3SpacelogoAs my mum would no doubt love to tell you, I organised my first free party aged 14: handing out flyers with our home address (and carefully drawn map) around my 1,800 strong comprehensive school.

Growing up in London through the 80s and 90s, there were plenty more free parties to go to (and organise). But at some point in the mid noughties there was a segue from after hours parties in secret locations to parties with a bit more purpose.

The best business events these days combine experimentation and inspiration with the spontaneity of the pop-up movement. And yes, there’s often an element of 1990s rave culture (or 1960s hippy) thrown in.

While my experience of free (or once free) creative industry gatherings like Twestival, 2gether, Tuttle Club, Digital Shoreditch, Rewire London and SheSays may not match the heights of the hedonistic 1990s, these events certainly fill an emotional and intellectual need.

I’m proud to have been involved with the Cass Creatives franchise and, more recently, really pleased to have got together with fellow free party veterans Roxanne Persaud and Matthew Mezey to produce the FRSA London Reboot.  

We came up with a mix of lighting talks and speed networking designed to get London RSA Fellows (FRSA) chatting to each other. All at a free venue (3Space) that certainly matched the laidback ambience (if not the dodgy vibe) of a Thatcher-era rave.

Participants could connect beforehand via Eventbrite, Twitter and an open Googledoc. The only pre-requisite for speakers was that their project had a social purpose and a hook – a way for other Fellows to get involved. And everyone who came contributed something – from ideas or facilitation to food and drink.

The first London FRSA Reboot ran in November last year and went really well, with speakers talking about everything from re-designing public toilets, through teaching first aid to gang members to supporting victims of trafficking in Africa.  We ran a second event in February. And Reboot 3 has just been announced. At a secret location in central London. Somehow, my party world has gone full circle.