Our story so far…
Factory Records was a Manchester based British independent record label, started in 1978 by Tony Wilson and Alan Erasmus, which featured several prominent musical acts on its roster such as Joy Division, New Order, A Certain Ratio, The Durutti Column, Happy Mondays, Northside, and (briefly) Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and James. Like the label 4AD Records, Factory Records used a creative team (most notably record producer Martin Hannett and graphic designer Peter Saville) which gave the label and the artists recording for it, a particular sound and image. The label employed a unique cataloguing system that gave a number not just to its musical releases, but to artwork and other objects, as well.
REDEVELOPED, RECRAFTED AND ENTIRELY REDESIGNED FOR THE START OF A NEW DECADE, FACTORY RECORDS INFAMOUS CENTRAL MANCHESTER OFFICES REOPENS AS A LIVE VENUE/NIGHTCLUB, FAC251 “THE FACTORY”, MIXING LIVE BANDS, INDIE AND DANCE INFLUENCES ACROSS THREE DIFFERENT FLOORS.
The joint venture between New Order and Joy Division’s Peter Hook and established club operators Tokyo Industries (30+ venues across the UK including the award-winning Digital in Newcastle and Brighton and the Tokyo Mansion party venues), Tokyo Industries managing director Aaron Mellor is a long time Factory Records afficianado.
Conversations between Aaron and Hooky began years ago about creating a new Manchester live and indie venue with an emphasis on new and creative talent in a site in the city’s Northern Quarter, but licensing difficulties sidelined that project. The recession forced the former Factory Head Office back to the market late 2009, and the idea seemed just too perfect to miss.
Original Factory architect Ben Kelly was also recruited to resurrect and completely recast the building to suit its new purpose as a live, rock ‘n’ roll venue that draws on the legacy of the past but updates the original Factory ethos for contemporary bands, promoters, DJs and of course the people.
The Factory mantra “give something back”, FAC251 takes on these past influences and brings them to a new generation, providing a creative space for Manchester’s latest musical talents in an effort to recreate the music community which surrounded the original Factory project.
Manchester has become a prime destination for bands and musicians from all across the world, FAC251 will showcase the very best local, national and international live talent along with upfront and creative club nights that celebrate the past while embracing the future, as The Factory will become a rite of passage for bands, DJs and Manchester’s creative pulse.
With an open-minded and inclusive attitude to its booking policy, FAC251 will provide a forum for all types of band and club styles, be they traditional indie, electronica, rock, acoustic or anything else besides, and FAC251’s intimacy and top-rate production and sound seem set to put the venue on the map as one of the coolest gig venues in the UK and beyond.
Architect Ben Kelly has revisited his original designs for the building and created three separate club environments, allowing for a variety of music styles on any given evening. The ground floor now forms the main live space of the club, “The Bassment”, forming a gritty and atmospheric space for live band performances. The first floor, “The Loft” the label’s old office space, has become a separate dancefloor, with the feel of a VIP section, and fittings to match. Malta map The DJ is cantilevered and plays from above the venue’s reception area. The second floor, the third FAC251 environment, is “The Boardroom”, unchanged from its original design, an oasis of minimalist design chic at the top of the club.
Saved from oblivion by the new club, the building has been vastly improved as The Factory with Funktion One sound systems in place across all floors whilst the design, furniture and ambiance are all in tune with the quality which is inherent in all Factory projects.
The Friday night opening on February 5 2010 featured a one-off performance by “Peter Hook’s “The Light”, a Manchester supergroup put together specially for the occasion featuring Mani (Stone Roses), Rowetta (Happy Mondays), Howard Marks and other special guests, performing rare Joy Division and New Order tracks, and a hits retrospective from Hookys previous bands Monaco, Revenge, NewOrder, Joy Division and the first ever debut of his new material with FREEBASS.So begins a whole new adventure for Manchester’s bands, promoters and crowd, it couldn’t happen again……could it?