Dance Yrself Clean: Progressive Parties in Leeds

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Leeds certainly provides a good night out: an exciting network of DJs and forward-thinking promoters navigate a circuit of unique venues and formidable sound systems. In turn, the clubbing scene can be good at giving back to the community. In fact, this concept is central to a growing number of parties in the city as they strive to extend the warmth and compassion of the night beyond the dancefloor.

Brudenell Groove is a leading example in the scene, with the welfare of the community, as well as their attendees, at the heart of their parties. With a reasonable price of £5 for entry, the non-profit group are able to raise money for personally-selected charities like Crohn’s and Colitis UK and Leeds Asylum Seekers Support Network. A recent trip to the capital saw Brudenell Groove raise £1,000 for AKT, an organisation which provides safe homes for LGBTQ+ youth.

Image from Cosmic Slop’s Facebook

This sense of community is not just apparent in the figures raised for said charities, it is also felt on the dancefloor: the atmosphere is intimate and welcoming with any sense of elitism left at the door. The line-ups blur the boundaries between organiser and attendee, and resident DJs join the crowd throughout the night to big up each other’s sets. Indeed, it is merely an extension of the party that was started by a group of friends in a Hyde Park basement back in 2016.

A precursor of Brudenell Groove is Cosmic Slop – another locally-formed party that offers more than just a hedonistic night out. Taking place at Hope House Gallery in Mabgate, the event often sells out in advance. Its eclectic mix of dance music and its tip-top delivery has even garnered a sizeable following beyond its North Yorkshire base. As with Brudenell Groove, a sense of hierarchy is absent: DJs often remain unannounced until the night, tickets are distributed in a fair manner and the bouncers are refreshingly good-natured. Whilst Brudenell Groove has collaborated with a plethora of local and national charities across the years, Cosmic Slop works exclusively with Leeds’ very own MAP Charity. Short for ‘Music and Arts Production’, MAP provides alternative education to at-risk kids in the area, helping them to achieve BTEC qualifications. Cosmic Slop’s efforts have been seminal in securing the organisation’s future, raising both funds for and awareness of the campaign to save Hope House, a Grade I listed building, from the plans of developers. As one of the strongest nights out in Leeds, Cosmic Slop is thus uplifting in more ways than one.

“The atmosphere is intimate and welcoming with any sense of elitism left at the door.”

Other Leeds-based collectives are following in the footsteps of Brudenell Groove and Cosmic Slop, helping to nourish the scene of progressive partying. Take Puddles, for example. Puddles organises events across the city that offer “a safe party atmosphere that everyone can enjoy”. Again, all of the events’ proceeds go towards a good cause with MAP also being the charity of choice for Puddles. As a volunteer and member of the Board of Trustees, co-founder and resident DJ Lydia Aletha Lloyd-Henry sees it as a worthy cause. “They have such a good ethos for highlighting the importance of music and arts in education,” she says. “They also show the young people they teach the pathways to careers in these fields”.

With parties like Brudenell Groove, Cosmic Slop and Puddles within its perimeters, Leeds is fostering a wave of accessible and wholesome clubbing, one two-step at a time.

What’s next? The next Puddles event takes place on the 4th October at Mabgate Bleach, 10pm-late.

Header Image: Safi Bugel