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Gatecrasher is an international clubbing brand made famous by the "Gatecrasher" (later "Crasher") dance music events held at the "Gatecrasher One" nightclub in Sheffield, England, during the late 1990s and early 2000s. The event received numerous awards, including "Club Of The Year" at the Ericsson Muzik Magazine Dance Awards in 1998. The promoters for the brand are Simon Raine, Simon Oates and, until 2004, Scott Bond. As of 2011, there are three permanent Gatecrasher venues located in the United Kingdom (UK) cities of Birmingham, Watford and Nottingham.
During the early 1990s, Scott Bond was a DJ for nightclubs in Birmingham. In approximately 1992, Bond met Simon Raine, who, at the time, was the manager of a club called "Bakers". Bond subsequently agreed to become the new resident DJ at Bakers, with Raine focused on the promotion of a new club night called "Absolutely Ridiculous". In 1993, Bond started his own night at Bakers called "Republica" and, later that year, the pair decided to collaborate on a new one-off event named Gatecrasher.
Gatecrasher was first held as a one-off event in 1993 in the West Midlands at the Tardebigge Engine House. The night originally took its form from similar local clubs such as 'Fun', 'Wobble', 'Miss Moneypenny's' and C.R.E.A.M.
The club later moved to Bakers nightclub on Broad Street, but became so popular that larger events were organised in other locations in and around the West Midlands.
Due to a large number of similar nights in the Birmingham area, the event relocated. The decision was made to move to the northern city of Sheffield. Sheffield had a vibrant nightlife and allowed nightclubs to open all night. The event was initially held in the Leadmill, then at The Arches, before moving to The Adelphi.
In 1996, Gatecrasher started to use a nightclub in the city centre called The Republic for one-off events such as New Year's Eve, in 1997 the event moved to the venue permanently. Gatecrasher bought their Sheffield venue later that year.
Gatecrasher offered an all-night event, with 'big name' DJs throughout the night, with Judge Jules a resident. This attracted people from all over the country with a music style that was originally Techno and House oriented. The door policy was notoriously strict, seemingly turning people away for no apparent reason. Instead of discouraging people to attend, this policy only made the event more popular: successfully getting admitted to the club only added to the sense of excitement. The door policy also ensured that only dedicated and enthusiastic clubbers gained access. This resulted in a clientele and atmosphere that was rare at that time in any club in the UK. The door policy and fashion at the end of the 1990s encouraged people to dress in a flamboyant style to ensure entry to the night. The club developed a cult following (Crasher Kids) who in turn developed their own style of fashion, identifiable by fluorescent clothes, dummies and spiky hair. Scott Bond's style of dance music was reflected in the DJs booked for the nights and at the end of the 1990s, Gatecrasher was instrumental in the rise of trance music.
In 1998, Gatecrasher joined forces with the London nightclub Ministry of Sound and held their first outdoor festival, held at Lotherton Hall in Leeds, broadcast on BBC Radio 1. 1998 saw the launch of Gatecrasher into the CD market with 'Black'. The following year they held the event alone and again the event was broadcast on the Essential Mix on BBC Radio 1. It was during this period that they started to use Sheffield's the Designer's Republic to produce their artwork, refining the logo and introducing for the first time the Gatecrasher font.
In 1999 Gatecrasher bought the Music Factory, a second nightclub in Sheffield and renamed it Bed. The nightclub focused on an older and more sophisticated crowd than Gatecrasher, playing mainly house music.
Gatecrasher’s "2000GC" Millennium Eve event was held at the Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield. The massive arena held a sell-out crowd of 25,000, and had the look and feel of a stadium rock concert. According to Gatecrasher promoter Simon Raine, 2000GC was "ten years of promoting parties, ten years of production knowledge and ten years of contacts all put into one very special night."
Gatecrasher relocated their summer festival to Turweston Airfield near Brackley, Northamptonshire. The renamed Summer Sound System event was held in June 2000. 25,000 clubbers saw 50 DJs play. The same event in 2001 and 2002 saw an increased capacity of 40,000.
2001 then saw the launch of Gatecrashers own record label and the first album, Digital.
On 19 May 2001, South Yorkshire Police made a drugs raid on the republic nightclub, making 13 arrests and seizing "a substantial amount" of drugs. Around 800 clubbers were ejected from the premises in the city's Matilda Street when 160 officers swooped at 11:40 pm, seizing what a police spokesperson described as a substantial amount of tablets, powders and substances, some of which are believed to be cocaine and ecstasy.
By 2002, UK clubland had changed. Gatecrasher were struggling to consistently fill the venue every week. The Crasher Kids had started to put people off visiting the club, as many perceived that one had to dress like them to get in. Gatecrasher needed to attract a new following and moved the music policy to more progressive house. The change in direction and the banning of Crasher Kids alienated some of their original fans. The Gatecrasher event became a monthly event due to the dwindling numbers and a general decline in the previously hugely popular trance scene. This was also the year that Gatecrasher London at Heaven. The event at Heaven was short lived.
Reinventing the brand
By late 2003, and reflecting a widespread decline in UK superclub attendances, the event had gone from monthly to being held only on special occasions such as Bank Holidays. In order for Gatecrasher to continue, the company began to focus on the nightclub market and not just the single events. So In 2003, the company re-branded The Republic and completely refitted it, renaming it Gatecrasher One, as it was supposedly the first of ten new Gatecrasher venues around the UK. At the same time the actual club night was renamed 'Crasher', the abbreviated name already used by some of its fans before the refit. Gatecrasher closed the Bed nightclub.
In 2005, the company opened a new club in Leeds under the name Discothèque. This was originally planned to be called Gatecrasher 2, but over the years the brand name of Gatecrasher had been tarnished and the company felt the need to take a slice of action from the rising Funky House scene.
In 2007, Gatecrasher bought Media nightclub in Nottingham and refurbished it. It was launched as Gatecrasher Loves Nottingham.
On the evening of 18 June 2007, Gatecrasher One caught fire and partially collapsed. Smoke could be seen across the city. There were only a small number of staff in the building at the time and they evacuated the building safely. No official cause or explanation for the fire has been released. It was believed that the fire started in the DJ box in the main room. Following the fire, council officers stated that they wanted the building to be saved if possible. Further inspections by structural engineers revealed that the building was beyond repair and that any attempt to restore the building would be unsafe. Consequently the buildings were demolished.
Gatecrasher in Leeds was rebranded as Gatecrasher7 in 2007. The downstairs room was fully overhauled and branded as BED. As well as forming part of the venue, Bed was utilised as a self-contained 400-capacity venue with a separate entrance.
On September 2008, Gatecrasher opened a '5 million pound superclub' on Broad Street in Birmingham, designed by celebrated international designer Callin Fortis of Big Time Design Studios, at the former site of the Works nightclub. 2009 saw the re-brand of Gatecrasher Loves Nottingham to Gatecrasher Ultra. Each of the club’s three levels and the main auditorium were redesigned. Gatecrasher also overhauled their Watford venue 'Area' in 2009 adding a pre-bar called Bed.
In 2010, the company announced a new £5 million reopening of Gatecrasher One, subject to planning approval. However, this was later refused by Sheffield City Council. The decision is now being appealed by Gatecrasher.
Gatecrasher7 in Leeds was shut down on 29 March 2011; it had previously had its licensed revoked earlier in the year after a spate of violence and a stabbing. The violence was blamed on its musical policy of Urban Music ("We Play Vinyl" - Friday night) for attracting a certain bad element to the club.
Gatecrasher made a successful appeal against its licence revocation and the Leeds club re-opened at the end of 2011, re-branded as Bed Nightclub, and on the condition they abandon the "We Play Vinyl" night, install metal detectors and use plastic glasses.
In June 2012, following its abandonment of its earlier appeal against the 2010 planning refusal, Gatecrasher announced its intention to rise from the ashes and build a new £5 million flagship venue in Sheffield - with the intention of creating "the best club in the world". http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/gatecrasher-to-rise-like-phoenix-from-the-ashes-in-sheffield-1-4667734
Subsequently on their Facebook page Gatecrasher have announced they have found a new venue and are proceeding through the planning process.
Gatecrasher has held several large events including Summer Sound System (40,000 capacity), Gatecrasher NEC (15,000 capacity), Crasher N/Ice (at the Nottingham Ice Arena) (7,500 capacity), Gatecrasher Sound System (Australia) and Fort Dance in Russia (40,000 capacity). The promoters also ran a popular Gatecrasher night for one season at Eden in Ibiza during the summer of 2000. This was revived for 2006–07 with the award-winning[clarification needed] "Gatecrasher Ibiza Live" parties held once again at Eden (nightclub), San Antonio.
Past resident DJs
- Judge Jules
- Scott Bond
- Paul Van Dyk
- Matt Hardwick
- Nick Riley (Riley & Durrant)
- Eddie Halliwell
- Ashley Casselle
- Trophy Twins
The popularity of the Gatecrasher brand is partly due to the large number of compilation albums having been released. The first seven albums were released on the Sony offshoot label INCredible. The album Gatecrasher's Trance Anthems (1993–2009) achieved gold status.
- Staff (2012). "SCOTT BOND". The DJ List. The DJ List, Inc. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
- Staff (20 May 2001). "DRUGS RAID ON GATECRASHER". NME - First For Music News. IPC Media. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
- "Nightclub collapses in city fire". BBC News (BBC). 18 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-23.
- Superclub Gatecrasher told to find another site
- Door closed on Gatecrasher's £5m superclub hopes
- Gatecrasher boss to appeal £5m venue rejection