Venue Review – Printworks, SE1

One of the biggest new venues launched this year, Printworks is a huge former printing press-turned-superclub/events space. At a time where nightlife/event venues in London have been placed in jeopardy for a variety of reasons, Printworks sprung up (seemingly out of nowhere) and has become a focal point for daytime events of all sizes.

It has held many events this year already with some incredible line-ups, with one of the most unique aspects that they’re all held during the daytime/late evening (from 1pm to 10pm). In addition to Dance Music events, Printworks also hold special events/ceremonies there too throughout the year, due to the various spaces within it has to offer. On the day I went, I was going to see Jamie Jones’ lauded Paradise series there and went with one of my friends who was equally as excited to see this place too.

Getting there is really easy – coming out of Canada Water station, there are lots of marshalls/placards there to direct to out and around Surrey Quays to get to the venue. Considering we got there quite early (around 2pm, as you get discounted ticket prices for getting there before peaktimes) there isn’t any waiting around and entry is really swift and quick.

The place is huge and the industrial feel makes it very unique – every nook and cranny looks like it has been left untouched from it’s printing days, you can still see the industrial doors/shutters that were used, and coupled with the modern lighting and speakers throughout the initial check-in/bar areas, really makes it feel special as you enter. Everything is clearly signed with directions to get you to where you need to go, you can’t really get lost, with ample spaces for the toilet, bar and chill-out areas (which there are many)

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The main centrepoint is the Main stage area – known as the ‘Press Halls’ – is essentially a long chute that is really, really long but around 100m or so in width. There are catwalks/balcony areas directly above this, which still have the old machinery booths there, with lighting rigs scattered on there and hanging from the roof. The somewhat-narrow funnel structure of this makes this so unique as no matter where you are within the venue – coming from the back as you enter, or even nearer the front towards the stage/DJ area – it doesn’t feel no less atmospheric no matter where you are. The same can be said about the lighting as it eally does give it a life of it’s own – when there is a build-up of music the place flashes black-and-white then bathes in Red/Yellow and then can change to Blue/Green strobe lighting for specific sets. It really is quite incredible.

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The soundsystem – massive speakers on either end of the rooms and scattered throughout the other areas – is really high-quality and not too much bass/treble ‘humming’ and it’s really high-quality. Given the huge space of the venue, the sounds come across more atmospheric and it is one of the best systems I’ve heard – almost festival-like quality of sound.

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A unique advantage of this kind of layout is that, parallel to the main stage area, is another chute-like area which has all the bars/sitting down areas, which is really easy to access as it’s literally just on the other side of the Press Halls area – it’s equally as large so it never felt too packed/rammed if you need to step away for a few minutes and grab a drink, with the sound is just as good so you don’t have to be amongst the crowds to still hear the music, compared to a Club area/room where you have to get through lots of people to one specific exit point.

On the other end of this Press Halls area is a little smaller area called the ‘Charge Bay’ that  has a few DJ’s playing more less-tempo music in there and is more low-key – I didn’t spend much time in this area but it has more of a Bar/Club room type of vibe than the main Press Halls area. In addition, there are other big areas scattered around – as well as a huge area outside for Smoking – so it does have enough spaces for different times of the day that you and friends might want to chill out etc

Printworks definitely gets my vote as one of the most unique and incredible places I’ve ever been to – given the heavyweight line-ups they’ve had and forthcoming in 2018 – the different areas, layout, incredible lighting and sound really make this a place worth going and would highly recommend it.

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