Over the last 17 years, The Warehouse Project has grown in prowess and stature, with their annual series of events becoming a staple in ravers calendars across the UK and further afield. Their staggering lineups cover every corner of electronic music and bring the world’s brightest stars to their home city of Manchester.
Combine this with the unique industrial setting of the Depot Mayfield and you have a winter raving experience almost unrivalled in the UK. So with the UK all but conquered, WHP set out a mission to expand their footprint and take their coveted party international. To do this, they needed to find a place with the same character and aesthetic of their home in Manchester.
The main venue for WHP’s first international stint was RDM Onderzeebootloods. Previously a wharf used to launch submarines until the 1990s, the space has now been transformed into a multi-purpose venue used for a range of events.
Despite being renovated, the warehouse still features much of its original character, oozing raw and industrial characteristics; perfect for a rave. Catering for up to 5,000 attendees, WHP made use of the venue’s two main rooms, along with an additional area for food/drink stalls and some outdoor space. The site itself was vast and nestled among many other warehouses, it was like walking into a concrete jungle.
Everyone from the security, to door staff and bartenders were all friendly, happy to help with any questions we had and did so with a smile on their face. The majority of those in attendance had travelled from the UK to an area many had never been before, so there needed to be a slick operation in place to avoid any potential incidents and that was exactly the case. Top marks here!
Food & Drink
At the back of the larger indoor room was a space for various food stalls which served up Turksee Pizza, Burgers, Hot Dogs and Fruit. There were two main bars on site, one in each of the rooms along with a separate bar for VIP ticket holders on a balcony which overlooked the dance floor. Bars also sold Alpine earplugs which was a nice touch. Prices were reasonable based on the event and location :
Drink Prices :
Heineken Pils – €3.60 (small), €6.30 (large)
Desperados – €5.40
Apple Bandit Cider – €5.40
Spirit & Mixer – €8.60 (add €5 for a double shot)
Vodka Redbull – €10.40
As mentioned earlier, most of the crowd had made the trip oversees from the UK, with a large proportion being from Manchester and surrounding areas which was no surprise. There were some from other parts of the UK including London, Glasgow and parts of Ireland, as well as a notable amount of Dutch natives on the Saturday especially. Whatever their origin, they all came with the same positive outlook and upbeat energy, partying together as one.
Production & Sound
The former submarine wharf setting was one of the coolest and most scenic locations we’ve seen. With artists performing across two rooms, the production between the two was carefully selected to fit both the aesthetic of the location, but also pay homage to the WHP UK heritage. Across both rooms, the audio and visuals increased as the day progressed, with a full kaleidoscope of production and sound landing for the headline DJs.
Room 1 [Midden Achter] was the larger of the two, with 9x Adamson E15 and 2x Adamson E12 per side, 8x Adamson S10 front fill speakers and 20x Adamson E219 subs. The sound system filled the room, with a nice low end that shook the stage and VIP area floor. With a mixture of house, techno, and breaks played throughout the weekend, the sound system was ready for every genre! Production wise, there was a huge horizontal screen that played trippy visuals and DJ logos, with strobes and lasers too. It would have been nice to see a unique lighting installation, or view of the harbour – something special which we have come to expect from WHP shows at Depot Mayfield.
Room 2 [Oostloods] was our personal favourite, slightly smaller, but felt very much like the Concourse at Depot Mayfield, where ravers can dance round the back of the DJ. The hexagonal and square lighting rig was reminiscent of the Concourse too. The sound system in here matched Room 1 in terms of performance, with a similar set up of with 6x Adamson E15 per side, 8x Adamson S10 front fill speakers and 10x Adamson E219 subs, although we would have like it to be louder earlier on in the day!
Our standout tracks from the weekend
Bicep – Lost In Emotion by DJ Heartstring
Northern Irish duo Bicep delivered an outstanding performance for WHP, playing a mixture of their old melodic masterpieces, unreleased hefty breaks, and more house-influenced sounds. A stand out tune for us was Lost In Emotion by DJ Heartstring, with a euphoric, hands in the air melody!
Mall Grab b2b Effy – Lady by Modjo
Closing out day two was the dream pairing of Mall Grab & Effy, who’s energy and flair behind the decks kept the crowd glued to Room 2. Weaving in and out of genres with ease, this tune came as a surprise to much of the crowd after the previous heavier selections but was met with a huge reaction, leaving the entire room singing in unity. What a moment.
Kerri Chandler – You’re In My System
A legend of the scene, who reminded all in attendance just how talented he still is. Playing a keyboard live alongside his track selections, Kerri brought a whole new dynamic to the event and shifted the pace, transporting us to house heaven. The one particular track we were all eagerly anticipating was of course his iconic remix of “You’re In My System”, which came late in his set but boy was it worth the wait. There wasn’t a soul in that room not singing along.
Kettama b2b Tafkamp – ID
A stunning conclusion to the three day weekend, as Kettama announced a surprise b2b with local legend Tafkamp. Playing a mixture of donk, bassline, techno, trance, breaks, and beyond – the set flew through genres quicker than a teenager goes through Kleenex. This particular tune was standout, with the whole room erupting on the drop! Check out how busy Room 2 was for this set.
Overall, we had a fantastic weekend partying in the lesser known of the Dams. With great access and shuttles, an exciting line up, and excellent staff/security, we were thoroughly impressed by WHP’s first overseas event. The crowd was also on point all weekend, we didn’t see or experience any trouble at all. While we would have liked to have seen some more unique lighting and production, the event as a whole was still one to remember. You will definitely see us at the next one.
Words: Ben Lovejoy & Eliot Harris
Images: Sophia Carey & Annika Wallis