DiY Sound System

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DiY Sound System, also known as the DiY Collective, was a British house music sound system that formed in 1989.[1] The group "divided their activities between free parties and legal club nights, acting as a bridge between counter-culture and the mainstream".[2]


The DiY Collective was founded in Nottingham in 1989[1][3] as a reaction against the growing commercialisation of pay parties, especially Orbital raves such as Biology. DiY's standpoint came from an merging of anarchist principles and a history of attending both free festivals and clubs such as the Haçienda. They wished to form a cohesive, collective, political front against the prevailing anti-rave legislation that was beginning to come into force at that time.[4] This became more marked around the time of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, with DiY playing a key role in the illegal rave at Castlemorton Common Festival prior to the Bill,[5][6] and a constant stream of illegal, outdoor parties (often at travellers' sites, quarries and disused airfields) all over the country.[7] Simon Reynolds wrote that DiY threw "free parties at abandoned airfields or on hilltops, drawing a mixed crowd of urban ravers and crusty road warriors".[8]

DiY also worked in the realm of legitimate club nights, starting with their first night at the Kool Kat, Nottingham on 23 November 1989 on Harry's 23rd birthday.[9] Their "Bounce" began at Venus, Nottingham in February 1991 and ran for five years at various clubs, including nights at the Dance Factory.[10] Bounce also at one point had a network of nights in Liverpool, Manchester, Hull, Sheffield, Bristol, Birmingham, Exeter and Bath.[citation needed]

The label put out releases from members of the DiY Collective, as well local artists including Atjazz, Rhythm Plate and Charles Webster.[11]

DiY continue to hold occasional free parties, typically to celebrate a milestone date—on 19 September 2009, DiY celebrated their 20th birthday with a free party near their home town of Nottingham, and on 23 August 2014, their 25th birthday with a free party held in a field in Leicestershire.[4][12]

On 3 October 2020, it was announced that Pete Birch (DJ Woosh aka the Peaceful Ones) had died from cancer.[13][14][15][16] Despite Covid restrictions, a wake was held in Nottingham and a ceremony was held at Prestwold Natural Burial Ground where he is interred. In May 2021 a birch tree was planted on his grave.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "New book explores the 90s heyday of DiY Sound System". Mixmag. Retrieved 7 March 2022.
  2. ^ ed. Low M. and Barnett C., (2004) Spaces of Democracy: Geographical Perspectives on Citizenship, Participation and Representation, SAGE Publications, ISBN 0-7619-4734-5
  3. ^ "History of '90s UK rave sound system DiY Collective celebrated in new book, Dreaming in Yellow". 10 February 2022. Retrieved 7 March 2022.
  4. ^ a b Scott Oliver (20 August 2014). "The Raving Crew Who Were Named 'The Most Dangerous People in the UK'". Vice.
  5. ^ Guest, Tim (11 July 2009). "Tim Guest tells the story of how the state crushed the early 90s free party scene". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 March 2022.
  6. ^ ""It's never too far": The inside story of Castlemorton — history's most infamous rave". Mixmag. Retrieved 7 March 2022.
  7. ^ "DIY: Can-do Attitude!". DJ Mag. 4 November 2014.
  8. ^ Reynolds, S., 1998, Energy Flash, Picador, ISBN 0-5712-8914-2
  9. ^ Collin, Matthew (1997). Altered State. UK: Serpent's Tail. p. 197. ISBN 1-85242-604-7.
  10. ^ Collin, Matthew (1997). Altered State. UK: Serpent's Tail. p. 198. ISBN 1-85242-604-7.
  11. ^ "20 years of DiY Soundsystem". Beatportal. Archived from the original on 19 March 2013.
  12. ^ "Doing it for DiY". Left Lion. 27 August 2014.
  13. ^ "Pete 'Woosh' Birch on the History of DiY Soundsystem". Left Lion. 3 October 2020.
  14. ^ "UK deep house pioneer Pete Woosh has died". Mixmag. Retrieved 7 March 2022.
  15. ^ "UK free party pioneer Pete 'Woosh' Birch has died". 7 October 2020. Retrieved 7 March 2022.
  16. ^

Further reading[edit]

  • Dreaming in Yellow: the story of the DiY Sound System. By Harry Harrison. Velocity, 2022. ISBN 9781913231149.

External links[edit]