The rise of alternative clubs and events | Features | MN2S

The alternative club & event scene is growing, with clubbers seeking the weird, wild and wonderful when it comes to venues.

It’s not that regular clubbing is getting boring. Rather, venue-owners and promoters are experimenting with inventive and innovative new ways to entertain patrons, and clubbers are eating it up. Alternative clubs and events have become wildly popular, with the following events proving to be fan-favourites, and paving the way for even more revolutionary bars and festivals to emerge.

A club inside a glacier

Secret Solstice in Iceland might literally be the world’s coolest festival. Each year they build an Into the Glacier experience — a temporary club housed inside Langjökull, Europe’s second largest glacier. Patrons travel to the glacier in vehicles once operated by NASA, before making their way to the bar through a series of winding tunnels. This year, US DJ sensation Dubfire will be providing the icy soundtrack.

Silent discos

It’s entirely possible that we’ve reached peak silent disco. Everyone you know has probably been to one. For the uninitiated, a silent disco has a regular clubbing setup, but instead of music blasting over the PA, each clubber wears headphones. Usually they’ll be several channels to give patrons control over what kind of music they hear. Though they may or may not be more enjoyable than regular clubbing, silent discos do have the edge in the surrealist stakes: removing your headphones to see everybody else dancing in silence is a truly bizarre sight.

Food and drink festivals

They’ve been around for a while, but in recent years food festivals have picked up in popularity. Reading’s Big Feastival now attracts large crowds annually. Granted, it doesn’t yet rival the similarly-named Reading Festival, but it’s growing nonetheless. The country is overflowing with food festivals, including Taste of London, which has been described as “the foodie event to head to this summer.”

On the drinking side, beer festivals have been thriving for decades, but festivals dedicated to other drinks are coming into their own. Negroni Week in London is an entire weeklong festival celebrating the popular cocktail.

Clubbing underwater

Like the glacier club, this is not something that has caught on widely, but it’s part of the bigger alternative clubs and events picture. Subsix is an underwater bar in the Maldives, nestled against a picturesque coral reef. The club is only accessible via speedboat, and the full-length glass windows put the deep blue sea on display throughout the night.

Clubbing in a swimming pool

No, we’re not talking about that classic episode of Tony Wilson’s The Other Side of Midnight. A long-dry abandoned swimming pool in Berlin acts as Boiler Room’s base in the city. Look out for the deep end in streams from your favourite artists to see for yourself.

Boutique music festivals

The sprawling nature of many major music festivals has began to grate on many concert-goers, who just want to hear good music in the great outdoors without having to queue for two hours to use a filthy bathroom. Instead of focusing on size, many festivals now focus on providing a premium experience. Wilderness festival, for example, is still large enough to attract the likes of Grace Jones and Justice to the lineup, but the emphasis is just as much on the “nooks… crannies and shiny wonders” of the festival as it is on the artists.

Immersive festivals

“Immersiveness” has become hugely popular for event-goers everywhere. The success of escape rooms and the Secret Cinema’s themed environments has had an effect on the music scene, too. Boomtown fair is perhaps the clearest example of this influence. The festival is fully-immersive, with costumed performers, fancy dress, several themed districts, and, most importantly, an actual storyline. This year will be Chapter 8 — The Machine Cannot Be Stopped. There’s a video trailer and everything.

With clubs and events as varied and inventive as these, the scene is clearly thriving. If you’re planning an alternative event, browse our DJ roster or live roster to find artists.

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