Second Summer of Love

The Second Summer of Love was a 1980s social phenomenon in the United Kingdom which saw the rise of acid house music and unlicensed rave parties.[1] The term generally refers to the summer of 1988,[2][3] when electronic dance music and the prevalence of the drug MDMA fuelled an explosion in youth culture culminating in mass free parties and the era of the rave. The music of this era fused dance beats with a psychedelic, 1960s flavour, and the dance culture drew parallels with the hedonism and freedom of the 1967 Summer of Love in San Francisco. The smiley logo is synonymous with this period in the UK.

Second Summer of Love
Smiley icon.svg
Smiley, a popular symbol of the movement
LocationUnited Kingdom
ParticipantsRavers, house musicians
OutcomeRise of acid house music, raves, and acid house parties


The Second Summer of Love began in 1988,[4] with the rise of the nightclubs Shoom (run by Danny Rampling), Future (organised by Paul Oakenfold), Trip (run by Nicky Holloway), Slam (DJs) and The Haçienda (run by Mike Pickering and Graeme Park).[5] It was the start of the rave scene in the UK.[4] These five DJs were inspired to start these events after holidaying on Ibiza in the summer of 1987 with their friend Johnny Walker.[4] Ibiza was where acid house music first became popular in Europe and the after-hours nature of the club scene emerged.

In the early stages of the Second Summer of Love, the events and parties were often held in empty warehouses across the UK and were essentially illegal.[6][5] Vague flyers around towns and cities advertised events and information travelled by word of mouth (as well as the newly popular mobile pager) between clubbers who were obliged to party incognito.[7]

The symbol of the time became a smiley face after the London crowd picked up the design when it was posted on one of the flyers from the third Shoom party.[4] Water and Lucozade were a common feature because of the dehydrating effects of marathon dancing due to MDMA use.[4] Clubgoers wore baggy clothing to combat the heat inside the clubs, and staff handed out ice pops.[4]



Acid house was typical of the Second Summer of Love. The music was characterised by the "squelching" bass produced by the Roland TB-303 and loud repetitive beats.[6] It originated in Chicago and took on new qualities when it came to Europe.[6] Songs from the time period include "French Kiss" by Lil Louis "On & On" by Jesse Saunders, "Mystery of Love" by Fingers Inc., "Love Can't Turn Around" by Farley "Jackmaster" Funk & Jesse Saunders (featuring Darryl Pandy), "I've Lost Control" by Sleezy D, and "Your Only Friend" by Phuture.[8] Moving the Second Summer of Love from underground events to overground, large raves was Wayne Anthony at his warehouse party called Genesis in Aldgate, East London[4] as well as the huge outdoor Sunrise raves organised by Tony Colston-Hayter and Paul Staines.[citation needed]

There was also a secondary soundtrack of psychedelic indie rock and indie pop, particularly in the form of shoegaze acts like Spacemen 3, The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, as well as Dream Pop acts like The Sundays, which were influential on later Madchester acts like The Stone Roses.

Drug useEdit

Ecstasy was the drug of choice during the time. LSD was still present, just not as prominently. Mark Moore, of group S'Express, said: "It definitely took ecstasy to change things. People would take their first ecstasy and it was almost as if they were born again."[4] Violence was uncommon due to the feelings of euphoria, love and empathy caused by ecstasy.[6] The drug also increased the enjoyment of the music and encouraged dancing.[6] Nicky Holloway, a DJ from the time, said: "The ecstasy and music came together. It was all part of the package... That may sound a little sad, but there's no way acid house would have taken off the way it did without ecstasy."[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Reynolds, Simon (1998). Energy Flash. Picador. ISBN 0-330-35056-0.
  2. ^ Elledge, Jonn (11 January 2005). "Stuck still". AK13. Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 13 June 2006., "By the end of 1988, the second summer of love was over"
  3. ^ "History of Hard House". Archived from the original on 16 May 2006. Retrieved 13 June 2006."As the second "Summer of Love" arrived in 1989"
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Bainbridge, Luke (19 April 2008). "A second summer of love". The Guardian.
  5. ^ a b Bainbridge, Luke (23 February 2014). "Acid house and the dawn of a rave new world". The Guardian.
  6. ^ a b c d e Nickson, Chris (24 April 2010). "The Second Summer of Love". Ministry of Rock.
  7. ^ Kinney, Fergal (28 May 2020). "Pills, mills and bellyaches: how Blackburn out-partied Manchester". The Guardian.
  8. ^ Savage, Jon (19 April 2008). "Back to the old house". The Observer.
  9. ^
  10. ^

Further readingEdit

  • Wayne Anthony-- Class of 88. London: Virgin Books, 1998. ISBN 0-7535-0240-2. A street-level account of the warehouse party/rave scene from one of the organisers at the time.
  • Jane Bussmann-- Once in a Lifetime: The Crazy Days of Acid House and Afterwards, Virgin Books 1998. ISBN 0-7535-0260-7
  • Matthew Collin-- Altered States: The Story of Ecstasy and Acid House London: 1997 : Serpent's Tail—How rave dances began in Manchester, England in the Summer of 1988 (the [second] "Summer of Love") and the aftermath.
  • Sheryl Garratt-- Adventures in Wonderland: A Decade Of Club Culture Headline: 1999—The book chronicles the growth of house music & club culture, including a lot of detail on the 2nd Summer of Love
  • Simon Reynolds-- Generation Ecstasy: into the world of techno and rave culture. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1998. ISBN 0-316-74111-6.