristics of theme parks and mainstream celebrations. For example, the Fantazia at Castle Donington included a stage dressed as a castle, a giant inflatable dragon and a large pyrotechnic/ firework display. However, these things should be seen as peripheral, as the music (and possibly the use of ecstasy) constituted the core of each event and the movement in general. At the Castle Donington event alone, over 60 DJs & PAs played throughout the night.
Unlike many other rave promoters in the early nineties, Fantazia filmed all their major events and released videos. These were generally successful in the charts. One particularly successful video, for example, was of the Big Bang New Year event (circa 94) which reached No. 2 - beaten only by Take That. This footage can still be seen on the company’s website and is available to license. This represents an interesting timeframe of an era that many people shaped and, at the same time, that influenced many people.
Changes: 1993 onwards
The company moved away from raves around 1993-94 as the regulatory environment becomes less favourable for organisations to put on large, outdoor, one off events e.g. councils refusing licenses and charging exorbitant licence application fees. As a result, Fantazia abandoned plans for another large scale Castle Donnington-esque outdoor party and instead focussed its energies on the recording side of the company – which had been founded to release the ground breaking Old Skool compilation The First Taste. From this grew the successful series The House Collection/Club Classics. These featured attractive, often fetish clad women, on the covers and were mixed by top House DJs like Boy George, Jeremy Healy, Carl Cox and Paul Oakenfold. Regularly selling over 100,000 albums the company went on to sell many millions of records.
The company exists to this day and has a web site dedicated to their past activities as well as the whole rave and dance scene.