Artist Spotlight: Graeme Park

The legend who was instrumental in propelling The Hacienda to global fame, helped bring house to the UK, and introduced the British people to hedonistic raves, Graeme Park has had an incredible career...

Skiddle Staff

Last updated: 19th Apr 2022

From record shop staff to one of the world’s most influential DJs known for leading The Hacienda to glory and global fame, a story such as Graeme Park’s is nothing short of incredible and inspiring. To this day, Park is recognised for his huge achievements, including popularising house, acid house and rave culture in Britain, his work at the world's most iconic club, and his captivating sets that introduced new music to thousands of music fans. 

Originally from Aberdeen, Park moved to Nottingham and began working at Selectadisc, a record shop, in the early 80s. It was then that house music from Chicago, New York, and Detroit began to find its feet in the UK. He was first introduced to the genre after ripping open JM Silk’s 'Music Is The Key', a track from Chicago label DJ International. He fell in love, but his colleagues weren’t quite as impressed. Little did they know Park possesses a unique ability to identify brilliant new sounds, a skill that would later help him become recognised as one of the world's best DJs. 

When his boss at the record shop opened a nightclub named The Garage Club (later renamed The Kool Kat), he asked Park to handle the task of spinning tunes all night long, offering him a residency. Despite his doubts, he accepted (although partly because he felt he had no say in the matter) and brought fresh house bangers to the people. From there, Park went on to perform at clubs across the north and midlands, including a residency at The Leadmill in Sheffield

 

 

Thanks to his next-level knowledge of emerging electronic music, Park caught the eye, or ear, of Mike Pickering, a DJ at iconic Manchester nightclub The Hacienda. Pickering wanted him to cover his Friday “Nude” night at The Hacienda for him while he went on holiday in 1987. Park accepted and was suddenly spinning tunes in the UK's hottest club to 2,500 clubbers.

Needless to say, Park's sets were a huge success, and he ended up securing a nine-year residency at The Hacienda until it closed. Thousands flocked from all over to hear Park spin the latest, hottest house tunes, with the queue to get in snaking around the corner. When the doors finally opened, people sprinted to the dancefloor. 

Both Pickering and Park are heavily credited in The Hacienda’s rise to fame. An insane achievement, the club became the blueprint for all future clubs and achieved worldwide fame. Still today, Mancunians young and old are fascinated by and plagued with nostalgia for The Hacienda. If that wasn't impressive enough, they're also credited with the rise of acid house and rave culture in Britain.

 

 

With such a rapid and well-earned rise to fame, Park gained a reputation as one of the must-see DJs, becoming one of the first British DJs to perform abroad in places like the US, Australia, and South America. Park won the DMC DJ of The Year Award multiple times between ‘89 and ‘92, and in 1991, Park was voted runner-up in DJ Mags Top 100 DJs in The World by members of the public.

Fast-forward to 2016, where Park played a crucial role in the launch of Hacienda Classical, a project that revisited club classics with an orchestra. Hacienda Classical sold-out shows in Manchester, London, Glasgow and beyond, performed on Glastonbury's Pyramid Stage and headlined Isle of Wight Fest.

 

 

Despite performing less frequently than he used to, Park remains insanely popular. You can catch Graeme Park live at Leighton Live, Moovin Festival, Disco In The Park and more. Hacienda Classical is still going strong too, with performances scheduled in Hastings and Milton Keynes

Park's popularity and ability to attract crowds from all generations speaks volumes about his cultural impact, skill, and impeccable ability to identify the best new music, even when those around him struggle to see its potential. If you fancy raving your head off with one of the world’s greatest DJs providing the tunes, secure your Graeme Park tickets now.

 


 

The legend who was instrumental in propelling The Hacienda to global fame, helped bring house to the UK, and introduced the British people to hedonistic raves, Graeme Park has had an incredible career. So we took a minute to look back on it…

 



 

Check out our What's On Guide to discover even more rowdy raves and sweaty gigs taking place over the coming weeks and months. For festivals, lifestyle events and more, head on over to our Things To Do page or be inspired by the event selections on our Inspire Me page.

 

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