Set in the beautiful medieval Manchester Cathedral, Manchester 360° offered an immersive rave experience on 3rd June. Headlined by the acclaimed John Digweed, the event combined historic architecture with trace-style techno.
The new event collective Manchester 360° ran the event, which lasted from 5 pm-11 pm. In collaboration with previous 360° events successfully put on in Paris and Geneva, Manchester 360° aims to “offer you unique ways to experience unconventional locations.” The event series gets iconic DJs to perform in the centre of unusual settings, allowing all audiences better sound quality and a greater connection to the DJ.
With the event starting at 5 pm, it felt strange to be having pre-drinks and getting ready at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Weirder still was to arrive at the cathedral to see a gated area being used as a smoking area, fit with bodies strewn across the grass in a way which suggested they had already had too much to drink. The cathedral had been overtaken by a festival atmosphere, fit with portaloos, temporary metal fences and bottled water sold for £3.
Despite this, the event felt surprisingly intimate. By placing the DJ stand in the centre of the cathedral, performers were connected to the surrounding audience. The age range of attendees spanned generations, meaning the event brought together many different groups of people. This was a communal experience, connecting people not only to each other but to the music and the location. The 360° layout also has the potential to make clubbing more accessible for those with disabilities and additional access requirements, as it meant attendees could still be close to the DJ without being in the main crowd, which formed at the front of the deck.
Watching the sunset through the cathedral’s stained glass windows, I was struck by how Manchester 360° had repurposed this building. Initially a club event, complete with sweaty bodies and sticky floors, it may seem distant from religious services yet the use of this cathedral felt purposeful. Through smoke machines and vibrant lighting, we were absorbed into the music. I’m not at all suggesting that a night out could be compared to a spiritual experience, but like a service the event had brought together a range of people, some of whom would not typically visit a religious space.
Whilst the stunning building made the event feel particularly special, John Digweed’s set made the night. The warm-up sets by 09 Liverpool and Hush Hush prepped the crowd for Digweed, but his 3-hour set was by far the main event. By the end of the night, crowds chanted “John Digweed” and swarmed around the deck to grab a photo and thank him for the night.
Manchester 360 has a range of upcoming events, including a set from Darius Syrossian underneath a Concorde jet on the 6th of August and a set by Sasha at Manchester Cathedral on the 12th of August. Tickets can be found here.