From a 150-capacity venue above a pub in Newcastle called Red Rooms to Room Three at Fabric, Jaunt> has come a long way over the past six years. Shaped by the underground Newcastle nights that came before it — the likes of Shindig, Wax On, Habit and Error — the night was originally conceived to cater for the DJs that weren't getting booked in the city, while providing an outlet for a crew of clued-up students “who would take up a large chunk of any dancefloor,” says Chris Blackhall, the man who suggested a party in the first place.
“The fundamentals were there for us to start our own party and warm up for artists we were into at the time,” adds Chris Bookless, his partner in crime. “Blackhall initially came up with the idea of starting a party and soon after there was six of us throwing ideas about. We really wanted to come up with a name that had a meaning and Chad eventually came up with Jaunt>, meaning pleasurable journey.”
The night has since stopped off at various venues in its hometown, including Cosmic Ballroom, Digital, Legends and various secret loft spaces and unit storage facilities in and around “tha toon”, as well as hosting stages at festivals in Croatia and the UK, including Zoo Project Festival, and the now fabled workers' parties at Savannah in Ibiza.
“[They] really helped build the brand, more often than not they were one in one out and people still talk about them now, mainly because we were the last of the busy events there. Definitely a venue we won’t forget,” says Blackhall.
With loyalties now split between the capital and Tyneside, the club night led by Blackhall and Bookless, and their gang of merry Geordies, is as unpretentious as they come despite proffering a music policy preserved by high-end values. The likes of Marcel Dettmann, Move D and DJ W!LD have all played in Newcastle in the past six months alone and, while Cosmic Ballroom remains the club night's spiritual home, they've firmly established the brand in London, finding a comfortable little spot at Basing House.
“It's our home down here now,” says Bookless. “The venue is ideal for the artists we want to book; 300 capacity and a great Funktion 1 soundsystem, so it’s a perfect space for us to showcase who we want to get on.”
Finding it tricky to compete with the many massive club brands in London already booking the sorts of big name underground acts they're used to bringing to the north, the Basing House parties are used to show an alternative side to Jaunt>, bringing more niche DJ acts such as Virginia, Christopher Rau and Moomin to a switched-on London crowd. “It is a lot harder to sort bigger bookings in London as a lot of artists are tied up with other promoters, but this just makes you dig deeper and hunt harder for more underground bookings, which we really enjoy,” says Blackhall.
After bagging Mark Farina to play a six-hour Mushroom Jazz set at Basing House last month, Octave One played a rare intimate live set there on 9th November and Dixon plays at Cosmic Ballroom on 6th December as part of two parties that'll not only commemorate six years of Jaunt>, but ensure its joyful journey continues.
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