New ‘Exist To Resist’ Book Explores How UK Raves Became Protests

December 08, 2022
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© Maksim Zhashkevych / Unsplash

Following the first installment of the Exist To Resist book series, photographer Matthew Smith continues to explore the unapologetic hedonism of the 90s’ rave culture. In Exist To Resist v2.0, Smith aka Mattko dives deep into the lost freedom of UK’s rave scene, the ‘Kill the Bill’ generation, and democratic activism’s frontlines.

Billed as a “social history book” and “a diary of celebration and opposition,” Exist To Resist v2.0 will feature new images from Smith’s archive – thought lost for two decades – and in-depth research. 

The 244-page book will shed light on how rave-thirsty individuals pioneered protests to regain their right to dance, party, and build a community around these freedoms. 

With images covering almost one decade of raving and protesting, the resistance testimony will showcase everything from the laws that robbed the rave scene of its embedded freedom to dance music’s opposition. 

The series of lyrical images kick off at Glastonbury Festival in 1989 and end at the 1997 Reclaim The Streets protest, when thousands of people filled Trafalgar Square with techno beats and banners in an anti-oppression move. 

According to Smith, Exist To Resist v2.0 has been put together out of his “love for UK’s rave, sound system, and festival culture.” 

“It is also a diary of celebration and opposition that documents the enclosure of a culture which provided the foundations of our now incredibly successful festival and event creative industries.” 

Smith set up a Kickstarter campaign to crowd-fund the publishing of the book. 


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