REVIEW: The Secret ‘Illustrious Society’

The Illustrious Society, 3 May 2014 9pm-4am Secret Location, West Yorkshire

In a small Yorkshire town, hidden in the depths of an old industrial mill is a best kept secret. A party held once a month, showcasing the best DJ’s holding an intimate event of approximately 200 people.  What is also special about this place is the unusual decor, it resembles a small boutique indoor festival. The strangest, yet most amusing entrance to a room has to be a foam vagina, once you climb through you enter a chilled out area with floor cushions to get make yourself comfortable. Laser lights dance off the faces of the party goers, and as I look up I see handbags suspended from the ceiling. The main dance area is a large room with plenty of space to dance around and an extended bar area to the bar with a somewhat Caribbean feel serving a limited selection of cocktails as well as spirits, beers and cider. Perhaps the most interesting room of all, which houses the more chilled out of the dj’s, is home to an enormous dining table, set with plates, cutlery and flower arrangements aptly named The Board Room. The dj is in the middle of the table and chairs offer seating to those that need a break from the dancing or somewhere to roll a cigarette.

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This room is also where the activities take place.  At this Illustrious, which was the second one, there was a pass the parcel and archery.  The first Illustrious had a coconut shy! Prizes for the pass the parcel were somewhat unusual, only adding to the humour and included a bottle of amaretto, a gay porn book, a bag of rice and for the winner a fresh trout….yes you did read that correctly! It is a well kept secret, with invitation only, hence the name. All attendees had made an amazing effort with their steam punk and tweed outfits, knowing full well the policy of ‘no effort, no entry’. These clubbers were a grand set of people, full of fun without the knob-headed-ness you normally get. It was also noticeable that although some were locals, there were people who had come from Harrogate and over the border of Lancashire from Burnley and Manchester and even the Lakes.

You could almost be mistaken to think you were entering an awards ceremony as you approached the door of the venue.  After walking under a huge stone archway into the mill complex you then walked up a red carpet, with real fire lamps at either side.  Attention to detail is everything here, even down to the tickets, made from wood!  I have to mention that the security staff were also great, there to keep you feeling safe (not that you felt unsafe in any way) but in no way intrusive or threatening.

If I had to be picky, the only down side to this venue is the portaloos.  Although I guess it did give the clientele an opportunity for a cigarette whilst they waited….however, if it was raining I do not think everyone would have been as happy to do this.  Some of the attendees wore huge dresses and corsets to fit in with the theme and I can only imagine they struggled with the limited space within a portaloo!  However, if this is the only downside then heck! they are doing well.

Dj’s on the night included: Frank Lawson https://soundcloud.com/ralphlawson , Gemma Furbank https://soundcloud.com/gemma-furbank , Simon Dean, Richard Fowler in the main room.  The Board Room was hosted by The Vinyl Miners and DJ’s included Bodie, Kenny, Red Tin Dave, Banana Dave 

Here is what one DJ, Gemma Furbank had to say: “Honestly, had such a top night! The Steam Punk was top notch, wicked venue, wicked set of DJs, awesome atmosphere and crowd!  x”

The organisers responsible for Illustrious, I have been told, are taking a break now for the festival season….but will be back in August. Let’s hope they are, as it would be a shame to lose a gem such as this! B signoff

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