The past few years in Dublin have led to an exponential growth in the city’s underground club scene. Plenty of the world’s biggest DJs have been showcased in a number of the city’s central venues, with spaces for all types of acts littered within a rather short space of each other. Despite each venue’s successful attempts at generating unique atmospheres and spaces in order to suit their respective sounds, each all share one trait. They’re all quite compact in comparison to other major European cities. That’s not to say that Dax J is playing in a converted office, or Fatima Yamaha taking the reigns in a makeshift house party, but when you see videos of the likes of Printworks, The Warehouse Project, Gashouder or other Amsterdam warehouses, Dublin’s most prominent underground clubs are dwarfed in comparison.
Take for example Ireland’s biggest electronic music festivals, each bring over an assortment of household names for events that seem impressive in scale but are only just or slightly above capacity numbers for some of Europe’s bigger clubs. Even take The Warehouse Project‘s most recent lineup announcement, two lineups for two days, packed with enough artists to fill a Dublin club’s roster for a year, yet the Manchester based promotion fills its 3,000 person capacity on a weekly basis so they can afford to have such a bulky lineup, selling out 6,000 tickets to both different shows in four minutes this morning, while even the most reputable spaces in the capital face an uphill battle to consistently sell healthy numbers of tickets to their shows.
The Warehouse Project
Even though from an outsiders perspective a huge, 2000+ capacity venue smack bang in the city centre makes sense, just because big acts come here doesn’t mean that the necessary infrastructure to mirror their reputations. If property owners/promoters in the Dublin vicinity thought a venue like this was feasible the now closed-down Tripod would have been occupied since it’s closure in 2012.
Not only does the number of people factor in, but also the seasonal nature of the fans of the music. The majority of underground electronic music fans that flock to the city’s clubs aren’t fair-weather fans, but unfortunately its usually during the college terms that the clubs are busiest due to the influx of bodies to the capital, not to mention the Limericks, Corks and Galways of this world. Dublin’s own young population interested in dance music is healthy, but not willing to fork out cash week in week out to populate a venue the size of a small festival’s capacity.
With all the preference issues dealt with, logistics cast an even more daunting shadow over a large warehouse/stadium-esque venue in the city centre. First of all, there’s nowhere to put it. With space in the city centre being so valuable and pricey, a venue of considerable size would be incredibly expensive to turn into a jumbo sized club. Not only that, but with a curfew of 3 o’clock, there’s almost no point in having such a behemoth in the city centre if it can only open in spurts on the weekends, leaving something like that dormant for so long during the day for only a sporadic number of active hours will significantly hamper its productivity.
With all that being said, the one difference between the Irish clubbing scene that differentiates it in an entirely positive way is that its totally aimed at an indigenous market. Dutch people don’t clamber to book their discount flights to catch the latest act in Dublin. The Irish club scene is run from Ireland for Ireland not as a tourism magnet, so the non-existence of a super-club isn’t necessarily an accurate representation of the country’s love for electronic music, its already well-rooted venues reflect the diversity and established strength of different sounds and promotions amongst a homegrown crowd.
Hangar – Photo Credit: Jack Farrell