The Packard Plant Detroit’s Epicenter for Rave Culture in the 90’s

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1580 E. Grand Blvd
Detroit, Michigan 48211
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The Packard Plant was designed by Albert Kahn. It was a automotive manufacturing center from 1903 to 1962, when Studebaker (which bought out Packard in 1955) ceased production. It wasn’t until its third decade of decline in the 1990s that the hulking factory space would become an apt ground zero for Midwest rave culture (intersecting with scenes in the UK and Germany), led by Richie Hawtin’s Windsor-based acid crew, Syst3m, and Poor Boy. While the parties migrated week to week, the infamous Packard Plant, a long abandoned auto factory that in recent years became the primary party space monument to urban decay and the illegal underground party scene. Soon “Suburban kids were became more interested in the underground warehouse thing,” explains Thornton in a Thump interview. “It was very scary to go to Detroit. It meant you were a badass if you did.” In the ’90s, the Packard was in a spiral to became the epitome of raw urban spaces and a tourist stop for visitors seeking Detroits most famous “ruin porn”.

“We just cared about good music and top DJs,” Brian Gillespie told Thump, “It’s funny. All of the black club DJs heard about the famous DJ Godfather vs. Gary Chandler battle at the Packard Plant. Gary could not believe there was over 1,500 people at the Packard, freaking out that he was there.”

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