How The Warehouse Project became the epitome of UK clubbing
Nothing compares to it
Far from the world of carnage t-shirts and Belvedere bottled tables is the Warehouse Project, a homage to the Madchester days where the rave scene was better than any other place on earth.
It was the rebellion of the 90s in full force. America had grunge, we had the rave scene. Thousands of sweaty people wishing away their weekend in an endless centre of techno. The message – peace, love and piss ups, with warehouse culture at the forefront of it.
Come the 21st century and the Warehouse Project hits. A place that’s not a throwback, but a look into the future. This is Madchester round two – the Mecca of mindlessness, and Warehouse has solidified this into the annals of history.
So far this season they’ve already had just under 50,000 through their doors. Friends from as far as Plymouth, Edinburgh or Newcastle clamber for tickets for months in advance – it’s the best school reunion you could dream of.
It’s all well and good to wear your Ellese jumpers, take pills and talk about the 90s like you knew it well – but WHP is the closest we’re ever going to get to it, and that’s why we love it.
The men behind WHP, Sam Kandel and Sacha Lord-Marchionne, met in 2000 outside Sam’s mum’s house: two young boys with plans to take the UK dance scene by storm. Before WHP, there was Sankeys and these two were behind it. After feeling they’d exhausted all possibilities with this, they held their first warehouse party at Boddington’s brewery, not far from Strangeways prison in Manchester.
Word from their original photographer Seb Matthews, claims he moved to Manchester before their first event where Public Enemy were playing. When you think of usual opening club nights, you think of an ameteur DJ, most likely friends with the hosts. These two booked one of the largest hip hop groups in the world, all the way from the US.
Even besides this, Seb has also said in the past: “My favourite moments have been seeing the really young artists play the back rooms, giving it everything, and then watching them grow over the years.”
You know you’re part of something special every time you step into the current venue and the founder’s favourite, Store Street (which, by the way, was originally an air raid shelter used in the war). That’s quite special.
Sacha (co-founder) said: “3,000 people every Friday and Saturday for three months. What happened? We were just two kids from Cheshire, probably expected to become doctors or accountants, but no, all of a sudden, we were running the biggest dance events in the country.”
On a side note, they also run Parklife festival, Hideout festival, Unknown festival, and Kendal Calling. Two boys with big ambition, and the WHP is the result.
The diverse line up
Part of what makes Warehouse so effective is the lack of fear it has in booking a variety of acts put together in one single night. This year, Skepta shared the stage with Run the jewels – two polar ends of the urban hip hop spectrum. A grassroots hip hop duo followed by a grime icon, when does that happen? Or Joey bada$$ following David Rodigan and JME.
The connection between the US and UK just goes to show the innovation behind the nights ethos. There’s no discrimination. If the crowd want it, they’ll get it. No matter what night you go, you’re bound to enjoy at least something. The founding duo are in touch with what young people want, and it shows every year. They created their dream venue.
WHP have the power to book whoever they see fit. With last year’s A$AP MOB appearance, teamed with names such as James Blake on the alternative side and pioneers of dance music Chase and Status on the other -there’s nothing these two can’t make happen, and no one they can’t book.
You don’t need to be on it to enjoy it
Warehouse is a place you’ll never feel you have to drink your way through the night . If you embrace the chaos, you’re in for a wild one.
Speaking to others who have in fact gone sober the whole night, they claim they’ve had better times doing so than when they’ve been twisted. If you’re finding it hard to find the effort to go and enjoy it, it’s probably not for you. But then again, going out is probably not your vibe if that’s the case. The energy of warehouse alone is enough to keep you up, without having to break the bank at the bar.
Along with this, Sam Kendal (co founder) has stated in the past; “I think everybody appreciates the spirit of our message, which is that when you go out, please be responsible.” The duo have even enforced on the spot testing of drugs at the amnesty bins, whereby if any drug put into the bin contains seriously dangerous chemicals, clubbers will be warned of the possibility of this circulating within the venue.
What makes warehouse so satisfying is the fact you’re most likely seeing someone you would never have the chance to see live. TROPICAL was full of wide eyed grime heads all aching to get to the front for a glimpse at their messiah. Along with this, If people have the chance to see A$AP Rocky live without extortionate pricing and a day of travel, getting off your face is not going to be the priority. It may enhance it, but the point of Warehouse is not just for that.. Its being part of something much bigger. It’s a night you can’t forget, if anything else, just for the sheer size of it. Pissed or sober, it promises an experience you can’t get elsewhere.
It’s a national treasure
It’s not just for Manchester students – people from across the country travel for their nights. It’s about the one place where everybody doesn’t know everybody. The fact people flock so far must tell you something. It’s about the only place besides London people travel cross country to for a good night – and it’s better than London. With the popularity of Northern unis, why wouldn’t you flock to Warehouse?
Where else in the country will you find such an amazing venue? Store Street is great for it’s sheer capacity, the sky-high ceilings and brick walls set the place apart from other venues. The stage rooms are busy, but there’s always enough space to take a breather at the back or even perch on the floor in between rooms. Where else can you sit on the floor in a club? And it goes without saying that the light shows are mesmerizing.
The location is perfect – you get the excitement of going somewhere that isn’t slap bang in the middle of town, but it’s close enough to get a bus there. It’s the only place where you can feel as if you’re really immersed in what 90s Manchester used to be like. It’s controlled, out of the way of the hustle and bustle of Piccadilly, but close enough to get some chips after. If you cant get chips out – there’s a food van in the smoking area – just to add the cherry on top.
It may be expensive but you know you’ll pay it
The one downside to Warehouse is the festival style prices. Ticket prices rise each year, but they also sell out faster each time. A Warehouse night is never cheap, but it’s always worth it.
Manchester grad Daisy remembers paying £50 for a ticket in her first year: “It was the day of the Joy Orbison night and tickets had sold out ages ago. All my friends were going and I had major fomo. Someone in Oak House was selling their ticket, so I decided to bite the bullet and fork out the cash because I knew I’d have a good night. And I did. Three years on and I still remember that night so well, money well spent.”
In a previous article on Warehouse we found Caz, who claimed she’d payed 135 for two tickets and claimed she’d: “spend triple more on this line up”.
It’s obvious there’s something worth seeing if someone’s jeopardising a nearly a tenth of their loan to go.
Drinks aren’t cheap either – but they’re better quality. All the spirits are branded – no basics rum teamed with a charge of four quid. What would you rather, a poorly mixed rum and coke that tastes like cough syrup, or a well mixed vodka lemonade for an extra quid or two. As well as that, free water is given out at the end of most bars throughout the night. And there’s loads of bars. No queuing for an hour to load up on six drinks you know you wont drink before you get kicked out half an hour later. Warehouse is smooth sailing. As long as you plan in advance money wise, you’re in for a stress-free night of classy beverages. The entrance even has a bar beside it where you can buy sweets. Get your lady some haribo for the taxi ride back. All your needs met in one venue.
It always sells out
Every year, tickets sell out faster and faster because everyone wants to go. This year, they sold out over half their tickets on their first day of release.
It’s effortless, effective style
The main reason Warehouse does so well is it’s lack of cringe. There’s no bullshit, it is what it is. It makes itself the superior without even trying.
Sacha, one of the founders said: “Warehouse Project was exactly as it says – a project – almost an experiment”.
The reason it’s only on from September until the early hours of January is to maintain it’s magic. If it ran all year it’d lose the sacred novelty it’s always had. Its an event, not a club. It’s something that you pre-book months in advance, without knowing your schedule, just to secure yourself a shot at witnessing it.
There’s no “COME DOWN ON WEDNESDAY FOR STREETS, GRIME AND LIFE!!!” or constant notifications about how “you don’t want to miss out” – it speaks for itself.
It teases you, letting you know it’s coming. All you need to see is this:
and you know what’s in store for Store street.
With powerful statements like”This city is ours”, how can you not be sucked into its mystique?
You hate that you love it, and you tell all your mates how sick it is and they hate that you know how sick it is.
It’s Warehouse, it’s original and it accepts no substitutes or slip ups.