FOLD: The 24 Hour Party People Fighting Against License Revokes
Words: Johnny Fry
Illustration: Izzy Watson
The no-holds-barred, 24 hour day and night techno hotspot FOLD, celebrates not having to turn off its state of the art sound system for good.
You can’t stop, you won’t stop, you didn’t stop the party. In the face of recent license revokes, this hums like a lullaby for dance music fans in London and further afield – although perhaps a rather fast pace, hard hitting one.
Known for hosting the likes of Jah Shaka – the pioneer of reggae soundystem culture – Zenker Brother's, OR:LA, DMX Krew and Nicholas Lutz, the club has not had an easy ride. On the 13th of November FOLD, located in industrial East London, took to Instagram to alert the community that their “license to operate has been suspended by Newham Council”. This came after serious accusations brought to them by the local licensing committee. Upon deeper delving it was revealed that the accusations were based on the founders of the club being involved in fraudulent activity. Should this shut down the projection of a budding dance music institution, or rather be the problem of the perpetrators? The shocking news came only days before one of their best parties yet – a Sunday all dayer featuring newly formed techno duo Karenn, a marriage between high-energy techno identities Blawan and Pariah, who had just recently released a killer dance-floor-ready album.
Despite these pressures FOLD retains it's notoriety between non-stop partiers and passionate early risers, with Red Bull naming them as one of the parties pushing Sunday raving forward. The old paint factories ethos 'inclusitivity, togtherness and dancing' is immortalised by FOLD’s Sunday all dayers, unFOLD, with a strict focus on hedonism. Their policies on no phones on the dance floor has been pushed one step further, Berlin style, by forcing party goers to put a sticker over the camera on their phone which upholds integrity and allows ravers to get loose and lose themselves without the fear of their bosses seeing it on social media. Contrary to the strict no phone or photos rules there is very lax policing once inside the venue. This reduces the paranoia of physically (and mentally) delving into the vibe. There is after all, nothing worse than bored security guards scrutinising your every move.
There is a great sense of trust when entering the doors of the dance. Half naked figures and body popping dance moves submerge you in wildness from the outset. The club is full of spirited eccentrically dressed souls with no restrictions. Leather. Chains. Latex. These attributes have welcomed LGBTQ+ communities to make the place their own.
However, the single best thing about the nightclub is the infrastructure: the main room with large bass bins blasting from each corner; a smoking area terrace that looks over a skip yard and most importantly the slits in the walls of the club which allow beams of natural light to blaze in as the sun comes up. Natures own strobe lights.
The longevity of FOLD’s existence is still laid down ambiguously. On the 5th of December they had their license revoked but are still allowed to operate while they appeal this decision.
Let us all stay in high hopes and high energy to keep this wonderfully indulgent party alive.