Fac 51 The Haçienda was more than a music venue, it was the birthplace of rave culture. The showroom factory turned club was iconic for its yellow and black striped tape, and shabby warehouse look. Established to challenge existing nightclubs, it offered a completely different style of nightlife within Manchester. Its popularity streamed from its originality, and unique music scene.
The club was financed by Factory Records, run by Tony Wilson. After the death of Joy Division’s lead singer, no one expected a comeback as successful as the newly branded band, New Order, whose recorded sales allowed The Haçienda to exist. It appealed to the city’s indie bands which labeled the city ‘Madchester’. The club saw some of the most famous bands and performers in history, such as the Smiths who performed there 3 times in 1989, and Madonna who showcased her first performance in the UK there in 1984.
What allowed the club’s popularity to soar, was the genre of house music. From 1987, when the club started showcasing house music from famous DJs such as Mike Pickering (M People), the club was full 7 days a week. It was essentially the drug culture surrounding this style of music that allowed the club to peak during the 1980s.
Drugs harboured some of The Haçienda’s highest points, but also some its lower times. The death of a teenager in 1989 due to ecstasy abuse led to enquiries into the security of the club. After briefly shutting down, it was reopened with stricter security controls. These security controls did not fit well with some of the previous club-goers, and drug dealers whose business was being limited. Doormen were being threatened after refusing entry, and violence was breaking out outside and inside the club. It had been taken over by drug gangs in search of money and power.
Financial issues also began to loom over the club. With most attendees paying entry and then taking illegal drugs, alcohol sales were not providing enough income to support The Haçienda, which was struggling to survive on profit from record sales alone. With financial issues and rising drug gangs, in 1997 Fac 51 The Haçienda was shut down for good.
The Haçienda was knocked down in 2002 and turned into apartments, however the club still remains legendary in rave culture. Through 15 years of famous DJs, drug abuse and club anthems, this club was an icon for Manchester in the 1980s and 1990s.