cultivate culture

the hacienda: legacies are stupid, unless they’re cool
December 4, 2007, 4:09 pm
Filed under: Music

Coming to Manchester is somewhat of a pilgrimage for Carmen and me. A very meaningful part of our lives –the all-nite electronic dance music party– had part of its origins here. The history of electronic dance music is complex and multi-faceted (nevermind Ishkur). Nevertheless, after it’s birth in Chicago House music in the eighties and its later transformation into Techno in Detroit, it can be said fairly confidently that it was the Hacienda club in Manchester, England that birthed the culture that would support electronic dance music into the nineties.

While in Manchester, Carmen and I went to see an exhibition on the Hacienda and the Factory Records label that owned it. (Pic).

One thing that seemed to ring out again and again throughout the exhibit was the diversity of the innovation. Why was it such a hot bed?
It was a time (late eighties) when Manchester’s past industrial glory lay rusted and crumpling in a city centre with less than 300 inhabitants because of derelict infrastructure and the accompanying violence. The time was ripe for innovation. And it happened.

Spurred by successes in new music over the previous decade, Factory Records opened the Hacienda. It was the first club (in Manchester) that you didn’t need a suit to get into. It was the first club didn’t look like a club; it looked like Manchester, i.e. a factory. Even the details like the club’s promotion were artistically ahead of its time (even if they were completed after the scheduled party they were supposed to be promoting!). The Hacienda provided a sanctuary for deprived youth to express the typical angst of the age together and to music. It provided the perfect stage for Chicago house music to enter.

Carmen and I weren’t there in 1987 when the club first opened. But Dave was. Listen to his take on the era.


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