Through its unpretentious, music-first policy, The North Warehouse in Portland, Oregon has emerged as the dominant force in the Pacific Northwest EDM scene. Loved by all who cross its path, the venue has nurtured a community of likeminded partygoers, drawn to its forward-thinking programming, unique atmosphere and its big Funktion-One sound system.
Located in an old shipbuilding warehouse with 40-foot aged redwood ceiling and exposed beams, the venue features the main 3,000m2 event space and an adjoining 1,500 m2 outdoor area. Its unique to be able to have a large indoor and private outdoor area and two stages going at the same time. In addition to music events, The North Warehouse hosts film and photography shoots, trade shows, weddings, and other events.
The North Warehouse is the brainchild of Scott McElroy. Having taken over the venue in January 2020, plans were severely curtailed by the outbreak of Covid-19 two months later. Without any income or Government support, it has been a real fight for survival – a fight that is now paying off with back to back sold out shows, a vibrant community and growing reputation with artists and promoters.
Scott comments: “There are very few independent venues that have survived, especially in the Pacific Northwest, and we’ve emerged as the predominant EDM venue and that has a lot to do with the sound system.
“I’ve always been a big music fan and an audiophile. My first sound systems were Klipsch and Turbosound, which gave me the appreciation of horns and point source. I started getting into the EDM scene, going to Burning Man and festivals all over the world, and really started digging on production and sound system culture. That led me to Funktion-One. When I decided to open the warehouse, I knew that was the sound system I wanted.”
The Funktion-One sound system at The North Warehouse features six Evo 7s, 10 F221 bass enclosures and two F132 sub bass speakers, with two flown AX88s providing infill at the back of the room. Two Res2 and a pair of F121s ensure the DJ/performance space has monitoring to match the main system.
“I remember seeing Funktion-One one emerge after Turbosound and always found the look of the point source systems fascinating,” Scott recalls. “I loved being at Burning Man, What The Festival (a big festival in Oregon), and I started seeing more and more Funktion-One, and traveling to different festivals around the world like Envision, Shambhala and I kept seeing and hearing Funktion-One. There are many great sound systems but I prefer the sound of Funktion-One the best. It’s a very warm sound, which reminds me of a good reference point for a lot of the music I grew up on – blues, soul, hip hop, reggae and of course electronic.
“There are some cool venues here, but the sound systems don’t always match the venue. Here, we’ve taken inspiration from old school rave style warehouses I experienced in London, Chicago, NYC and kept the raw cavernous feel which gives a very authentic non-club experience. We have fire performers outside, flow zones, active harm reduction, incredible cocktails, and lots of space to dance and explore. It was a struggle to keep up the faith in what we wanted to accomplish during our Covid lockdown, but we pushed forward and installed a massive sound system, huge video wall, state of the art lighting rigs and focused on booking all the top talent that we can. We’re pushing the envelope in terms of our programming and we’re getting a lot of respect in return. I really couldn’t have done this without an incredible staff of the top industry talent and promoter partners. We are a very tight knit family that share the same vision and are dedicated to bringing our community back together.”
Since the venue has been able to open to its full 1,200 capacity, it has welcomed a host of cutting-edge artists. We are honored to be so supported by long time close partner artists, agents, management, promoter partners and other industry leaders. We have hosted some of our favorite artists: Of The Trees, Charles The First (RIP), EPROM, G Jones, Ant-ten-nae, The Glitch Mob, Ivy Lab, Troy Boi, Malaa, Gorgon City, and many others.
As The North Warehouse continues to grow its reputation as a hub of electronic and alternative music culture, it is also planning to expand its offering with the addition of its East Annex space into an intimate, Boiler Room-style venue. “The Boiler Room style has experienced a big comeback as it connects the audience and artist on the floor versus a traditional high stage with the audience only in front of the artist. This concept brings everyone together and creates a more intimate vibe.
We are looking forward to deploying our Funktion-One sound systems this summer and beyond at various festivals throughout the Pacific Northwest.
“Our aim is to be a reference point venue, with Funktion-One sound at the heart of everything we do. After two very difficult first years, we’re very happy to be open, putting on shows and connecting with our people. I’m excited about what lies ahead.”