Last weekend we had the pleasure of discovering one of the UK’s locally loved raves; Penda. Taking place on Saturday 5th November, saw an all day party from 2pm all the way past midnight.
For those who don’t know, Penda are a grassroots event brand, focused on transforming unique spaces in and around Birmingham, with a music policy championing the niche shades of minimal, breaks and electronica.
Running since 2016, the underground brand has kept a fairly low key presence outside of the city but have garnered a cult like following, with many people we met having been to their previous shows. Almost everyone in the crowd knew each other, feeling like an extended family party coming together with one common interest; no nonsense raving.
The venues Penda choose are carefully considered, opting for repurposing spaces which they can put their own stamp on, rather than ready made purpose-built clubs. For instance, the event we attended took place at an arts centre called 7SVN, located in the heart of Digbeth’s creative quarter. The multi-purpose warehouse offered a blank canvas for Penda to curate an intimate vibe, doused in moody lighting and pack-a-punch sound.
Helmed by Carly & Nat, between the pair comes a wealth of experience and expertise to help execute their locally famed parties. Carly manages a club in Birmingham, whilst Nat runs a stage production firm. Both roles feed directly into crafting the unique Penda experience.
The setup they built at 7VSN was simple but effective. A single projector at the back of the space soaked the room with colour and displayed trippy visuals behind the decks. Meanwhile 4 Martin Audio PA speakers in each corner provided warm, crisp sound throughout.
The soundtrack to the day came from Penda’s very own tight-knit team of residents, many of whom play strictly vinyl; something which is rarely seen these days. It was clear from this that one of Penda’s core principles was sound quality and authenticity, true analogue audiophiles armed with 1210s and a Xone:92.
As for the DJs performances, each selector brought their own flavour, with the tempo progressing steadily throughout the day and meticulously building the energy. We heard a multitude of genres, from stripped-back 4×4 house to spine-tingling breaks and bouncing garage. However, one thing was consistent throughout, the atmosphere in the room.
Penda are a prime example of the unsung heroes dotted around the UK who have created something special on a local level. A safe space for ravers to unite on a regular basis and enjoy underground music in interesting venues, with a ticket price which doesn’t break the bank. Don’t just take our word for it, check out one of their next shows and get the Penda experience first hand.
Words: Ben Lovejoy