Nights out at The Warehouse Project have always cultivated that raw and temporary, here today, gone tomorrow feel of the free party scene.
From its first proper home at Boddington’s brewery to Store Street – an old air-raid shelter turned carpark underneath Piccadilly station – spaces with a raw aesthetic have always been the name of the game here.
So for the iconic Manchester party series to be moving into an old train station on the outskirts of the city centre which has been left abandoned for 30 years makes perfect sense.
Versatile, cavernous and industrial to the hilt, the historic Mayfield Depot recently became the beneficiary of a massive £1 billion investment and has been rebranded as ‘Depot’ – a 10,000 capacity cultural venue and creative hub.
But for the next three months, as of this Friday, it’ll be playing home to an eclectic run of Warehouse Project shows featuring everyone from Skream to Aphex Twin, Patrick Topping and Skepta, attracting ravers of all musical persuasions.
There’ll even be a dedicated Hacienda Classical night for the old guard to get down to.
Plans for the space include art installations by local talents and striking visual projections, with a few street food operators on hand for when you need an energy boost.
We went down ahead of this weekend’s opening to get a sneak peek and find out what’s in store for Manchester’s ravers at Warehouse Project this season.
With room for thousands of ravers to dance together under the same roof, the main stage is, to put it simply, epic.
At the core of the new Depot venue, lasers will slice all the way across the central 17,500 sq foot warehouse space this weekend as WHP unveils the light tricks they’ve got up their sleeves for 2019.
We’re told each headline artist will be bringing their own light and visual production teams with them. For the opening weekend, both Aphex Twin and Disclosure’s sets are set to be something very special indeed.
And halfway to the back of the room, a viewing platform is being installed for disabled visitors. No repeats of Pride Live here.
Next door is the equally sizeable Concourse which will act as WHP’s room two.
Fitted with multi-level platforms, it’s reminiscent of Fabric in London. A sunken DJ booth promises ravers an immersive experience and will ensure everyone can see what’s going on no matter how vertically challenged they are.
The Concourse also features a VIP viewing platform.
The third and final stage and can be found at the far end of the Depot in its own dedicated archway.
Called The Archive in a nod to how visually similar it looks to the old main stage at Store Street, there’s a sense of nostalgia here.
Everything is on a smaller scale, the space included. But this is more than made up for by an upgraded speaker system and lighting rigs which tower above you.
The Chill Space
Last but not least, next door to The Archive is a new dedicated chill space.
WHP will be working with sponsors like Red Bull and Size? to kit this out with activations, and there’s also a bar running the length of the room – great for when you need a break from the madness.
Anyone looking to get some fresh air or have a smoke will have full use of the outdoor garden at Mayfield Gatehouse. Already popular with street food fans heading to GRUB, plenty of cover and seating offer an unparalleled experience. The days of queueing one in, one out to have a cig are – we hope – now behind us.
WHP19’s season kicks off on Friday 20th September with a night curated by Aphex Twin. It will be the first time Richard D. James has played in Manchester since 2011. For details of the full calendar line-up this season, click here.