The Hacienda has moved to clarify the circumstances behind the ‘hugely disappointing’ splitting of last weekend’s much-anticipated 40th anniversary party into two halves.
Manchester jubilantly raved once again, but many were left disappointed and asked for refunds after the night was separated into separate sessions – DJ sets between 6pm and 10.30pm followed by an 11pm until 2am slot.
The announcement came at the 11th hour. The party was supposed to have taken place over both floors of the car park of the apartment complex where the Hacienda once stood – now bosses have revealed what happened having previously only outlined ‘last-minute changes’.
In a statement published on social media FAC51 The Hacienda said licenses were granted by Manchester City Council three weeks before the event and ‘full fire and health and safety risk assessments’ were drawn up. But organizers said a ‘probation notice’ was served on the event at 5pm on the Friday night – giving them just 24 hours notice.
The notice, said the Treasury, ‘sits legally above all other licences’, although the exact reasons for its issuing have not been disclosed. Which authority or body served the notice also hasn’t been confirmed.
“The Hacienda team negotiated and established that only the top floor of the car park could be used, halving the capacity,” read tonight’s statement.
“The only options were to either cancel the event completely or split the party into two over one night. We were aware that many people were traveling from all over the country for this very special anniversary and were desperate to make sure that all ticket holders had the opportunity to attend in the building.
“Obviously the turn of events after months of very hard work was hugely disappointing to everyone involved.”
Bosses said the party, which was streamed out live on social media, was put on for two named charities – The Christie and the Legacy of War Foundation – and confirmed all profits went to them. All ticket refunds were honored, they added.
The last-minute change left many ticket-holders angry – particularly those given the early time slot who said they weren’t able to attend until the later part of the night.
One raver told the Manchester Evening News: “I’m pretty angry that I have arranged a baby sitter from 8pm to be told I have a slot from 6-10pm.
“I’d get there for 1 hour and then be asked to leave …. All for a £42 price tag. I think it’s really atrocious planning but the irony of a Hacienda night being completely disorganized has not been lost on me.”
The statement went on to thank all those involved – and the residents living there on Whitworth Street.
“We would like to thank everyone who supported the event including the residents of the apartments, Livingcity, the building managers and we also note the assistance of the Hacienda Apartments concierges who were vital in the preparation and execution of the event.”
The charity event, which despite the issue was heralded as a huge success, saw performances from the likes of the very first Hacienda DJ Hewan Clarke, DJ Paulette, who was famously a resident at the iconic Flesh night, and Tom Wainwright. Graeme Park and Jon DaSilva rounded the set off in the small hours.
The Hacienda first opened on May 21, 1982 inside a disused yacht showroom transformed by Ben Kelly and financed by Factory Records and New Order. It became the epicenter for Manchester’s live band scene and boasted seminal gigs from bands such as The Smiths, The Stone Roses, James, New Order, The Fall, Primal Scream, Pet Shop Boys, and international artists such as Madonna and Nick Cave.
The club closed for the final time in 1997. The original building was demolished in 2002 and replaced by the Hacienda apartments.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.