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6 years and counting: meet Sticky Feet Leeds

6 years and counting: meet Sticky Feet Leeds

Andrew Kemp | Features & Interviews

If you’re a Leeds student, there’s a good chance you’ve found yourself with Sticky Feet at least once on your clubbing travels. One of the most popular events in the city for six years now, Sticky Feet has made its home on Friday nights and insisted on making itself a weekly pilgrimage spot for any hardworking or hard playing students looking for a bit of Friday night fun. Focussed on bass-driven sounds dealt out by a talented group of resident DJs, Sticky Feet is gearing up for its biggest ever party, when it takes to Church for a sold out session this month. Excited to find out what’s in store for the experts in hedonism, we caught up with Danny Harrison and his business partner Dan Hills to discuss their plans.

This will be the biggest Sticky Feet event in six years, and has already sold out! How do you ensure that the scale-up runs smoothly?
Six years! Crazy. We are lucky enough to throw parties of all sizes for a living and I’ve personally been involved in events catering for up to 4000 people so we just take it in our stride to be honest. We’re more focusing on how on earth we can make the whole experience crazier than our usual weekly madness. Luckily we have some pretty spicy things up our sleeves!

Church is still a relatively new spot in Leeds, but has already gained a hefty reputation thanks to nights with Back To Basics and various house superstars. What makes it such a special place?
Don’t get me wrong, the brands & artists that have been a part of Church have certainly helped make it special but I think it’s more the feeling you get when inside a venue that tells you how special it really is. Certain spaces instil excitement and those awe inspired feelings more than others and having been to Church it is certainly one of the front runners for this in Leeds. I experienced the venue prior to its serious transformation so I think having witnessed the space evolve into what it is today has helped make it feel really special in there. Putting Sticky Feet into the venue excites me beyond belief and everyone else involved in the night for that matter. We know the two brands are going to compliment each other incredibly well on the night and Church has been somewhat untouched by the bass scene so we’re seriously hyped to put it to the test. The fact you’re losing your inhibitions in a listed building is also pretty damn cool!

Sticky Feet differs from a lot of events in that it is not artist-led, instead drawing a crowd based on the quality of parties that have come before. What would you put down as the key elements in Sticky Feet’s success?
Where do I start with this one?! From the outset we wanted to make Sticky Feet into a big weekly show where students can come and know what they are going to experience for their money, we wanted them to really trust us to put on a f*cking good party! In a way the brand became a manifestation of mine & Dan’s (my business partner) personalities, it is very fun & doesn’t take itself too seriously yet still has an air of credibility about it - I think students were really attracted to that.

When we first started six years ago there was no weekly music led student event that focused on their resident DJs & stuck to a music policy. Dubstep was booting off at the time and no one else had picked up on this on a weekly basis without booking artists, so noticing and taking advantage of this massively helped us. One of the biggest parts in our success has to be the team that has been involved over the years - each and every single person has bought into the brand so much and really cared about its success. That is something you don’t always find but we have been lucky and it shows every single week. The hype on the build up to each Friday is insane and the DJ booth is crazy, people raving with Jack Daniels flying everywhere and that energy really flows into the crowd. We couldn’t have got to where we are today without all the people that have supported and danced with us over the years. Lastly, and probably most importantly is the Sticky Feet experience not just on the night but overall. The videos we have done nearly on a weekly basis for 6 years, the banter we have with customers on social media & in the queue, the stupid amount of inflatables we give out, the production, the absurd amount of confetti, the sound system, the music policy, the silly things we get the entire main room to do each week… it all combines to create this none serious beast of an event that people rely on & trust to throw huge party every week.

It’s unique, it’s somewhere that as a student first arriving in Leeds you will have never experienced before in your life, it’s called Sticky Feet… what’s not to love!?

It’s no secret that students like to party… How important do you think it is for students to blow off steam outside of their studies?
If, in my first year of uni, I’d studied rather than continuously blowing off steam then there’s a high chance I’d be a policeman now rather than throwing parties every single week for a living, I’ll let you determine whether that’s a good or bad thing! Life is all about balance, so if you can balance having a jam packed alcohol infused social calendar and still have time to keep on top of your uni work then absolutely go for it. We have hundreds of students that work with Fresh2Death and Sticky Feet and we encourage them to put uni before anything else, a lot of the time supporting them in doing so but that doesn’t stop us organising a plethora of socials to lead them astray throughout the year. I personally strongly believe some people take life far too seriously - enjoy it whilst you can, meet new people, try new things, leave your comfort zones, do that tequila shot that you know you shouldn’t, stay at Sticky Feet until 5am and if you can get up the next day and get stuck into uni work, then I salute you!

I think extortionate university fees have started making students take their courses far more seriously than they used to a few years ago, and rightly so, but it’s so important not to drain yourself with continuous education & studying - go let your hair down and remind your mates at how sh*t you are at dancing! Before you know it you’ll have a job and your employer might not be as understanding as your conscience!

How would you define the music policy at Sticky Feet?
Bass driven beats has always been how we’ve identified our music policy. The songs and to an extent genres we have played have changed and evolved over the years but everything we drop always has plenty of bass! Sounds that you can’t help but lose your shit to!

Can you tell us about a few memorable moments from previous parties?
I’ll be honest, the majority of my time spent at Sticky Feet has been spent drunk, so the memory bank is pretty hazy. If I had to pick some key ones I’d say firstly our fourth birthday with Pendulum, they absolutely blew the roof off, the crowd that night especially were insane. Our second ever week we did 250 people but we had to make sure we still threw a sick party for everyone - it ended up being and still is one of our favourite parties to date, we all had so much fun! By the end of it the whole DJ booth was in the crowd raving with customers until the early hours.

We went through a stage, I think in our second year, where every single person involved in the brand had to crowd surf - each week one or two people had to climb onto the DJ booth and dive on top of the crowd hoping they’d catch them. Some made it to the back of the room, some hit the deck straight away and others rocked up with a massive rubber dingy and dived out in that. The photos and videos we have of those nights are amazing and to avoid unwanted attention from the fun police shall remain in our private collection!

One of my personal highlights was when Anne, the female toilet attendant at The Warehouse, was celebrating her 78th birthday and it landed on a Friday! We got her in the DJ booth to try and get a happy birthday going for her - she’s quite small so we stood her on a box, got on the mic and told the crowd the plan. The place erupted! People were on shoulders, phone lights and lighters were up in the air and the entire venue sang happy birthday at the top of their voice, it was incredible! The look on her face was priceless and something I’ll probably never forget. Things like that just don’t happen at a regular student night, it really was special! Ask me this question again on Saturday 17th March (not too early) and I’ll without a doubt be including our Church event in this list, memory dependant of course!

Sticky Feet takes to Church on Friday 16th March, their biggest party since the brand first came to life in 2011. Expect inflatables, balloon drops, pyrotechnics, a live visual DJ performance, two rooms of music and CO2 & confetti shows as Sticky Feet spare no expense to make it their best event yet.

Photo courtesy of Sticky Feet

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