Hundreds of people gathered Saturday night at the former RAF Charmy Down airfield, some three miles outside the English city of Bath. Upwards of 3,000 people were in attendance at the height of activity, the BBC reported, with hundreds still there early Sunday morning.
Pictures and video on Twitter showed partiers seemingly ignoring all coronavirus-safety regulations, including a lack of facial masks and social distancing.
People as far away as Bristol, some 8 miles away from the airfield, said they could hear the “ridiculously loud bassline.”
Avon and Somerset Police said even though despite officers arrived quickly, they were overwhelmed with “many people at the site.” Chief Superintendent Ian Wylie said the force was aware of a major gathering that might happen over the weekend, but had no ability to pinpoint the exact location, the BBC added.
"We got the call just after 23:00 (BST) and we were there within 10 minutes but all the stages were set up and all the music was already going with many, many people at the site," Wylie said. "It became impossible for us to do anything… because of the safety of those partygoers, many of whom were drunk, many of whom were on drugs, and the safety of the officers attending."
In an earlier statement, Avon and Somerset Police said despite closing off approach routes, officers were still turning cars away on Sunday morning.
Music continued until around 1 p.m. on Sunday, and crews finally cleared the site some three hours later.
"This is just, frankly, selfish actions of individuals who seemed determined to ignore the COVID-19 legislation, and all of the health advice that has been widely publicized," Wylie said. "They have caused significant disruption to the people of Bath and the local area."
People living nearby took to social media to complain throughout Saturday night and into Sunday about the noise and police response.
"Cars and people still turning up to the rave at Charmydown police are just watching them go in," one post from 12:30 a.m. read, as the Daily Mail noted. "Please do something the music has been blasting since midnight!"
"How can it be illegal, condemned by the police and yet… still growing on?" another post read.
Tanya Rich told the Evening Standard she was "bothered by the extreme noise level."
"It got louder from 4 a.m.," Rich explained. "I got woken up at 5. I think the police should have stopped it in the first place. The organizers were clearly not intimidated or worried by the police presence."
Rich continued, "We are still in the midst of a pandemic. It is the thoughtless attitude of people that will make this disease spike again."
Wylie said an investigation would take place to discover who organized the rave, and how.