Keeping The Faith: Wigan Casino (1973-1981)


With the closure of Stoke’s Golden Torch Club at 1973, Wigan Casino became the organic centre & religious home of Northern Soul. What it lacked into club-kudos it compensated for with utter capacity; at its’ height the club can play host into 2, 000 people with two operative dancefloors. Its’ closest rival was Blackpool Mecca,” yet this club opened normal hours did not host’allnighters’ as did the rest.

In addition to all this distance, the place had exceptional acoustics to match; a veritable theatre du danse. With its own elaborate, side-positioned balconies & domed-ceiling, this huge palace of faded elegance encouraged a civilization where the dance was as important as the songs genre. This tunes of course being contained of obscure, infrequent & successful tunes by your sub-mainstream soul-music scenes of Chicago & Detroit. It was loud, optimistic and fast. Considering that the efficacy of their natural acoustics,” DJs had to perform hard to find the noises right. Such has been the devotion of these clientele; yet another bad selection of track – maybe not fast/loud sufficient – supposed a rapid clearing of the dancefloor. This place huge strain about the DJs, developing a climate of fierce competition & rivalry between them royal online.

This stress to satisfy the continuous need for such tracks, or’stompers'(fast, loud, upbeat) as they were filmed, aided make the most distinctive ambience of this club. This ambience helped fuel, & was really fuelled by, the wide spread amphetamine culture that’d grown from great britain Mod scene at the 1960s.

The dancing became a legend on its’ own right, involving athleticism and also a odd tribalism having a group dynamic strange to outsiders. The amateurs – some 1500 of these would clap in unison at important issues in a track, usually applauding a DJ’s alternative with loud cheering. Perhaps not for nothing did the powerful US publication Billboard hail it as’The Best Disco In The World’ at 1978. The doors would open in 2.00 a.m. & the’all nighter’ would last till 8.00 a.m.

This thought of running an all-night session came from the club manager Mike Walker & resident DJ Russ Winstanley, that convinced team owner Gerry Marshall to check it out. When it became recognized, Wigan Casino was attracting busloads of buffs from all around the UK & beyond. Eventually, the doorway entrance times must be brought forward to ease the large queues which could build up outside; often six-people deep. This success brought C-Reative offshoots such as the formation of the clubs’ own record label, Casino Classics to showcase what had come to be known as the’Wigan Sound’. Russ Winstanley established his own groups of DJs, a lot unheard of & getting their very first fractures in the team.

At its’ elevation the team had in excess of 100,000 associates, prompting Mike Walker to suspend membership. From 1975 the’Saturday Soul-nighter’ was fortified with the addition of sessions on Monday, Wednesday & Friday nights. It lasted with the cult of this DJ, & also began which include live performances by artists like Jackie Wilson & Edwin Starr. From the late 1970s the team started moving into different genres, hosting a Punk night time on Thursdays. You will find even matinee performances from flying rock rings on Saturday afternoons.

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