Dubbed the ‘world’s largest outdoor all night party’ (and it probably wasn’t far off at the time), Fantazia’s ‘One Step Beyond’ party took place on this day (25 July) in 1992.
A whopping 25,000 were estimated to have attended the Castle Donnington rave, which featured sets from legends such as Ratpack, Top Buzz, Jim ‘Shaft’ Ryan, Easygroove, Ellis Dee, Pilgrim & Ratty, SS & Seduction, Grooverider, Food Junky and many more – including a giant, fire-breathing dragon.
As this video from the event shows, it was truly a party for the ages, completed with a giant inflatable dragon breathing smoke at the blissed-up ravers, and a midnight fireworks display.
As journalist Rick Sky wrote in [unnamed tabloid newspaper] at the time, “It was Britain’s biggest ever rave – 10 hours of non-stop grooving which made Saturday nights at the local disco seem as quaint as a Victorian tea party. […] The pulsating throb of rave was everywhere. And it that wasn’t enough to blast your senses, ravers could have all the fun of the fair on waltzers, Ferris wheels, space ball gyroscope and velcro jumping.”
The Fantasia website has since been discontinued, but these reviews, archived from the original site, sum up the madness of the event. 🙂
Review #1 (Steve)
“My memories, I have so many, the one that will always stick in my mind was One Step Beyond. Travelling to Leicestershire in the boot of my mates Orion off my box with only four cans [of] Stella and 20 Number 1 but oh my god when we finally got there it was worth it. I had never seen so many happy people in one place at any one time, the night just was heaven the music, the people, the drugs (sorry) I didn’t want it to end.
“I forgot how many times I freaked out over the fire breathing dragon. Well all good things must come to an end, the comedown I still to this day have never had a come down like that one, for days I felt like shit to be so happy and so its so hard describe the feeling 25,000+ people at one with each no hassle just pure ecstasy.
“And then it was over – happy happy days I wish it didn’t end I live in Stroud where a few parties have gone down, trying to relive the Fantazia dream but nothing comes close. If I could turn back the clock and do it all over again… Why did it have to end…”
Review #2 (Maharishi)
“I can remember landing from Tamworth (about 20 miles down the road), to be met by a large queue and always seem to remember whist in the queue music coming out of the main tent and hear an MC saying that this was the youngest hardcore dj in Britain and that he was only 13 years old or something like that. Anyway once threw the searches some geezer came up to me by the railings flogging some little fellas (Disco Biscuits, but you don’t need to know that!).
“Had a chat with him to telling me he had come up from down south and that he always goes to Illusion. Headed for the main stage, ain’t got a clue who was on as the biscuits had started to kick in and all I wanted to do was chat peoples heads off (the buzz was amazing).
“Seem to remember a helicopter flying over all the time and just being tranced out by it, anyway ended up pulling myself together and going into the main tent and standing to the front left of the tent and just going mad to to music , always remember DJ Dream (was Pilgrim on in the tent? As am sure he was).
“After rushing my tits off for what seemed hours but what was probably half hour I sat down under the back of the tent and tried listening to both the main stage and the tent as you had a nice clear view of the main stage from the back of the tent if you lifted the sides. Some geezer came up to me saying duds, you want some duds? To which I must of said “Yea are they any good?”. And my mates pissed themselves laughing at me saying “Duds” And I was like “Yea?” Then I eventually clicked.
“Morning came round just to quick and only remember the last DJs who were Ratpack and thinking who the fuck are they, as had never heard of them, but gotta say played an amazing set at the time.
“Have to say again mate was an amazing night and probably would of remembered more if I hadn’t of met that geezer from down south.”
Review #3 (Kiershen Mackenzie)
“Thousands of people from all over the country descended on Castle Donnington Raceway for One Step Beyond, a night which almost captured the enthusiasm of the M25 rave days. One overheated enthusiast stripped starker’s as the bass-line thumped and, as I watched, enthralled a 10ft silver robot scared the life out of me when it tapped me on the shoulder.
“Police made just 23 arrests during the 10-hour free-for-all and only nine of these were charged. One local bobby told me there was less trouble than at the racing car meets which are the more usual sights at the ground. Sensibly, the cops kept a low profile, and like the saying “you can never find one when you want one,” there wasn’t a policeman in sight during my desperate search for a pen!
“Organisers Fantazia are so chuffed they’re already putting together plans for a Super-Rave in September at a different site with more tickets and more side attractions (if that’s possible) than at Donnington. Although everything is top-secret at the moment.
“The sound system was crystal clear, even in the huge outdoors arena, where the stacked speakers produced enough noise to cover the whistles and cheers without drowning the atmosphere. Occasionally the hard-core music took monotony into a new dimension, but perhaps that’s just me getting old. The smiling, mainly teenage, punters seemed to lap it up. There were enough clothes stalls, fairground rides and new age tents to keep the most easily bored ravers smiling.
“The castle stage and giant plastic dragon were colourful touches and showed an attention to detail which has been decidedly lacking from better known raves recently. Amazingly, as the sun came up, the raving got more intense and by the time the Rat Pack made their appearance at 5.30am and the fireworks went off on the main stage, there was a manic quality in the air.
“This is definitely the last one’ was said half-heartedly a few times , the crowd even laughed at the MC at one point. But finally at 7.30 it was time for all good and bad, boys and girls to go to home to bed. Knackered and satisfied.”
[Kudos to Billy Wilson for the YouTube upload. Images from Fantazia.org.uk]