Last year was, at best, a mixed bag for London club culture. The capital lost yet more renowned venues in Dance Tunnel, Passing Clouds and Studio 338, and very nearly waved goodbye to the jewel in its crown, Fabric.
Some respite was offered through that institution being saved and small new ventures such as The Bridge, but on the whole, we’re hoping 2017 will be a decidedly more positive year. What better way to kick things off then, than the launch of brand new mega-venue, Printworks London?
DJ Koze, Motor City Drum Ensemble and Jeremy Underground are set to headline The Hydra's new party at soon-to-open London venue, Printworks, on Saturday, 22nd April.
They'll be joined by Rush Hour boss Antal on the night, making this the second time The Hydra has taken over the London venue.
If you can't wait until April, you can join The Hydra on 4th March, when Daphni and Floating Points are both set to spin in the repurposed printing factory.
One of the most exciting things about clubland in 2016 is its ongoing state of flux; music, fashion and trends are constantly shifting. And for every famous clubbing institution – like Space Ibiza or London’s Ministry of Sound – there are dozens of new venues popping up, trying something new and helping to drive the scene forward. Like the three, alternative, new venues below...
PRINTWORKS, LONDON (UK)
What a week for London culture! Following the news that Fabric will reopen, it has been announced that a new 5000-capacity venue will open in the capital early next year.
Named Printworks London, the multi-room, multi-purpose "experimental" space is housed in a disused industrial printing press in the docklands area — fans of Secret Cinema will recognise it from the Star Wars and 28 Days Later editions.
Location: London, UK
Launched in 2017, the former newspaper-printing factory Printworks has fast become one of the UK’s best-loved large-capacity music venues. The expansive southeast London warehouse space is best known for its main room, Press Halls, where remnants of the original printing equipment are still visible, and exposed rafters and balconies look down onto a lengthy dancefloor. There’s a labyrinth of space to explore too, with an array of food stalls and bars across the venue. The Press Halls’ stage area and DJ booth are backed by a high-reaching LED screen that can be used for bespoke lighting and visuals. Even more developments with the lighting and production have been made since last year to enhance the Printworks experience even further now events can return. This season Printworks will also reveal a brand new space within the venue, which will allow an expansion in musical programming.
Since its inception, Printworks has hosted a diverse range of concepts, artist takeovers, live performances and club nights, from Aphex Twin live, to regular Defected and Glitterbox soirées, Tale Of Us presents Afterlife, longstanding London party The Hydra, and the in-house Printworks Presents. Promotions change every season, and now that things can move forward again from September, Printworks has been working on its biggest line-ups to date: alongside regular partners the venue will reveal some new collaborations, presenting big headliners and plenty of emerging talent.
Location: London, England
Printworks rose amongst the post-modern ruins of East London’s disused docks and closed factories, transforming what was once Western Europe’s largest printing factory into one of the country’s most impressive club spaces.
Set across 12 acres of land, Printworks is a huge venue; essentially it’s like partying in several interlinked warehouses. Once inside you find yourself in a raw, industrial, almost-dystopian setting, but one that’s packed to the super-high rafters with ultra-futuristic production, including dbnAudile sound, Kinesys lighting, and a truly massive custom-built LED screen with visual design from Rebel Overlay.
The Press Halls main room is long, a couple of stories high, with balconies along both sides and a soundsystem trained so perfectly on the dancefloor that a decent conversation is perfectly achievable just a couple of feet away. Some of the original imposing printing machinery has been left in place, giving Printworks something of a party-on-a-spaceship feel. The DJ booth is high up at the end of the room in front of the genuinely impressive LED wall, which works in tandem with the lighting array to cover the entire room in sheets of strobing colour. The view from the balcony of a packed Printworks main room at peak-time is a sight you won’t forget in a hurry.
Aside from the famous Press Halls space, there’s the aptly named, low-ceilinged Dark Room, which serves as a perfect vibey contrast to the scale and sheer mega-ness of the main room. The huge bar area that runs alongside the Press Halls can function as a live room, with the modular bar setup switching to the club space. There’s also a dedicated cocktail bar (Control Room), and a big outside food courtyard.
Over the past year, Printworks has hosted an impressive amount of quality electronic music parties and club-nights, including Klockworks, Eskimo Dance, Gou Talk, The Hydra, Sunday Service, BuggedOut!, Metalheadz and Glitterbox. And has given Londoners the chance to catch a wide range of world-class DJs, such as Seth Troxler, Moodymann, Gerd Janson, London Elektricity, Amelie Lens, Kenny Dope, Helena Hauff, Jeff Mills and Denis Sulta. Printworks also has put its particular acoustic charms to good use on some acclaimed live music shows in the last 12 months, including Floating Points, Aphex Twin and Skepta.
It’s been a busy year for Printworks, as production was upgraded across the entire venue, including installing the aforementioned 12x4-metre LED screen, as well as a bespoke ‘blinder’ light so bright it is capable of illuminating the entire main room. The space also gained over 180 metres of Sceptron LED strips to the Kinesys lighting rig, installed custom stage structures including isolated sections to allow for faultless use of vinyl, and updated its DJ equipment and P.A. too, giving you even more reasons to pay a visit to one of the UK’s most exciting venues.
The line-up for The Hydra’s massive three-day weekender at London’s Printworks has dropped, and boy is it a doozie.
Taking place over August Bank Holiday weekend, from 23rd - 25th August 2019, the weekend will feature some of the most historic and important figures in techno and house, along with plenty of other musical offerings.
Location: London, UK
Capacity: 3,000 – 5,000
Once known for being the largest printing facility in Western Europe for publications like the Metro and Evening Standard, these days Printworks is famed for being at the forefront of London’s daytime clubbing scene.
It’s a breathtaking sight from the minute you walk in; a far-reaching industrial warehouse expanse with much of the original machinery still illuminated. A revamp from printers into venue inspired the transformation of the now iconic and endlessly cavernous Press Halls, with far-reaching Kinesys lighting system that floods the dancefloor, and vast stacks (over 40 units to be precise) of D&B Audiotechnik speakers. In September they introduced a new 12-metre LED screen, which has allowed VJs to push new visual concepts alongside the main room acts. Plus, the bar which runs adjacent to the main room now doubles up as a huge venue for live acts (the drinks vendors switching sides to the main club room).
Then there’s the low-slung ceiling of the Dark Room, equipped with a Funktion-One soundsystem. Last year, they also introduced a third room — the Control Room — complete with cocktail bar, additional seating and a stage for intimate live gigs. Extended opening hours mean that the venue can now run until 2am as opposed to their initial 11pm curfew too. Over the past year, Printworks has hosted prestigious parties from The Hydra, Ben Klock’s Photon series, Circoloco, and one-off sell-out live shows from Bicep and Skepta.
Approaching Printworks – the former printing press which has become London's most talked-about events space – it's easy enough to think you are in the wrong location.
The vast site, with long access roads that set it back from the road, looks - from the outside at least - like any other industrial building. The reality is entirely different.
With exposed industrial features and a mutitide of spaces within the space, Printworks has taken the capital's club scene by storm.
Despite a succession of club closures during 2016, the UK scene has remained bullish. In London, Fabric has been saved to everyone’s relief and a series of new venues have opened their doors — including a gargantuan ex-printing press in Canada Water — and we now have an official Night Czar serving to preserve the capital’s club culture on a political footing.