The Warehouse Project: Bleeding Manchester Dry
Without a doubt, The Warehouse Project has become a super-club in every sense: boasting a 6000-person capacity, booking the worlds best DJs from all genres, and attracting ravers from all over Europe. After its inception in 2008, it has grown and grown, moving from Boddingtons to Store Street before reaching its current home Victoria Warehouse. It has constantly reinvented itself when other clubs became stagnant and dated.
As WHP has grown, revenue has increased to astronomical levels. This season they have sold out more than two-thirds of their events at an average ticket price of £25, which added to lucrative sponsorship deals from Kopparberg, Coors Light and Boxfresh. Sadly, these big bucks mean that The Warehouse Project is pricing competition out of the market in Manchester. Many promoters have attempted to put on nights during the WHP season and have been told time and time again by agents that the artists whom they are attempting to book are unavailable due to WHP. Why is this? Because The Warehouse Project is making so much money that they can afford to pay off artists to enter into exclusivity contracts, which state that they can play for WHP and WHP only between the end of September and the start of January.
A lot of people might say “so what?”—and with reason. WHP offers everything you want from a venue, diversity in music, underground and upcoming producers and DJs, insane lighting, and even better sound. But then again, who can pay £25 on the regular to go? What happened to going out to a cheap club every week to see a headliner? Now, if you want to have a good night in Manchester between September and January you have to fork up £25 to see the same artist on a stacked line-up where most of your money is being spent on DJs you won’t even see.
Having a strong music scene across the city is vital and at the rate promoters are currently leaving Manchester, there won’t be a scene at all besides the sweat pit that is Victoria Warehouse. Instead of twisting their music ethos to comply with WHP, long running Mancunian nights such as Selective Hearing and Hit & Run are gradually migrating to nearby Liverpool and Leeds in order to secure the artists they are looking to book. The scenes in these neighbouring cities have never had it so good, with clubbers from Manchester often opting to travel rather than pay the extortionate entrance fees. Rumour has it, former #1 club in the world, Sankeys, is re-opening its doors after having packed up and moved to Ibiza. They plan to refurbish the club to how it was when Sankeys, and not WHP, was the Mancunian club on everybody’s lips. Truth be told it can’t happen soon enough. As good as The Warehouse Project is, too much of a good thing is unhealthy and Manchester’s nightlife is certainly in an unhealthy state at the moment.