Why WHP has lost its charm

The notorious rave isn’t what it used to be, says Nicola Regner.


We’ve all heard the ambiguous whispers around town a few years ago…a rave in a car park under a railway station. A venue in the heart of the city that would swallow up thousands of people every weekend, feeding them the rave they needed. That was Store Street, the Warehouse Project’s second residence which really kicked off the night’s big name. Today, that ‘big name’ seems to be all that’s left.

Here are four reasons why WHP has lost its charm.

Same old lineups

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The Warehouse Project began with a promise. In the words of founder Sam Kandel: “the idea was that we found this unusual space, do some really interesting shows, and then disappear”. Sure, the shows were interesting to begin with, but as the years go by we can’t help but notice the repetition. The same old lineups in mildly different constellations are making it hard for us to choose from a selection of events we’ve probably already attended.

PMA Scandal

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It had to be mentioned. This year the WHP was off to a rough start. The circulation of PMA, a fatal drug frequently sold as MDMA, led to the tragic death of 30-year-old Nick Bonnie on September 27th. Only one week later a 32-year-old woman was put in a medically induced coma after taking drugs at the venue. That’s not to say that we can blame the WHP itself. Drug scandals can happen at any club of this dimension. It just so happens that the Warehouse is one of the largest rave meccas in the North West, attracting most of the attention. The organizers responded with all the right measures sending out warning messages and strictly enforcing security on site, which unfortunately leads us to our third complaint on the list…

The endless queue

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These days it takes an average of 2 hours waiting in the cold and a whole lot of commitment to attend a Warehouse night. The good news is that a bit of persistence and a precious ticket will pretty much guarantee entrance. Let’s hold our horses as long as the WHP doesn’t resort to Berghain’s (Berlin) radical strategy for retaining its alternative vibe: hiring a short yet terrifying bouncer with a face tattoo to shamelessly to turn you down on the door because, ‘you’re not the right kind of person’.

The golden ticket

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Can you afford a WHP ticket? No, neither can I. The prices have skyrocketed since the move: new year’s tickets are flying out at nearly £45.  Even worse, you can’t even get your hands on a ticket. In 2012 WHP moved to the Victoria Warehouse, doubling its capacity to 6000. The last thing anyone was expecting was for its mega shows to sell out. Nineties hero Fatboy Slim was first to hit that target: his show on December 14th 2012 had sold out by the end of August.  Dropping the hint that we needed to act fast if we wanted to get our hands on one of those golden tickets.

A word of warning to all committed Warehouse groupies: if you were a keen bean and managed to secure a precious ticket in summer, then make the best of it. Last week the Warehouse announced that they will no longer be running weekly shows in 2014, instead hosting only ‘a handful of special events’. The WHP will return the following year just in time to celebrate their 10-year anniversary. Let’s just hope they plan to use this break to restore the original vibe that made us love it in the first place.