You don't need a team of social scientists to inform you about the seismic role Manchester has played within pop counter-culture. Whether it's blokes in parka jackets reminiscing the Haçienda days or da kids (still) raving on about (and at) Sankeys, Bugged Out! or the occasional Electric Chair event, Manchester's club scene is rightly regarded as one of the world's most heritable, cooking on gas and frying minds in the process — especially today. Still, it wouldn't be the colossal clubbing beast it is now were it not for Warehouse Project, arguably the most esteemed warehouse party purveyor currently on the planet.
Starting out as a 12-week season at Boddingtons Brewery in 2006, Warehouse Project continued to re-write Manchester's clubbing history during its five-year lifetime at a car park underneath Piccadilly Station, bringing a box-ticking selection of on-point promoters every weekend for a four-month period at a time. Always intended to be a nomadic series of events, it signed off at said venue, Store Street, with an off-the-scale event on New Year's Day, leaving its loyal followers champing at the bit for news about its next destination. Then, after much speculation, on Easter weekend the new venue was unveiled at two massive one-off events, showcasing a gigantic three-room ex-storage facility located in a concrete wasteland a few minutes drive from the city centre, next to a canal, overlooking Old Trafford stadium.
“From the moment we first laid eyes on the space, we knew it was right,” Warehouse Project co-founder Kirsty Smith tells DJ Mag. “It has lots of character and feels like it shouldn't be a rave space — naughty almost. Somewhere in between Boddingtons and Store Street.”
While retaining some of the original features of its derelict location — the entrance still looks and feels a little like an industrial scrapyard — once inside, a series of darkened, luminously hued archways mark out the venue's spine, leading to two dancefloors lined by bars (Rooms Two and Three), as dusty and booming as you'd expect from a Warehouse Project location. With Room Two tucked away at the far end — a simmering party vibe that's basically a smaller, sweatier, more snug version of Store Street's main room — Room One is most impressive. Positioned behind the other two, the full extent of its gargantuan scale is something to be fully comprehended only once inside, through a doorway which opens wide and tall enough to rival any rave fortress we've ever set eyes on.
“It offers flexibility, so we can do more with our shows. The events in this space are a mix of a Warehouse Project rave and a festival,” adds Kirsty. “We've also always wanted lasers for a long time, but have been restricted due to the types of spaces we've used. The new venue has the height — the lasers are strong, there's lots of them and they completely make the main room.”
Judging by the enormity of the venue and the size of the freshly announced line-up for the next season (READ HERE), due to launch this September, it's without doubt destined to be HUGE!