Review: A-Wing at Lancaster Castle

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Lancaster Castle played host to some top flight DJs and a definite party atmosphere over the Bank Holiday weekend.

The opening night on Friday featured Radio 1’s Rob da Bank on the turntables, and the excitement was palpable inside the castle’s former prison.

Sound and lighting, courtesy of Lancaster’s 118 Audio, ensured the music could be heard from all corners of the two storey prison wing, with the DJ presiding above on the third floor.

The lighting turned a grey and clinical area into something resembling an alien mothership, and bar staff were dressed in orange “prison fatigues”.

Ageing as I am, and having lost the ability to dance solidly for several hours to repetetive beats, I was impressed with the music style, and coupled with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, it made for a great party.

There was a special, exclusive feel to the night, exacerbated by the idea that this was a real treat - a pop up club, in a prison, in a 1,000 year old castle. And all legal, and right here in Lancaster.

The outdoor area within a small courtyard also provided an unrivalled experience and location for those taking a breather or having a smoke.

The toilet facilities will need to be improved given the permanent and at times confused festival style queues for the four portaloos in the courtyard, and there were some grumbles at the £25 entry fee. But this looked and felt like a well executed and thought out event in one of the country’s finest buildings.

I left the castle at 2.30am, and it was quiet around the John O’ Gaunt gate, with plenty of security ensuring a prompt and speedy departure.

Saturday and Sunday saw further shows from James Zabiela and Derrick Carter, I’m guessing they went well.

I couldn’t hear the music as I walked down Castle Hill, but there’s no doubt these events will cause a stir both locally and nationally as some decry a “rave” in a listed building, while others say, “Wow, this is exactly what Lancaster needs”.

By Nick Lakin