As Ibiza and festival season draws to a close, another season starts deep in the north of England, one that attracts thousands of people to an unlikely venue throughout the cold and dark British winter. Hidden away underneath Manchester’s Piccadilly station lies an old car park. The painted parking spots are still in place, the Victorian arched ceilings lie low overhead, and nearly every weekend between September and January the space throbs to the rhythm of some of the most respected names in dance music. This is the Warehouse Project, and for 2015, it’s bigger and more respected than ever before.
The Warehouse Project is a relative newcomer to the scene, but it is both Manchester and dance music epitomised. Combining the core values of the late ‘80s/early ‘90s rave scene with the clubbing culture that was arguably birthed in the city at the fabled Haçienda, the guys behind WHP pride themselves on making this more about the experience rather than the names on the lineup. We headed over on the first weekend of the season and it was easy to see why this is a brand that is respected across the entire dance music scene.
You instantly sense something different upon entering the Store Street venue through an unassuming archway in the middle of a Manchester road tunnel. Bass slams into the very core of your soul, the atmosphere drips with sweat and energy–this little corner of Manchester must break temperature records for England in the winter–and most crucially, there’s no focus of attention on anything other than the music. On the opening weekend the cream of house music took to the “stage,” but whereas the guys we grooved to are indeed worth seeing on their own merits, they were never deified or treated as a stage show–these DJs had the rare treat of letting their music do the talking.
From house veterans MK and Groove Armada, to Seth Troxler, Heidi, and The Martinez Brothers, there was plenty of talent on show, but very little “show.” The Warehouse Project is all about enjoying good music, with the names who feature getting booked based on their musical prowess rather than their ability to land on DJ Mag’s Top 100 list. It’s worth noting though that the WHP isn’t built on snobbery–these guys are simply trying to return to the core values that the rave scene grew up on, and it’s something they’ve managed to do flawlessly well.
The remainder of the season features a mind-blowing array of DJs, with acts as diverse as New Order, Dusky, Leftfield, Skrillex, Maceo Plex, Oliver Heldens, Adam Beyer, and more. Tickets are on sale now, but as you might expect, some of the events are already sold out.