San Francisco Rave Scene 1990s

San Francisco in the 1990’s was known as the mecca of the rave scene in America. Taking the same DIY sensibility as the UK scene, but incorporating a much more psychedelic San Francisco vibe. Outdoor parties, warehouse raves and psychedelic drugs fueled the scene in that decade, making it legendary.

With a little help from Wikipedia, we’ve compiled a timeline with a list of the events and artists that made the scene so special. In Part 1, we are attempting to help you understand the landscape and players in the scene.

It was an epic time, so epic that there’s even a movies in the works, produced by Martin O’Brien & DJ Jenö. Their site sums up that time quite nicely:

San Francisco was the epicenter of the American rave scene and witnessed some legendary events that began in the early ‘90s. These all-night electronic-music dance parties attracted a diverse cross-section of people. Culturally iconic and socially important, the parties became a catalyst in the lives of so many of the people who experienced them.”

Here’s a run-down of some key events.


Wicked Sound System: DJ Garth and friends

“In 1991 along DJ Garth with friends and fellow DJs Jenö, Thomas Bullock, Markie, Alan & Trish he founded the Wicked Sound System, and with the fellow members of Wicked organized the monthly Full Moon events that led to increased underground interest in rave culture. By 1994 the crew imported a custom Tony Andrews-designed Turbosound system, teaming up with a 1947 Greyhound bus which allowed the Wicked act to tour the States.”

Funky Tekno Tribe throws their first parties…


Young American Primitive releases self-titled single on ZoëMagik records


Freaky Chakra releases Halucifuge on Exist Dance Records

“Freaky Chakra emerged out of the San Francisco underground after a chance introduction to Exist Dance head Mike Kandel (a.k.a. Tranquility Bass) through mutual friend Miguel Fierro (a.k.a. Single Cell Orchestra ). Kandel liked Bentley’s demo, and in the summer of 1993, Exist Dance released “Halucifuge”, which became an underground hit. “~Discogs


Pacific Sound System Begins

Pacific Sound System throws the legendary outdoor party “Sunset” and is also known for the boat parties on the SF Bay. This guys are still at it 20 years later. Why did they get started, well by there own works…”Sunset Sound System was created in 1994 with an undying dedication to bringing quality dance music and people together in unique and beautiful settings.” Nice work!

The Hardkiss Brothers release Delusions of Grandeur

Acid House artist “The Scientist” said of the brothers, in his RYM Ultimate Box Set list: “Scott, Gavin and Robbie, the Hardkiss brothers, ruled the underground San Francisco club scene during the early 90s with a mixture of acid, progressive house, deep house, tribal, and breakbeats. World-class DJs all, the brothers (in name) also ran their own Hardkiss label, releasing material as themselves plus myriad other artists, including Rabbit in the Moon (actually from Floridia but very similar in style) and Scott’s God Within project. Their label and group collective helped establish a unique San Francisco sound in the 90’s that was highly psychedelic and continually morphing in style.”


The San Francisco Raves calendar goes online


SF House Collective starts new party called “Love”


DJ Mark Farina releases Mushroom Jazz


2000 *bonus track

‘Groove’ the movie about the SF Rave scene is released

Other artists, parties and crews active in San Francisco in the 1990’s

Come Unity, Single Cell Orchestra, Markie, Friends and Family Collective, Stompy, Funky Tekno Tribe, Full Moon Raves, Dubtribe Sound System, Spacetime Continuum, Asphodel Records, Frequency 8, The Gathering, Sister SF, Toon Town, A Rave Called Sharon, Anarchic Clothes, Sundays in Golden Gate Park, Full Moon Parties, and SFRaves List.

This is a small fraction of the many artists and parties that help shape this time in San Francisco. If you can think of more that deserve to be listed here, email me at [email protected].


  • Алексей Хлопов

    Spundae @ DV8

  • Steve Chivers

    I use to Rave in Frisco in the early 90’s… some really good times! lol Garth, Carlos Ghost… all good! Just to mention a few… Hardkiss..

  • Road Less Traveled

    I was there:). Electronic scene isn’t the same anymore. There is still good music, but the vibes and old school raves were better and more epic back then.

  • Justin Michael Zabor

    Good vibes and FANTASTIC sets at A Rave Called Sharon, FTT,Full Moon and Spundaes with Dutch, Jeno, Garth and the Hardkiss brothers….

  • Chris R Schneider

    i lived in sf in the 90s. was amazing and yet horrible. so extreme. but as they say. you do leave your heart there. endup, 1015, that chinese rest on geary, universe, pleasuredome, stompy,

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