Sanctuary: The Milton Keynes music venue that shaped the EDM scene

    The Sanctuary Music Arena was a major part of the national music scene from the 1990s up until its closure in 2004.

    The 22,000 sq ft Bletchley-based Sanctuary was in a warehouse that was originally built for industrial use but later was repurposed into a dedicated music venue. Sanctuary was home to its first rave in December 1991, when Dreamscape was hosted there. 

    It quickly developed a reputation for being the place to be for a good rave. 

    As thousands of people descended on the venue, Sanctuary had to close in the Autumn of 1992 for redevelopment to take place. It reopened in December of that year complete with bars, an extra dance arena, with an Ancient Rome theme running throughout it. 

    In the years following its reopening, Sanctuary became a key part of the EDM scene - hosting raves of 4,000 people each time. 

    It was favoured for its 12-hour licence, meaning that partygoers could dance for 12 hours straight if they wanted to. 

    Big dance promoters including Helter Skelter, Cream, Hardcore Heaven, and Sidewinder often hosted nights there. 

    Lots of live music acts performed at the Sanctuary over the years including The Prodigy, Paul Weller, Gary Newman and many more. 

    However, it had to close in 2004 due to redevelopment plans for the area, but the legacy of Sanctuary certainly lives on.

    This was the case in 2008 when hundreds of ravers took to IKEA, the site of the former music venue, and had an indoor rave in the rug department!

    A YouTube video showing the flash mob has received thousands of views.

    Milton Keynes has been home to many iconic nightclubs and venues over the years, also including the Empire in The Milton Keynes Leisure Plaza. 

    MKFM shared a video of what life was like inside the Empire nightclub and you can watch it here

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