A DJ dubbed “the saviour of rave” will headline a Sunderland club night that’s drawing in crowds from across the country.
Former Radio 1 DJ Kutski will be getting people dancing into the night at Happedaze, a club night started by a group of friends which has gone on to attract a firm following.
Feeling that their favourite genres of music were under-represented in Sunderland, friends Michael Thompson and Mark Wardle set up the night in a bid to bring a blend of house, trance, techno, hardhouse, oldskool, 90s hardcore, gabber and makina to city dancefloors.
Four years later and Happedaze, which runs every four to six weeks at Legacy in Park Lane, attracts hundreds of people a night from across the country - as well as Sunderland’s legendary dance fan Dave the Rave.
The next night, which takes place on January 27, will feature a 90-minute set from Kutski, as well as an oldskool set from Smurf and a German trance set from Thumpa.
The friends have always kept the night as free entry and say they’re proud of how well it’s been received by the underground community.
Michael said: “I ran a night in Newcastle for ten years which planted the seed for doing something similar in Sunderland, as there was no one else doing this kind of blend of genres.
“At first it attracted a lot of older people because there’s so much nostalgia for the rave scene, but now the younger ones have found out about it and we get a really good mix of people in who travel from all over. There can be a stereotype of this scene, but ours is a real mix of underground sounds, and we’ve never had any trouble in four years.
“We don’t call it a rave, we like to call it a party.”
Speaking about the night’s longevity in a tough market, Mark said: ”We really mix up the styles and blend it all in, and it changes every time. We felt it was important not to just put on the same night over and over again. I think people in Sunderland get used to hearing only certain types of music in bars and clubs, but this is something totally different.
“People would pay to see someone like Kutski, but we feel it’s really important to keep it free.”
A number of top DJs have played the night, often for a discounted rate because it’s so well-respected.
Kutski, who has played major festivals such as Tomorrowland and Creamfields, is the latest coup for the club night.
Such is the success of the night, that the pair have launched a second club night called EDZ (electronic dance zone), which has more of a commercial dance policy, which will launch at the end of February.
•Kutski headlines Happedaze on January 27 at Legacy Bar. Doors from 7pm. Entry is free.