Sanctuary Forever bash will be history in the making

Posted 21st February 2024

It’s bonkers to think that this year is the 20th anniversary of the closure of The Sanctuary, but a whopping reunion is planned for November 2 and ready to raise the roof at the Marshall Arena, writes Sammy Jones.

The venue originally opened its doors back in 1991 and was the birthplace of the legendary Dreamscape raves.

It became a hub for ravers who flocked to the new town from around the country to enjoy mammoth 12 hour sessions of sounds. Despite its warehouse persona The Sanctuary was a palace for ravers and shaped the electronic scene before it was razed to make way for the MK Dons stadium.

The curtain came down on the venue on July 10, 2004 with a momentous last visit by Slammin Vinyl.

Grant Smith, Slammin Vinyl director recalled the venue in the pages of Milton Keynes – Wired For Sound: “It wasn’t a corporate venue like so many places these days, so you didn’t have the litany of rules and regulations that sometimes make current day venues seem quite oppressive.

“The music policy across our period was drum n bass, hardcore, old skool, hard trance and techno.

“We booked virtually everyone who was a name in the rave scene, from Grooverider and Goldie to Slipmatt and beyond.
“We made the site as big as possible,” he said remembering that very last date, “I won’t say how many we packed in, but we sold out a month in advance and could probably have sold 25,000 tickets if we’d had the space.”

Its loss in music was a devastating blow, but it has always remained at the forefront of the memories of the many thousands who spent time dancing their socks off at the haunt. It was more than just a place to congregate. It was a thriving social scene bringing the very best of the genre to the ears of the masses.

This November, for one night only, Sanctuary Forever: The Return to V7 Saxon Street will set hearts racing once more. Organisers are calling it ‘history in the making’ and quite right, too; the brand returns not only to the same city, but on the same land and at the same address where The Sanctuary once stood.

Quite simply, this bash will be the biggest 90s rave reunion for the past 20 years.

“The Sanctuary was the mecca of the rave scene and the home to both Dreamscape and Helter Skelter who were the biggest rave organisations in the UK and pioneers of the scene. It holds so many memories for so many across the country of their first experiences of raving,” a spokesman for the event told Pulse Music, “This event had to be put together to once more bring a national audience to our fair city to celebrate the amazing dance culture that MK had much influence in evolving into what we all now see as the global dance music movement and phenomenon.”

Organisers are pulling out all the stops for the sold-out 11-hour rave which will take place at the Marshall Arena. It will be a sensational meeting of musical creators and disciples, with headliners including Fabio & Grooverider and a very special guest.

“Revellers can expect magic, plain and simple!

“The original superstar DJs will be playing in a warehouse only 600m away from the original site of The Sanctuary,” the spokesman added, “We’ll have 5000 like-minded individuals celebrating as one.”

For the latest information make your way to the official FB page: @sanctuaryforevermk