6 June 2019
Every industry comes with its challenges but I would argue that the night-time economy is one that presents some unenviable tasks – from tackling crime and drug use, to protecting people’s safety and staying ahead of fast-moving trends in an industry that’s in decline in some areas.
Yet Sacha Lord is not one to shy away from a challenge. Sacha is the brains behind the Warehouse Project and the biggest metropolitan music festival, Parklife.
As Parklife takes over Heaton Park this weekend, Sacha will be behind the scenes in the command centre making sure that the 80,000 festival goers have the time of their lives, safely and securely.
I caught up with Sacha for the latest episode of my Mind Your Own Business podcast recently. We talked about running huge music events and the night-time economy in Manchester.
Hearing him talk about the challenges presented by drug use, and his open and honest approach to it, it’s clear why the Warehouse Project and ParkLife continue to thrive. Rather than shying away from the drug-use issue, he pushes out educational content and messaging to ensure that anyone attending his events has the knowledge behind them.
‘Superclub boss saves lives’
He told me that following the death of a club-goer due to a ‘bad batch’ of illegal drug ecstasy, he went against the advice of the PR team to speak out to educate other clubs and clubbers about the dangers of this bad batch and beyond. There were a number of deaths in the North West because of tablets that had been laced with something called PMA. Sacha, against the advice of his team, called a press conference to spread the messaging about this batch in the hope of preventing more deaths. Unfortunately, the media didn’t share his idea and he was faced with headlines like: ‘Super club drugs death boss speaks out.’ However, DJs including Fat Boy Slim and the public spoke out in his support. In reality that headline should have read: ‘Superclub boss saves lives.’
At the end of that season, as he was leaving the Warehouse Project, a voice called his name. It belonged to a woman who’d been at the club, who told him that that was the first night she’d been out and not done drugs because she’d seen all of the messaging that he had been putting out.
Whilst others continue to shy away from the issue, the approach has stayed with Sacha ever since. Now, in the lead up to Parklife this weekend, his team are pushing out the same messaging, educating people about drug use and the consequences.
I can’t imagine the number of lives he has saved with this approach.
I thoroughly enjoyed reminiscing about the old Manchester club scene with Sacha, looking back to the Hacienda and JW Johnsons. The episode is available to download and stream on iTunes and Spotify, links to other podcast providers are below too. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the chat.
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