During my time at the University of Manchester, I was introduced to one of the best venues in the world known for their number of fantastic artists that play there, as well as their seasonal attitude towards it: The Warehouse Project.
Originally starting up in Boddington’s Brewery, it was then relocated to underneath the main train station, Manchester Piccadilly Railway station, which was where I first ventured to the venue and fell in love with the place. With its brick archways, neon signs and intimate venue size, it felt like myself and all the fans I was surrounded by, were sharing this moment together with the artist, raving underneath the city centre. It felt like we were hidden away from the hustle and bustle of city life, but as one, we had all become, a part of the city itself. In this year, 2011, I saw greats such as Benga, Breakage, Rusko and Andy C– who were part of Fabric Live night and on another night, Skrillex: the artist who managed to merge skankers, dreaded hippies and metal heads all under one roof.
This location then changed in 2012 and 2013, when I had my two final years of University, to Victoria Warehouse, a massive warehouse near the Old Trafford Stadium. This flux in size and mass meant that the restricted intimate feel I had before at the other venue was obliterated. Despite tickets still selling out like hotcakes, the rooms in the warehouse were created to house people, making this venue that once was an emotional journey for all and an immersive experience, a cold and impassive place. Now WHP has become mainstream, students go to the night as if it is a club, rather than a venue with artists. Everyone around me was talking about “going warehouse”, not to appreciate the great artists who played, but rather to get “mashed.” I understand that WHP coordinate their schedule with the student calendar, but surely the creators would want true fans there rather than a casualty waiting to happen? (They have had a fair few in the past.) Despite my negative view on the new venue, I still managed to enjoy myself there going to see various nights with headliners such as; Julio Bashmore, Rudimental, Annie Mac, Hospitality Night (Load star, Netsky, Camo and Krooked, Andy C, Wilkinson to name a few), Fat Boy Slim (who didn’t play any of his old classics much to our disappointment), Sbtrkt, Chibuku (Nero, Boys Noize, Jaguar Skills, Mistajam, Northbase). As you can see, despite my thoughts on the venue, the final two years, I still managed to go seven times, bumping up my total visits to WHP as 9 times in 3 years.
This year, the creators of the venue have moved WHP back to where it belongs, on Store Street underneath the railway station, meaning capacity is half the size of Victoria Warehouse and I am sure, popularity has risen because of this. As much as I love the artists that play every year, I feel that I have been to WHP enough times and I am bored of the wide eyed youngsters that surround me who cannot control their limbs or are not interested in the music that is playing. But, the original WHP to me, may you rest in peace. And with both venues, I will forever treasure the memories we shared.