When can we rave again? It’s a question that’s been asked a million times since lockdown began. While the Government continues to deliberate (or bluntly ignore) the plight of nightclubs and the night time industry, a few canny promoters are taking matters into their own hands.
A number of legal (and not so legal) club events have been popping up across the UK since the outbreak of Coronavirus, with car parks, woodlands and other idle spaces adopted for the day/night and turned into temporary venues.
In Manchester - the spiritual home of rave culture - two party organisers have come up with a novel way to circumvent restrictions and create a safe space for rave-starved punters... and it involves a box. Well, five of them.
Puffin Box is a new COVID-compliant concept from Kat Warburton and Natalie Lea, creators of the La Discothèque club night, offering a ‘socially distanced immersive rave experience’.
Launching in Manchester on 7 August and located in the basement of an office block in Northern Quarter, Puffin Box features five, cubed, wooden-frame boxes surrounding a central DJ(s) and performers.
Holding up to eight people at a time, each box comes with a fully stocked fridge (drinks must be pre-ordered), sofas, tables, servers and a mini-dancefloor.
The lineup offers an eclectic mix of house, techno, disco, soul, hip hop and funk, with Hit & Run, Kaluki, Funkademia, Joy Social vs High Hoops, Zutekh, So Flute, Ghosts of Garage, Bad Fun, Hip Hop / Hula, Love Dose and La Discothèque all confirmed.
Running from Thursday to Sunday for eight weeks (4.15-11pm Thurs/Fri, 12.45-11pm Sat/Sun), there will be multiple 90-minute sessions each night, with up to 40 guests in the room at any one time.
With social-distancing rules in place, sanitiser stations and one-way systems, the organisers say that Puffin Box will be fully compliant with government guidelines.
“While we can’t go to stereotypical raves in the city we have to adapt," explains Warburton, "so here we have a rave in a box.
"Manchester’s a buzzing city and everyone’s desperate to get back out but still stay safe, so this is exactly what we’re offering: ace music, exciting entertainment, decent drinks packages, a space for people to enjoy a mini-clubbing experience with friends in a safe and controlled environment.”
Lea adds: "As the hospitality industry slowly recovers, it’s so important to support DJs, performers, sound and light engineers as much as we can, and with Puffin Box we can offer opportunities for those in need of work."
Tickets for Puffin Box are available exclusively through Skiddle from Tues 21st July. You can sign up here for a remainder via text or email before tickets go on sale.
Puffin Box, Hilton House Manchester, 7 Aug:
Puffin Box, Hilton House Manchester, 8 Aug:
Puffin Box, Hilton House Manchester, 9 Aug:
Puffin Box, Hilton House Manchester, 10 Aug:
Puffin Box, Hilton House Manchester, 11 Aug:
Puffin Box, Hilton House Manchester, 12 Aug:
Find tickets to all Puffin Box events here.