Bionic prides itself on being the first to unleash the hottest European DJs onto our shores. Almost every leading hardstyle and European hard trance DJ has played their first UK set at Bionic and then goes on to find fame in the UK soon after.
The concept behind Bionic came about as Brian used to buy his tunes from Catapult 100% Vinyl in Cardiff where Cally was then in charge of the hard dance department. Brian struck up a conversation by saying he was thinking of putting on his own event, and that he had been told by several people that if he was going to do this he should talk to Cally first, as he was already DJing at many big events. Brian offered a partnership and without hesitation Cally agreed.
Although the boys were confident even in the early days, they decided to start small and booked a small capacity club called the Basement. For their first event on 7 July 2000, they booked a few decent names who were well known locally, including Big Al, known currently for his radio show on Kiss FM.
Despite Bionic being a new name in the Welsh clubbing scene, the event still managed to fill to capacity, as did the second event with M-Zone on the headline. They decided that because of the popularity of the event, it would have to be at a bigger venue, and so the boys took it to Clwb Ifor Bach, otherwise known as the Welsh Club. The capacity here was bigger and gave the Bionic promoters more scope, as well as having a decent sized second room which they were hoping to use for the up and coming DJs they scouted for. Once again the club was rammed almost to capacity, and when they approached Cardiff’s Emporium Nightclub the manager had already heard of Bionic’s rise and so gave them a monthly spot without hesitation.
After a long spell at the Emporium, Cally and Brian thought it would be more appealing to stay at the Emporium on a bi-monthly basis and in between they would go to Evolution to put on their larger scale ‘special events’. Rather than keep their budgets tight and hope to make more money they put everything into their events at Evolution. Anyone who went to these events will tell you of the incredible level of production, the extras which you just wouldn’t expect to see, themed acts that would be played out on stage in front of the clubbers, fire shows, grinding, even world class BMX stunt riders! Not to mention the huge line-ups they would put on – just one example was having Paul Van Dyk, Eddie Halliwell, Paul Glazby, Phil Reynolds, Ed Real and more all on the same line-up.
They eventually completely outgrew the Emporium and ended up every month at the 2,000 capacity Evolution. They remained there until 2006 before they moved to Creation, now known as Oceana. In October 2008 they moved to Escapade – their first event at Escapade pulled in just under 1,000 people, many of who were new faces to Bionic. They instantly managed to get back that special feeling from being in such a good venue. Once again word spread. Several months on and the buzz is back, the event is possibly better than ever and they’ve managed to pack out the venue with every event.
Bionic has always been renowned for their ability to pick the next big overseas stars of tomorrow before anyone else. Some of the artists that Bionic have debuted in the UK include The Warp Brothers, Alphazone, Hennes & Cold, Technoboy, Luna, Walt, Duro, Showtek, Bas and Ram, The Prophet, Max B Grant, Activator, Pavo & Zany, Megara & DJ Lee, Tatanka, Slideout and Lady Dana, and that really is to name just a few.
Bionic has taken their brand to many of the UK’s leading venues too, such as the mighty Emporium in Coalville, and has co-hosted events for promoters such as the South West’s famous Tranzaction. They’ve also hosted Bionic arenas at some of the UK’s biggest events, including Slammin’ Vinyl’s WestFest, Sanctuary Festival, Hardcore Weekender, South West Four Metro Weekender and Escape Into The Park, and have also recently hosted an arena for the 70,000 capacity Q-Base event in Germany which was put on by the world renowned Q-Dance team.
There are also two very special events for Bionic – firstly, Escape Into The Park (without a doubt one of the biggest events of the year – imagine 25,000 people on a beautiful sunny day in one of the most picturesque locations in Wales with several arenas and some of the world’s biggest artists and you’re getting close) and Bionic’s birthday events, which are always something extra special, with great production, massive acts of the line-up, extra entertainment, in fact extra everything. It’s no wonder why as a brand Bionic are clearly one of the most prominent, if not the most prominent, hard dance brands in the country.
Bionic are also continuing their close partnership with the UK’s number one rave event, Slammin’ Vinyl. For the past few years they’ve held Bionic arenas at all of Slammin’ Vinyl’s biggest events and will continue to do so with their huge 10,000 capacity WestFest event at the end of October at the Royal Bath & West Showground. Teaming up with Slammin’ Vinyl, Bionic is soon to release their own merchandise range which will be on sale at all Slammin’ Vinyl events soon too.
Written by Gavin Davis