1989 acid house rave VR experience planned for Coventry City of Culture

An acid house rave VR experience with a 1989-theme has been unveiled as part of the City of Culture programme for Coventry, England, this year. 

‘In Pursuit of Repetitive Beats’ sees audiences step into the so-called Second Summer of Love with the task of tracking down and attending an all-night illegal warehouse party. En route, they will explore bedroom walls adorned with rave posters and flyers, a pirate radio station, the event venue, and police headquarters. 

Presented as a room-scale multi-sensory VR journey, filmmaker Darren Emerson has described his project as a “joyride”, which will address “universal themes of community, politics and class disruption”. 

“With ‘In Pursuit of Repetitive Beats’ I want to take audiences back to the thrill of one night in 1989, to use this immersive experience to re-examine what this moment means through the intersection of storytelling and interaction. It is a familiar tale of the acid house experience, understood and lived by many,” said Emerson, who has first hand experience of early rave culture.

“It also serves as a revisionist take on this familiar story, because it is set in Coventry, a city not readily celebrated within the books, documentaries, and legends of acid house. But for those that knew the score, they knew Coventry had its part to play,” he continued. “We are creating a piece of work which will take audiences on an amazing journey; utilising immersive cinematic filmmaking, jaw dropping animation, sonic aural landscapes and euphoric music, combined with embodiment and interaction.” 

The VR element lasts around 30minutes, with a second exhibition area also open to visitors containing audio-visual archive material about the birth of acid house in Britain. Running from 29th March to 1st May, tickets for ‘In Pursuit of Repetitive Beats’ go on sale Friday 28th January through the City of Culture website, which also contains information about another part of the programme, ‘Deliaphonic’ — celebrating the life and work of Coventry-born electronic music pioneer, Delia Derbyshire

In December, the documentary ‘The Eclipse Part 1: I Go Out Friday Night, And I Come Home Saturday Morning‘ was released online, charting the history of Coventry venue The Eclipse — the UK’s first legal all-night club. Further evidence of the area’s storied dance music history was also evident in ‘House Is A Feeling‘, a multi-sensory exhibition held last November looking at the arrival of acid house and ecstasy in the city. 

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