Madchester was a music scene that developed in Manchester
, England, towards the end of the 1980s and into the early 1990s. The music that emerged from the scene mixed alternative rock
, psychedelic rock
and dance music
. Artists associated with the scene included New Order
, The Stone Roses
, Happy Mondays
, Inspiral Carpets
, 808 State
, The Charlatans
, The Fall
, A Guy Called Gerald
, and other bands. At that time, the Haçienda
nightclub was a major catalyst for the distinctive musical ethos in the city that was called the Second Summer of Love
The music scene in Manchester immediately before the Madchester era had been dominated by bands such as The Smiths, New Order, The Fall and James. These bands were to become a significant influence on the Madchester scene.
The opening of the Haçienda nightclub, an initiative of Factory Records, in May 1982 was also influential in the development of popular culture in Manchester. For the first few years of its life, the club played predominantly club oriented pop music and hosted gigs from artists including New Order, Culture Club, The Thompson Twins, and the Smiths. It had DJs such as Hewan Clarke and Greg Wilson and switched focus from being a live venue to being a dance club by 1986. In 1987 The Hacienda started playing House music with DJs Mike Pickering, Graeme Park: thisisgraemepark.com and "Little" Martin Prendergast hosting the Nude night on Fridays.
The Festival of the Tenth Summer in July 1986, organised by Factory Records, helped to consolidate Manchester's standing as a centre for alternative pop-culture. The festival included film-screenings, a music seminar, art shows and gigs by the city's most prominent bands, including an all-day gig at Manchester G-Mex featuring A Certain Ratio, The Smiths, New Order and The Fall. According to Dave Haslam, the festival demonstrated that "the city had become synonymous with ... larger-than-life characters playing cutting edge music ... Individuals were inspired and the city was energised; of it's [sic] own accord, uncontrolled" although Manchester was already fully energised.
The Haçienda went from making a consistent loss to consistently selling out by early 1987. During 1987, it hosted performances by American house artists including Frankie Knuckles and Adonis. Other clubs in the Manchester area started to catch on to House music including Devilles, Isadora's, Konspiracy, House, Soundgardens and Man Alive in the city centre, Bugsy's in Ashton-under-Lyne and the Osbourne Club in Miles Platting.
Another key factor in the build-up to Madchester was the sudden availability of the drug ecstasy in the city, beginning in 1987 and growing the following year. According to Dave Haslam: "Ecstasy use changed clubs forever; a night at the Haçienda went from being a great night out, to an intense, life changing experience".
By the late 1980s, the British music was symbolised by a robust sound such as a Duran Duran
and Spandau Ballet
and the pop music of Stock, Aitken and Waterman. The Guardian stated that 'The 80s looked destined to end in musical ignominy.'
The Madchester movement burgeoned, its sound was new and refreshing and its popularity soon grew.
Music by artists such as the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays began to chart highly in 1989 with New Order releasing the house-influenced Technique
, which topped the UK album charts.