The rise of New Year’s Day clubbing

Published in Refinery29 on December 29, 2015

New Year’s Day: hangover chill day on the sofa, with a box set and the leftover Quality Street, watching shit films and bemoaning the fact that you’re starting the year not as your best self… right? Wrong. New Year’s Day is now the perfect occasion… to go clubbing.

In the last couple of years, the 1st of January has started to oust New Year’s Eve as the biggest party event of the year. Any club worth its warehouse-space now proffers a New Year’s Day line-up at least as good as the one for NYE – if not better. And this is no London-centric trend: some of the biggest nights are to be found in Manchester, Bristol and Leeds.

“Our first NYD event was a big [daytime] one in 2014, at Tobacco Dock [in London] with a massive line up. There were a few other promoters that were doing NYD events in London but nothing substantial,” explains Alice Favre, of promoter LWE (London Warehouse Events). “For us, it was momentous, [proving] nightclubs can actually be ‘dayclubs’.”

That’s something Giles Smith knows all about, as a DJ and founder of secretsundaze – who run daytime clubbing events on Sundays, no less – they also hosted their first NYD party last year. “It’s an antidote to the really over-hyped and quite often disappointing NYE experience, where ticket prices are crazy and taxis are double fares…”

Might NYD actually be better than NYE? “Yes, one hundred per cent,” claims Giles. “We were getting tired of NYE parties where the crowd [was] people who often didn’t come the rest of the year, and less of the core crowd.” As a DJ, he also enjoys swerving the pressure for the big midnight track: “On NYD, there’s not the pressure for this big cheesy moment – which suits us.”

This year, their NYD event is, like most others, in the evening rather than the daytime, reflecting the fact that the 1st of January falls on a Friday, meaning you can go all night and still have the weekend to recover. As someone whose 30th birthday falls on NYE, I plan to take full advantage of this – pub party on NYE, and a proper dance on NYD, at We Concur’s event headlined by Daphni (aka Caribou).

But who can I expect to share the dancefloor with – are NYD clubbers mad-heads who just rave from the 31st till the 2nd without so much as glancing at their beds? Or are these discerning ravers, who keep their energy back for the excesses of NYD?

Probably a bit of both. Alice reckons that the majority of NYD clubbers stay in the night before, describing it as “a breath of fresh air for most people, not feeling like they have to go out on NYE with all the other ‘annual clubbers’.”

That was the approach Phil, 30, who lives in Bristol, took. “I just went out for a meal the night before; [on NYD] we all had a really big brunch with prosecco – the combination gives you plenty of energy!” And Phil was also pleasantly surprised to discover the club wasn’t just full of chemically-enhanced meatheads foaming at the mouth after 24 hours of going hard… “It felt to me that [the crowd] weren’t still wasted from the night before; it all felt reasonably controlled actually.”

Sonia, 29, was at LWE Tobacco Dock party in 2014, and was thoroughly won over by the 1st of January celebrations; she plans to head to The Hydra’s event with Ame and John Talabot this year. Like many people, she’s not a massive fan of NYE in general…

“My NYE experience peaked at age 15 when I got steaming drunk on a beach, and decided to run into the sea, fully clothed… I was soaking wet and drunk and it was dark and cold and awful. And that was still the best of them; it’s all been downhill from there. So I like the idea of partying during the day, with no baggage and no expectations!”

Going out, getting wasted and dancing for 10 hours straight is pretty much the direct opposite of what we’re meant to do on the 1st of Jan: begrudgingly jot down our New Year’s resolutions, no doubt including pledges for greater sobriety. Might that be part of the appeal of going out instead – a big middle-finger up to gym memberships and detox diets?

To be fair, there may be little overlap with the self-improvement brigade and the enthusiastic clubber anyway. “I’ve never tried to make New Year’s resolutions,” says Phil. “Partying to really good music is definitely one of my favourite pastimes though, so to start a year like that makes me feel really invigorated!”

And if you’re a clubber with true stamina, Alice points out that this year, LWE have “been really bold and decided to do a party on 2nd January, as it’s a Saturday!” Might the day-after-the-day-after NYE become the next big one? I’ll get back to you about that on the 3rd January… if I’m still awake.

Scroll on for some of the best New Years Day clubbing picks from across the UK.



For a daytime option, LWE at Tobacco Dock in East London (12pm till 10.30pm) boasts Maceo Plex’s project Dream, Don’t Sleep – sound advice! – with German deep house duo Ame, techno DJ Adam Beyer, and resident Anja Schneider spinning in a car park.

After-dark, head east to The Hydra at Studio Spaces, also featuring Ame and the reliably enjoyable John Talabot (11pm till 9am). Or get down to Shapes in Hackney Wick for secretsundaze, with fast-rising house favourite Leon Vynehall (10pm till 6am). Push right on through at We Concur & Avant Garde at Bankside Vaults in south London; Daphni headlines with more deep house from Dixon and the eclectic DJ Koze (9pm till 11am).



NYD clubbing proves Manchester really is a Northern powerhouse… Celebrate a decade of the Warehouse Project; Adam Beyer headlines, alongside techno DJ Nina Kraviz, and dubstep pioneer Skream (5pm till 5am). Two of the UK’s most crowd-pleasing house DJs, Julio Bashmore and Heidi, are at Albert Hall (8pm till 4am), or see in 2016 like it’s 1998 with Fatboy Slim, Basement Jaxx and Todd Terry at Sankeys at Victoria Warehouse (9pm till 5am).



Representing on the east coast (ahem), is Leeds’ Mono_cult, whose NYD event at Canal Mills boasts a discerning line-up: Nina Kraviz, John Talabot, and Midland (9pm till 5am). This one’s gonna get emotional: it’s Mono_cult’s last ever night…



Shindig dig deep for NYD at Digital, featuring ice-cool German techno courtesy of Ben Klock and Pan-Pot; don’t miss a DJ set from Brit-in-Berlin George FitzGerald too, whose album Fading Love was one of 2015’s best examples of smart but accessible house (8pm till 4am). Sehr gut!



Let it Bleed have booked Todd Terje, which is very good news for revellers – his disco-inflected sound is guaranteed to put a smile on any clubber’s face; Ben Pearce provides the appropriate support (9pm till 3am; venue tbc).



Bristol knows how to throw a party, and In:Motion have assembled a line-up to please the serious raver, from Adam Beyer and Ame (again – no rest for the wicked!) to the likes of veteran DJ Sasha and Joy Orbison (6pm till 6am).


Where next?