Nightclub started as barn dance in farm buildings in sixties

Lush will be celebrating their 20th anniversary with a special event teaming up with the Ulster Orchestra.
Lush will be celebrating their 20th anniversary with a special event teaming up with the Ulster Orchestra.

When James Kelly started hosting barn dances in farm buildings on the outskirts of Portrush in the 1960s he could have had no idea that he’d started off what was to become one of the most world-renowned nightclubs.

Peter Wilson, managing director at Kellys Complex is James’ nephew.

While the Lush! nightclub has been a shining light for the past 20 years, the Bushmills Road venue has a rich history beyond that.

Peter said: “Kellys has been an institution for close to 50 years and one in which I am so proud to be a part of.

“My late uncle James Kelly started the business by hosting barn dances in his farm buildings in the 60s.

“This evolved into discos in the 70s. In 1996, the club was pulling in thousands of revellers each week with a love of dance music, which gave way to the launch of Lush!”

Peter added: “For the past two decades Lush! has remained as one of the best-known nightclubs in Europe, regularly attracting the biggest DJs in the world.

“To date we have welcomed over one million clubbers through the entrance, and I am proud that we are celebrating its 20th year with such a fantastic event.”

John Cecchini, DJ and resident at Lush! said: “I first played Lush! the second week it opened way back in 1996, and pretty soon became part of the furniture.

“I can safely say I have had some of the best nights of my life with the mighty Lush! people and this special event will top the lot of them. Excited isn’t the word.”

World renowned DJ, Seb Fontaine, who will be spinning some of his classic tracks at the Autumn event continued: “Lush has always been close to my heart, so to be part of this 20 year celebration is something really special. This is something truly exciting.”