After the tragic death of Nick Bonnie at the Warehouse Project’s opening weekend – which also saw 15 other ravers hospitalised – the club’s organisers held a press conference today in Manchester to discuss the changes to the venue, and what the Warehouse Project plans to do to prevent such incidents in the future.
Nick Bonnie, 30, of Stroud, Gloucestershire, died after taking a drug, thought to be ecstasy. 15 other revellers were also hospitalised over the two events, including one drug dealer who managed to swallow several bags of drugs, he was then rushed to hospital where he later made a full recovery.
Sam Kandel and Sacha Lord Marchionne, who run the event, outlined a new policy whereby drugs seized at the venue will be tested onsite to establish what sort of substances are being taking by music fans, with the view to use the information to better educate people on what they are taking and the risks involved.
Whilst the new initiative doesn’t go as far as allowing recreational users to test their drugs without the fear of arrest – which is currently used to great effect in the other EU countries – the new initiative is a step in the right direction and is the first such system to be adopted by a UK club.
Speaking about the tragedy, Sacha Lord Marchionne said his team were “devastated” by the death, and confirmed he and his team had even considered closing the event after the weekend’s tragic events.
“We considered it. We spoke at length about it.
“We have about 5,000 customers and if it isn’t happening they are not going to stay in, they are going to go elsewhere.
“Ninety nine per cent of other places don’t have private police on the door, drug sniffer dogs and don’t search everyone or have paramedics on site.
“My argument is this is a safer environment for customers to be in than the majority of other places,” he added.
Elsewhere the club’s organiser have stated that they will be installing better ventilation in the venue after many attendees stated that the venue was unbearable hot and might have contributed to weekend’s incidents.
Personally we’ve attended the venue numerous times and it’s clear to us that WHP is incredibly well run by an experienced team – but there are instances on more popular nights where it feels overcrowded and way too hot. So much so I rather embarrassingly feinted on the opening night last year. I was quick whisked to an awaiting onsite ambulance and patched up within minutes. Thankfully all I suffered was a slight cut and bruised ego. But, personally, I cannot speak more highly of the staff who came to my rescue.