On Saturday night, myself, Gone and Appo91 headed off to Bradford for the Gash Collective's latest event - the Trans-Pennine Exodus.
Leaving Manchester, we arrived at an Asda to fill up on supplies on the Bradford ring road. We spotted a Police portakabin and Gone was up it like a flash...
We had a few hours to kill until information about the party was to be released, so we ended up driving around Bradford looking at potential buildings to climb. After getting denied by one apartment building with a lock on its roof hatch, we soon found ourselves driving around the turnstiles and supporting pillars of Valley Parade - home of Bradford City football club. As close to UrbEx as you'll get without leaving a car.
We passed an empty office block in the city centre and thought to ourselves what a great building it would be to have a look at on a return visit. Time was passing by and we didn't want to be caught in an empty building when the information for the free party was released.
After another phonecall to the Gash Collective's information hotline, we darted across town to the meeting point, parked the car and proceeded on foot. We saw a couple of police officers near to the rendez-vous and a lot of confused-looking young people.
It soon transpired as three coachloads of people arrived, that the police were outside the venue. Locals spotted the organisers gaining entry and called the police thinking they were copper thieves or some such. Not only that, but the venue itself was the office block we'd decided to give a miss half an hour earlier in case we missed the main event.
As the car park shutters opened, folk started running in and the police got their batons out. Swinging to hit, and swinging hard, one in particular seemed quite over-aggressive. As another door opened, more people ran in and more batons were swung. Appo got in at this point and I lost Gone in the crowd.
After a brief minute, police re-enforcements arrived, as did more and more potential party people, and I met back up with Gone. We slowly walked around the building when a headtorch-wearing silhouette appeared on the fourth floor roof.
"YOU ALL NEED TO GET IN THROUGH THE DOORS ON THE OTHER SIDE!"
By now the square where Grattan Road meets Tetley Street, Providence Street and New John Street was packed full of people. The police had blocked off all of the roads at the ends of these streets to try and contain things.
Every now and then you'd hear a huge cheer as more revellers surged through a newly opened door. The bass started pumping inside and was loud enough to be heard down the hill at Sunbridge Road.
The police (who must have numbered 60 by now) eventually cleared the building of people, this is when we met up with Appo again who told us stories of girls getting trampled on and police hitting people with their batons despite the fact that they couldn't comply with the police's instructions and get out because other people were in the way. It was around now that we saw Yaz and Sneak - two of Manchester's finest - for a brief minute before getting lost in the crowd again.
While waiting for it all to blow over (after all, my car was parked within the police corden), we decided to go to the roof of the nearby Morrisons to get a view of proceedings. Access to this rooftop was a nice mix of skills. We stayed low on this flat roof and watched the people leaving in small groups.
On our way back to Manchester we saw one of the coaches going towards Bradford on the motorway with a police escort. We arrived back in the city centre at about 2am and proceeded to bust some mad skanking from the comfort of our own car, with Gone strobing his camera's flash with some LOUD dubstep and DnB past the Printworks and down Deansgate. TAKE THAT YOU CONFORMIST SCUM!
Click this to see what it was like outside!
Images courtesy of Gone, Appo91 and myself.