It’s a Tuesday night and a blue line on an iPhone leads us around the streets and pathways of Hulme, just south of Central Manchester. As we get closer to our destination, the muffled sound of bassy hip-hop echoes in a graffiti-smothered underpass.
When we reach the light at the end of the tunnel, we’re in the middle of a motorway roundabout, where producer and DJ Metrodome is set up under a small marquee. As the sun lowers in the sky, reggae and dub pumps through the speakers, and food on the barbecue eventually begins to sizzle. Tonight’s gathering was conceived by an anonymous affiliate of Manchester’s Levelz crew – the 14-strong music collective who’ve been generating hype across the UK and beyond – after he’d discovered a stray plug in the underpass. Deciding that it was an opportunity too good to miss, the crew hooked up a sound system and distributed the postcode via text messages, Facebook and Whatsapp to tip off their audience without attracting too much unwanted attention.
A lot of the attendees look like students (it’s been promoted as an end of term party) but they’re a mixed group of kids – some rock Supreme and man-bags while others don dreadlocked hair. A suited businessman, who’s likely wandered into the situation on his way home from work, decides to settle down and catch the vibe.