By Rachael Grealish
Forget planning New Year’s West Cumbrians are being invited to head back in time to 1991 house nights at The Old Hall.
The Old Hall was a central club for West Cumbria’s dance music scene in the early 1990s, however, as with many clubs, over time it closed, but those who formerly frequented the venue never lost their love and are coming together this week for The Old Hall Reunion.
Taking place this weekend, Saturday December 18, Generations, in Whitehaven – due to the original venue now being flats – in be heading back to 1991 for ‘Nasty Rhythm Sessions’ night, reuniting people with the DJs and music of the former Egremont club.
The event is being organised by Martin Phillips and Rachael Heslop, the team behind Arthouse Promotions, who after reminiscing about the ‘good old days’ with friends during the pandemic knew a reunion was the only thing to do.
“During the course of lockdown a lot of facebook groups were started about reminiscing about the nightclubs of the early 90s and the dance music scene,” Martin said.
“Over this period different clubs began to organise reunion events and people were reunited with many old friends they hadn’t seen for many years and the idea for an Old Hall reunion came about.”
The former club DJ explained how The Old Hall was in its golden age for house nights in the early 90s and people travelled as far as from Ulverston or Barrow to attend and see the ‘legendary’, and now sadly passed, DJ Sean Michaels – Martin being one of them.
Martin explained: “The style of music and the way he [Michaels] mixed it was legendary and inspired many to have a go at djing themselves and many of the top DJs of this music genre have come from west Cumbria some of which are still playing at club level to date.”
Although Michaels is no longer here, and the evening will also be a tribute to him, for the reunionMartin has managed to source some DJs who originally performed at the Old Hall to really give it the right amount of authenticity and nostalgia.
Performing will be Jagga, Macky, Flight, Danny Maudling, Chris Wilson, Daz Cherry, Stu Wright and Martin himself – however Martin can’t promise to be quite as bouncing as he was back in 1991.
He said: “We have been lucky enough to get together some of the original DJs to come and perform and play the classic tracks from the early 90s so people can expect to take a step back in time – although we are of course a little older and perhaps not as energetic as we were 30 years ago.”
As most house nights and DJ sets today often draw young people to dance and let loose, Martin says this is one for those Generation X – although people of all ages, above 18, are invited to enjoy the evening.
He said: “There’s a lot of events locally aimed at the younger generation and this is something for our generation to look forward to while supporting local businesses and DJs during these uncertain times, as it may be the last chance to get together again if another lockdown is imposed.”
As restrictions do tighten event goers won’t actually have to worry about vaccination status or COVID passports as Martin explained the venue is limited capacity and these will not be required.*
Should all go well this won’t be the last time West Cumbrians will be able to celebrate the ‘good ol’ days’ as Martin says this is just a taster for a much bigger event.
“This is a teaser for a larger event we hope to run on April 23, next year,” Martin explained. “My partner Racheal and I have met with a number of DJs/acts over the past few months while attending other reunion events and hope to announce the line up early in the new year with the event once again being held in Whitehaven in a larger venue.”
The Old Hall Reunion night is going ahead on Saturday, December 18, kicking off at 8pm until 2am. Tickets are available here, and you still have time to get one and go ‘back to the roots where it all began’.