If you’ve been to a Halloween party in Vegas in the past few years, Chad Craig and AWOL Productions may have had something to do with the décor. Or perhaps you’ve attended Devil’s Night, which has been running for 14 years. But Craig and AWOL are more than just Halloween. The underground rave scene of the late 1990s flourished thanks to Craig and an old warehouse down by the train tracks—better known to legions of UFO pants-wearing teens as the Cande Factore. Weekly events exposed the under-21 set to the scene filled with Peace, Love, Unity and, most of all, Respect for the events and one another.
The Cande Factore was basically a place where we did all kinds of events from punk rock shows to little art conventions and raves. It mostly got known for raves and parties as it was the right time and right place, when things were really blowing up between the era of 1997 to 2000. It was the go-to spot for underground stuff in Vegas, and there wasn’t anything else like it.
I think the whole start of the Cande Factore was not necessarily an alternative to Utopia, but I worked a lot at Utopia around ’96-’97 doing props and stuff like that, and the whole Cande Factore was kind of our way of providing the same kind of music to people who were underage. That was our whole goal.
Back then it was such a different scene. Our very first night we had The Crystal Method spin there … Monkey Biz [was my favorite event at the Cande Factore]. We had Chris Liberator, Julian Liberator, DDR—at the time there was something called London Acid Techno. Up until that point it was all West Coast DJs, all trance and progressive house and it all sounded the same. That was the first night we had an international lineup, the craziest sound of music ever, and it was probably one of our biggest parties down there. Close to 2,000 people. It was called Monkey Biz, and we made a whole bunch of those Barrel of Monkey characters and hung them from the rafters. We had a giant 12-foot-tall foil monkey that sat over the DJ booth.
I think people now are so out of touch with where the scene began that it’s kind of just a lost era. There was a time where it was a community, it was respectful and people gave a shit. I would like to remind them and say it paved the way for the parties they have now because there was a time where the scene came together and fought politically for the rights to do events, including me going to jail three times and being under constant police harassment. I just wish more people did know about it. There was a time where people respected what people actually put out and what it takes from a promoter’s side to put their ass on the line for these events.”