The Small Town Lustre

There is so much more to the scene in this country outside of the big cities - it's high time we acknowledged some of the nation's most ambitious promoters.

Jimmy Coultas

Last updated: 2nd Jul 2014

Image: Source Bar

One of the best things about the electronic music scene in this country is how much goes on outside of the obvious big cities, something which has always been the case.

To a man, the US house and techno originators of the 1980s will tell you that it was the UK that eventually kept them in a job because we bought their records on import, records that were being heard in places like Blackburn, Wigan, Slough and many more, not to mention all the farmer's fields and warehouses across the country.

It is no exaggeration to say that without the UK's ability to make DJ culture accessible beyond the underground niches and sub cultures of major cities, the industry would not be the global powerhouse it is today.

So it's great to see the same spirit remains of promoters getting off their backsides and building their own scenes. In no particular order of greatness, we pay homage to some of the nights and places that punch above their weight.


Carlisle has always boasted a strong DJ culture, right from Northern Soul through to 90s house, with most of the major Hacienda DJs playing there at some point. But it's perennial Skiddle favourite Uber which sums up the genius of the plucky small town promoter.

Uber's next event basically says it all. 1500 people raving to the likes of MK, James Zabiela and Todd Terry all in one day suggests that something's going on up there, and for Uber it has been going on for almost ten years.


Skiddle Mix 015 - Ki Creighton (Uber) by Skiddle on Mixcloud


They've booked people across the whole range of house, from Justin Martin to Danny Rampling, up to Annie Mac and Calvin Harris, with an irrepressible mafia of residents including Ki Creighton (check his Skiddle mix above) backing them up.


Kent's Chatham has seen all kinds of DJ talent this year. Club Mojo is hosting pretty much all of it, with probably the most unlikely being a live show from the very much in demand KiNK, courtesy of Void.

Nick Curly, Ryan Crosson, Matt Tolfrey and Danny Daze have also graced the decks at Club Mojo this year. Next up it's RMRS on June 28th with Hannah Watts. 


The Live Rooms is an innovative new venue that has given the Chester scene a shot in the arm in recent times, with a series of bookings that reflect a keen awareness on the pulse of what's hot in the charts and the dancefloors (peep our recent venue focus).

D&B chart toppers Sigma are there on August 2nd (check our interview with them recently), and there's been plenty of good house there in recent times from the likes of Yousef (check his recent mix above at ANTS Ibiza) and Gorgon City, as well as an appearance from another chart topper and house music aficionado in Secondcity on Saturday 12th July.


There was a Ministry Of Sound in Harrogate at one point - this Tory stronghold of wealth and prosperity appears to have its fair share of party aficionados.

Watch out for Knee Deep @ Moko Lounge, who welcome Dale Howard and Buckley on August 1st; having recently hosted Hot Since 82 and Hector Couto.

Hebden Bridge

The home of the excellent Paper Recordings (led by Flash Atkins behind Skiddle MIx 43 below) and all sorts of other fine culture, Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire basically achieves the impossible in a place with a population of under 10,000.


Skiddle Mix 044 - Flash Atkins (Flashlight) by Skiddle on Mixcloud


The Trades Club is a good place to go in search of unlikely luminaries, with Andy Weatherall and Kevin Saunderson doing their thing there in the past. Props to promoters like Divided By Dirt and Into The Valley for pulling up trees in what is essentially a big village, and now the current torch bearers, Flashlight, who recently hosted Horse Meat Disco.


Maybe we're biased but just take a look at the number of DJs that have pitched up in Lancaster in the last year. For our very own A-Wing we had the likes of James Zabiela, 2 Bears and Derrick Carter play in an old prison; but there have been other notable highlights as well.

The 21st of June had techno legend Rolando, Yousef and Silicone Soul come to The Friary for a stunning tour de force, and there was also Danny Howells at V-Bar in recent times. 


Most recently known for Jaymo & Andy George tearing it up with their Moda night, which began initially at The Cell and now presides at The Engine Shed, Lincoln does very well indeed.

Audiojak and Choobe were two other notable nights at The Cell, bringing the likes of Nic Fanciulli and Lee Burridge to town, but its Moda that has become the centrepiece for the city's focus, led by an enthusiastic student population.


Must be something in the Kent water, because just down the road from Chatham is arguably the ultimate small town of scene of them all. And it's related back to Fanciulli, as we have to doff our hat to his hometown of Maidstone.

Out of Maidstone, Fanciulli has built up the clubbing empires of Club Class and Saved, and he will toast one of the key venues in August, Source Bar, when he celebrates their 15th birthday in a year where Saved has also clocked up a century of releases (check their mammoth EP below).

Source has also seen fellow man of Kent Tim Green host the likes of Martin Buttrich. The next Maidstone DJ fix comes in the shape of Amine Edge & Dance at Cuff.