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Renaissance - The Epic of the North

Updated: Jun 30, 2018

Write up first appeared in the group in 2008 

In the early 90s it was pretty mad up north, The Hacienda, Eclipse Club & Shelleys were all regular meccas for clubbers all over the country, they were amazing, they were unforgettable. But nothing lasts for ever. When many of the big nights became very rave orientated it was time for something new and in March 1991 Geoff Oakes launched Renaissance.

Renaissance started its life at the legendary Venue 44 in Mansfield, the build up to the opening night featured adverts in Mixmag and flyers stating ‘The Restoration Of Sasha To The North’ a clever marketing strategy indeed. The opening night attracted some 3000 clubbers to a converted Cinema in Mansfield that held 800… cue the hype, cherubs, clouds and michaelangelos…

As anyone who visited Venue 44 back then will remember Renaissance was a totally new experience just getting in was half the battle, stories of hair, shoes and clothes being scrutinised were in abundance, it created expectation and built up a reputation of quality. How good was the buzz when you actually got in?

At Renaissance the music spoke for itself, John Digweed previously an unknown DJ took centre stage alongside the legendary Sasha. The release of ‘Renaissance – The Mix Collection’ in 1994 reflected the feel of the club and was one of the first club mix CDs to go gold selling some 130.000 units on release.

Five Renaissance Firsts:

First 8am Licence issued in the north First Sasha residency after Shelleys First club to have a pop hit. M-People – Renanissance performed live at the 2nd Birthday First club to have a compilation sell 100,000+ First club to start a dj agency

Renaissance Tales

A selection of Mixmag interviews with Renaissance clubbers back in the early 90s..

‘Jon remembers in Mansfield being off his head and dancing on the podium in front of Sasha and for some reason sticking up 2 fingers at him. After being continually ignored for 10 minutes Sasha cooly stuck up his middle finger without looking and carried on mixing’

‘Ian remembers that you could buy poppers in Mansfield and they were kept in water bottles, Someone passed him one which he proceeded to drink, he then cooly walked to the toilets and passed out, the roof of his mouth stripped forever.

‘Dom was at the Que Club second birthday dancing beside some guy who rapped along brilliantly to every single record. The nutter turned out to be a doctor working at the local hospital’

Whats your favourite memory?

Words: Jay Dobie

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