Countdown on for Leeds nightlife as club promoter plans huge opening weekend at Mint Warehouse
It's been 15 months since Leeds DJ and promoter Josh Demello last threw a big club party.
As the pandemic hit, Josh went from hosting legendary 24-hour parties across Leeds with his company Ruckus24, to fearing his career would never get back on its feet.
The countdown is now on for the reopening of Leeds nightlife and Josh is gearing up to host the opening Saturday at the renowned nightclub Mint Warehouse.
The event will celebrate the end of lockdown on Saturday July 24 if restrictions are lifted as planned that week.
Josh is throwing everything into making it a "monster night" after the disappointment of the June 21 unlocking date being pushed back.
"It's been heartbreaking," the 32-year-old said.
“I took normal life for granted and everything was taken away - everything I love and that I’m passionate about.
“It’s been a scary time for everyone in the industry, that uncertainty of not knowing whether everything will get back on its feet again.”
Josh grew up in Hyde Park, but his career has taken him all over the world - from a stint with Ministry of Sound in Egypt to seven years in Ibiza, where he was a resident at Amnesia and Cafe Del Mar.
He was out every night in Leeds as a youngster, he admits, and fears young people are missing out on the experiences he got to have.
"It’s something they haven’t got to do," Josh added.
"We need to get back on our feet. You don’t stop dancing because you get old, you get old because you stop dancing!"
Adapting to life locked down in Leeds was a challenge, but Josh praised the initiative of the city's events industry, from the outdoor festival Chow Down to a new roof-top venue that has opened this weekend.
Josh added: “All the venues in Leeds have been working so hard to keep up with the new laws and venues have spent money to adapt.
“Before the pandemic, different clubs and promoters in Leeds were rivals in a way. But it’s been amazing to see everyone get together and support each other now.
"We’re all in the same boat and we’re working together to come up with different ideas. I’m feeling hopeful for July 19.”
Mint Warehouse was refurbished just two months before the first lockdown and the venue's team are opening new rooms for the opening event.
Josh will perform among a line-up of DJs at the Ruckus24 opening party, including Rossko, Rossi, Bobby O'Donnell. He's planning to make it a night to remember, with an after-party running into Sunday.
“It’s gonna be a bit of a monster night," Josh said.
"I’ve been out of action for so long, so I’m putting all my effort into making it the biggest event I’ve done.
“When I started Ruckus24, I wanted to bring the clubbing community back to Leeds. We’re about running good-quality nights where everything is run perfectly, from the moment people walk in they’re greeted with a friendly atmosphere.
“I hope we can just stay open and continue. It’s important for so many people’s mental health - this is what we love, what we eat, breathe and sleep.
“The city is buzzing at the moment and DJs and producers have been working really hard over lockdown, so it will be exciting to hear lots of new music.”
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