The onetime base of Manchester, England label Factory Records is to re-open as a live music venue and club entitled FAC 251 - the Factory.
A joint venture between former Joy Division/New Order bassist Peter Hook and U.K. club operators Tokyo Industries, the venue opens on Feb. 5 with a headline performance from the Light - a one-off live collaboration featuring Peter Hook, Mani from the Stones Roses and Primal Scream, Rowetta from former Factory band Happy Mondays and reformed drug dealer-turned-celebrity author Howard Marks.
The band is expected to play a selection of material from Hook's catalog including songs by Joy Division and New Order.
Located on Princess Street in central Manchester, FAC 251 will have a maximum capacity of 850 spread across three floors and has undergone a £1.1 million ($1.7 million) refurbishment, which has been overseen by original Factory architect Ben Kelly, the designer of Factory's infamous live music venue/club the Hacienda, which closed for business in 1997. For live gigs maximum capacity is 400.
Formed in 1978 by the late Antony H. Wilson, Factory Records was one of the U.K.'s most successful indie labels throughout the late 1970s and 1980s scoring success with Joy Division, New Order and Happy Mondays. The label closed in 1992 due to well-chronicled mismanagement, brought on in part by huge losses accumulated by the Hacienda.
Today, the Factory brand lives on solely in the form of the Factory Foundation, a Manchester-based music charity organization and a series of touring club nights that trade under the Factory/Hacienda banner. Peter Hook owns the licensing rights to both the Hacienda and Factory brand names.
"What this cannot be would be a yellow and black striped homage to the Hacienda," Aaron Mellor, managing director of Newcastle-based Tokyo Industries who in addition to FAC 251 own 14 other venues in the U.K., tells Billboard.biz. "That's not what we're trying to do here."
"In a day when record companies aren't really putting much money into propagating new talent, it's important that someone's looking after new bands and that they've got a stage where they can play," he continues. "It's about giving something back to the bands and making sure that we've got a new credible venue in Manchester that the new wave of Manchester music talent can come through."
Prior to its refurbishment as a live venue, FAC 251 served as the Factory Record's head quarters from 1990 to 1992 and was memorably featured in the 2002 Michael Winterbottom film "24 Hour Party People." The name FAC 251 derives from the building's original number in the Factory cataloging system.
A full roster for future events at the venue will be announced in the coming weeks.