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Ravers collared by police over Covid rules plan giant legal parties

Ravers will return to large-scale events if the roadmap out of lockdown goes ahead as planned (Picture: DJ Kev Maloney/Getty/Google Maps)

Ravers who have been subject to police action for allegedly breaching Covid laws plan to return with giant legal parties this summer.

Two dance music brands which have been targeted for holding large gatherings are organising events attracting thousands of people at a time.

One DJ arrested for allegedly planning an illegal event told Metro.co.uk that he believes the post-lockdown scene will be safer than underground parties held in defiance of the restrictions.

Under the Government’s roadmap, nightclubs and larger events are scheduled to reopen from June 21, although there are question marks over whether the tests for the easing of restrictions will be met amid delays in vaccine deliveries from overseas.

Among the clubs planning to make a return is Lab11 in Birmingham, which was issued with a £10,000 fine for breaching Covid regulations by holding a party in a marquee.

The venue has since has raised more than three times the amount to stay afloat and now plans to reopen with its ‘biggest ever’ weekender between June 25 and 27.

Tickets starting at £20 are being sold for the ‘summer of love’ relaunch after police took action over what they said was a party in a ‘large marquee’ attended by up to 120 people last October.

An advert for the event reads: ‘This will be our first proper RAVE, almost 1 year to the date of being closed due to Covid-19.

‘As part of this special occasion we will be bringing the biggest brands in Birmingham together for a full weekend, close to 30 hours of partying Friday-Sunday.’

Video grab from police shutting down an event at Lab 11 in Birmingham, after it tried to pass off an event in a specially constructed marquee as an outdoor event. The venue owner was fined ?10,000. See SWNS story SWMDfine. West Midlands Police have given out a ?10,000 fine to a venue in the West Midlands after it tried to pass off an event in a specially constructed marquee as an outdoor event. The police called to Lab 11 on Saturday night following concerns that different households were mixing ? which is currently banned as Birmingham?s covid alert level is currently at ?high?.A huge marquee had been set up, with 100 to 120 people inside it at the venue in Trent Street, Digbeth.

Lab11 argues that it had taken enhanced precautions in a marquee area that should have been classed as outdoors (Picture: West Midlands Police)
Lab11 held a crowdfunding campaign after police issued the club with a £10,000 fine (Picture: Google Maps)

West Midlands Police had released bodycam footage showing officers walking into the venue in Digbeth with the caption: ‘This isn’t a game anymore. People are dying.’

The force said households had been mixing indoors, which at the time was banned under the city’s tier-two restrictions aimed at suppressing rising Covid-19 rates.

Lab11 responded by claiming the event took place in a refurbished marquee area with Covid precautions and should have been classed as outdoors.

In tier-two areas, entertainment venues were allowed to have head counts exceeding the ‘rule of six’ but no one could mix indoors with anyone outside of their household or support bubble.

On the ‘Save Lab11’ crowdfunding appeal the nightclub invited donations to keep it afloat during the Covid restrictions and pay for its legal battle.

The appeal ended after raising £35,159.

Nightclubs are slated to reopen from June if certain Government tests are met (Picture: Getty)

Nightclubs are slated to reopen from June if certain Government tests are met under the roadmap out of lockdown (Picture: Getty)

Kev Maloney, who was arrested on suspicion of organising an illegal rave, also plans a major dance music event under the heading of his long-running ‘Secret in the Stix’ brand.

He is planning to attract 2,000 people to the ticketed, 18-hour comeback on July 24 which he says will have safety measures such as hand-sanitisers and medics in place.

Mr Maloney was arrested by officers who broke down the door to his flat in Coventry before an event he had planned to hold in July last year.

However no further action was taken against him and he maintains he did nothing illegal.

Mr Maloney said: ‘Secret in the Stix has been going for ten years and we are keeping our fingers crossed that we will be able to hold a professional event with safety precautions when it is legal to do so.

Video grab from police shutting down an event at Lab 11 in Birmingham, after it tried to pass off an event in a specially constructed marquee as an outdoor event. The venue owner was fined ?10,000. See SWNS story SWMDfine. West Midlands Police have given out a ?10,000 fine to a venue in the West Midlands after it tried to pass off an event in a specially constructed marquee as an outdoor event. The police called to Lab 11 on Saturday night following concerns that different households were mixing ? which is currently banned as Birmingham?s covid alert level is currently at ?high?.A huge marquee had been set up, with 100 to 120 people inside it at the venue in Trent Street, Digbeth.

Lab11 argues that it had taken enhanced precautions in a marquee area that should have been classed as outdoors (Picture: West Midlands Police)

‘It’s an exciting time for the dance music scene which has virtually been wiped out by the lockdowns. It’s left a lot of people feeling depressed and we all need to get out again.’

Locations for Secret in the Stix, which has been held around Coventry and Warwickshire for past decade, only gives out the location at the last minute in a throwback to the underground rave era.

‘The rave scene has been carrying on underground through the lockdown in any case,’ Mr Maloney said.

‘The legal events will allow people to go out and be happy in a safe environment where we’ll have Covid precautions, medics and security to look after them.’

DJ Kev Maloney was arrested by police on suspicion of organising an illegal party but has since been told he will not face any further action (Picture: DJ Kev Maloney)

DJ Kev Maloney was arrested by police on suspicion of organising an illegal party but has since been told he will not face any further action (Picture: DJ Kev Maloney)
DJs at a rave in a Birmingham warehouse which was broken up by police (Picture: Birmz is Grime/Facebook)

An expert told Metro.co.uk earlier this month that the reopening of nightclubs could lead to a surge in Covid cases.

Dr Chris George, a GP and also a spokesperson for the Healthcare Workers’ Foundation, an NHS-founded charity for NHS workers, expressed his concerns at people who are less likely to have been vaccinated not social distancing.

Concerns have also been raised that efforts to vaccinate younger age groups might be hit by delays in vaccines arriving in the UK from India.

However the Health Secretary insisted today that the Government still expects to meet its target of offering a first jab to all over-50s by mid-April.

The roadmap is scheduled to end legislation introduced last summer, whereby organisers of illegal raves, unlicensed music events or any other unlawful gathering of more than 30 people face fines of up to £10,000.

Those attending can be fined £200, which is doubled if they repeat the offence up to a maximum of £6,400.

A spokesman for West Midlands Police has previously said it is not in a position to comment on Covid fines that are due to appear in court.

Warwickshire Police has said that Mr Maloney’s arrest was ‘both necessary and proportionate in the circumstances’.

At the time, the force described the party as unauthorised and unlicensed and said it broke Government legislation around gatherings to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The final phase of the of the route out of Covid restrictions is dependent on the Events Research Programme and a review of social distancing measures.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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