By Max Clarke
Ministry of Sound is a flagship for British youth culture; an iconic brand that includes the world’s most famous club, the world’s largest independent record label, and a multimedia entertainment business, all directed from the company’s South London home.
2011 is a significant milestone in Ministry of Sound’s continuing evolution marking the 20th anniversary of the South London venue opening its doors as an alcohol-free nightclub dedicated to house music on 21st September 1991 (the former bus depot at 103 Gaunt Street remains the beating heart of the company’s worldwide operations).
To celebrate 20 years at the forefront of modern youth culture, Ministry of Sound has announced the 20:20 Project, an extensive range of activity throughout 2011 which includes a free month-long exhibition, a 3 day party celebrating the birthday at the London venue in September, a 20 date international tour, a fully searchable online timeline of the club over past 20 years and much more.
The 20:20 Project launches on 4th March with a free daytime exhibition and multi-media experience at the club, bringing to life the evolution of youth culture and dance music over the past 20 years. Showcasing a unique archive of photography, design, and featuring contributions from some of the biggest names in dance music, the exhibition is a must for anyone interested in youth culture, electronic music and the future of late night London.
A year-by-year montage of iconic images (many unseen and sourced from DJs, promoters, and photographers) of the past two decades, with accompanying commentary provided by key individuals and DJs who were intrinsic to the club’s creation and development.
In association with Martin Audio, the company responsible for the club’s infamous customised soundsytem, the exhibition also highlights Ministry of Sound’s position as one of the leading pioneers of audio technology, with a multi-media installation in The Box (the club’s main room) which features a range of artifact displays and a 5.5 metre LED wall made by Martin.
Ministry of Sound is also offering visitors the chance to play a track on the club’s system and experience what it feels like to stand in the legendary DJ booth in the shoes of Pete Tong, David Guetta, Roger Sanchez, Larry Levan, Sasha and the rest of the world’s superstar DJs, accompanied by projections, CO2 cannons and sound effects to recreate Saturday night headline slots.
The club’s Baby Box room will be returned to its original incarnation as a cinema, with two short films about Ministry of Sound’s history, featuring interviews with leading clubland figures from the past two decades. The exhibition runs until 1st April.
The wider calendar of 20:20 Project activity, including details of the birthday weekend celebration in September, international tour events, album releases, and more, will be announced in due course.
Ministry of Sound Group Managing Director Iain Hagger said:
“There is no better way to experience the essence of Ministry of Sound than by standing in the club's main room (The Box) in the middle of the towering speaker stacks and triple thick sound absorbing walls listening to the world's greatest DJ's play the world's best music on the world's best soundsystem. 20 years on and excellence in sound is still what we stand for. The 20:20 Project celebrates our history but also looks forward - the new music, talent and technology that will shape dance music for the next 20 years - and the role that we'll continue to play in creating those euphoric hands-in-the-air moments.”