Only when you've been to Block9 can you truly appreciate just how wonderful it is. Until now, the only way to engage with this jaw-dropping, queer disco village was once a year at Glastonbury. Block9’s different venues – NYC Downlow, London Underground, Genosys and others – have truly become the heart and soul of the world’s greatest festival. And now it’s coming to London for the party of the year.
On December 9 and 10, Block9 will land at east London’s Royal Docks. It will officially open The Silver Building in Silvertown, a 50,000 sq ft brutalist warehouse that has been reborn as a shared workspace offering affordable studios and more in an area of the city on the cusp of transformation.
In keeping with their ability to persuade the best selectors to join the party, Block9 have lined up some of the finest underground DJs – both veterans and first-timers – from all over the world for the two-day bash. It’s worth marvelling at the timings of the parties too: Saturday’s starts at 2pm and runs for 18 hours until 8am Sunday morning. Then just four hours later, Sunday’s starts and runs for another 12 hours until midnight, with a whole new line-up.
The hours reflect just how Berghain-esque this whole weekender will be. Similarly, punters expecting the huge, towering and detailed sets of Block9 at Glastonbury should recaliberate now – this will be a proper, lights-down, black box warehouse rave. All the while featuring performers and crew from NYC Downlow will be a big part of the weekend, such as host and London legend Johnny Woo, while all funds raised go to the Downlow’s charitable campaigns, which remarkably have raised over £63,000 in ten years.
There will also be an accompanying exhibition held in conjunction with the Royal College of Art, during the weekend. Such is their status, Block9 even host a module with the university. ‘As artists, we explore the space where music and art collide. All of our creations orbit around this specifically,’ explains Gideön Berger, the creative force behind Block9, alongside Stephen Gallagher. After the party’s over, Block9 will set up home in the building, basing their workshop and studios in Silvertown.
With 750 staff and 50,000 punters passing through the Block9 field at Glastonbury every year, Berger is experienced in putting on parties on the scale of this December weekender. And clearly, he relishes it too: ‘The amount of love, blood, sweat and tears that have gone into it all so far is unfathomable. Musically, as well, it’s just a wet dream...’
Block9 NYC Downlow Warehouse Weekender is on Dec 9-10. Tickets go on sale on Wed Nov 15 and cost £35.