The Warehouse Project is never far from the minds of Manchester ravers. Running from September to New Year’s Day ever year, it transforms Manchester into the home of underground electronic dance music for the autumn and winter months and it’s always with a huge sense of sadness that we bid goodbye to it at the dawn of the New Year.
Luckily, the wait for the new season was made a bit easier this year by the announcement of two one-off events in July at an entirely new venue – Mayfield Depot. A disused train depot just round the corner from the event’s usual home of Store Street, the organisers had attempted to make Mayfield Depot the new permanent home for WHP, but unfortunately plans were rejected in favour of the site’s redevelopment. The two nights that were held in collaboration with Manchester Internation Festival included a live performance from Four Tet on the Friday and a mammoth lineup featuring the likes of Carl Craig & Mike Banks, Joy Orbison, Paranoid London, Octave One, Illum Sphere and more for a day & night party on the Saturday, one that I was very lucky to attend.
It was instantly clear when entering the venue that it was something special. Room 1 was vast. Surrounding pillars and old graffiti were complemented by smoke machines to heighten the decadent and surreal vibe of the room with Room 2 being similar to its counterpart at Store Street; its more compact nature amplifying the already beastly sound-system into a sublime aural assault. Both of these rooms expertly captured the spirit of Warehouse Project: raving in an abandoned industrial setting, and it felt right at home.
Personal highlights of the night included huge sets from Space Dimension Controller, Maurice Faulton, Paranoid London and of course a thumping techno session from Carl Craig & Mike Banks. With one criticism of Store Street being that it can sometimes get too packed – the amount of people in Mayfield Depot was nigh on perfect. With capacity restricted at 1800, there was enough of a crowd to maintain a buzzing atmosphere but more than enough space to dance; just what you want.
Leaving at 2am caused bittersweet emotions. It’s a massive shame that WHP couldn’t quite secure a permanent license for Mayfield Depot, but it truly felt like a special event considering that it was the one and only chance to see the site in action. However, it is testament to Manchester’s incredible music scene that the fall-back option is the legendary Store Street. Roll-on September.
The lineup for the #WHP15 season has now been announced with pre-sale tickets already on sale. Tickets go on general sale tomorrow at 9am. For more details, visit thewarehouseproject.com.