The culmination of 20 years of Newcastle’s rave, doof, and party scene
Late last year we caught up with Sam of Witchhouse Newcastle to hear about his approach to communicating all of the best (and unique) live music, DJ sets, and parties happening across the Hunter region.
Today, we’re catching up with Sam to hear about his newest addition to our local scene, the launch of Made From Steel – a book showcasing the past 20 years of Newcastle’s rave, doof, and party scene.
“Originally, the idea was to just cover the last 10 years since that was all I knew. But then, once I started talking to some people, in particular the older crowd, I really got to learn what Newcastle was like before lockout laws came in. I could see that there was a story there of the pre-lockout heights, the fall and then a rise again.
“Newcastle actually had a really big breaks and house genre scene and loads of tiny little venues that people would play at. Newcastle was flaring, but then lockout laws were introduced, and all of those smaller venues shut down and the nightlife economy as a whole that comes with people staying out later stopped as well.
“From what I saw, it wasn’t until years later when Sundae Fundaze launched that we see things start to come back. Then we would see all of these fringe parties trying to relearn how to throw these gigs in Newcastle. A new generation of DJs, photographers, and event coordinators almost had to relearn how to make things fun again,” Sam said.
For the past 12 months, Sam has been chasing up contacts across a 20-year timeframe of Newcastle’s rave, doof, and party scene. Getting anecdotes, behind-the-scenes tales, and visual content to share the ebb and flow, the highs and lows of our local scene.
“The smallest stone I would turn over would end up giving the best stories. The very first few photos from the early 2000s were on an online drive that a DJ, Melt Intermind, had sent through. I’d missed it and the link had expired so I wasn’t going to chase up. I decided to hit this guy up and see what he’s got, and this was honestly about a month before the book was due to go to print. I opened this link and it was all these incredible doof shots from outside Newcastle.”
The 136-page hardcover book will take readers on a trip down memory lane or open their eyes to a Newcastle some may never have known existed.
“This book chronicles the pre-lockout, lockouts, and current-day state of the Newcastle – the rave, doof, and nightlife scene with photos, stories, and anecdotes from the DJs, event organisers, and attendees that kept the scene alive. It’s impossible to fit every moment and memory into one book but I tried to include all the key events that has led up to now.”
Made From Steel is a complete labour of love and showcases Sam’s passion and excitement when it comes to Newcastle’s music scene, both past and present. With the sale of every book, all proceeds will go directly to Newcastle based charity, Soul Hub.
“I had done a bit of volunteering for Soul Hub when I was working shift work, since I would have random days off during the week. They were all really great people and I had never realised they do so much more than just food there. They have so many essential services available in there that people rely on.”
Available to purchase online now, keen local music scene individuals can officially get their hands on a piece of Newcastle history and proudly showcase the Made From Steel story in their homes.