By Flossie Palmer, Features Editor
Into The Wild, a club night founded by University of Bristol History student, Fergal Maguire, is spotlighting the talent of local, lesser-known DJs for the greater good of the Bristol community in a recent partnership with Feeding Bristol, an umbrella organisation uniting local charities to end food poverty.
Fergal’s journey began at the age of 17 after experiencing his first night out in Manchester at The Warehouse Project, which introduced him to the potential music has in bringing people together; ‘It was the first time I’d ever experienced music like that,’ Fergal explained, ‘My eyes had been opened to a new world I didn’t even know existed.'
After attending The Warehouse Project, Fergal channelled the promise music has of encouraging community, diversity and self-expression into his own club night, aptly named Into The Wild, which is founded on exactly these principles. The first Into The Wild club night was hosted in Manchester after Fergal sat his A-Level exams in summer 2019, and has since followed him throughout his university journey in Bristol with a series of club nights hosted at local venues around the city.
Into The Wild has gained hugely in popularity within the past year, Fergal told Epigram, especially since the renewed excitement of going out again in a post-pandemic world. For both first and second year students, the past few months have opened up a new world of musical enjoyment with the first experiences of clubbing in Bristol since the ending of Covid-19 restrictions. As Fergal has recognised recently, ‘There’s always a lot of excitement in the room because people are seeing each other again.’
While Into The Wild continues to grow in popularity, what remains admirable is Fergal’s dedication to maintaining the event’s core values. Alongside Fergal’s commitment to encouraging diversity is his aim to spotlight lesser-known, local talents – a perfect pairing of goals which has allowed Into The Wild to showcase inspiring female DJs in the likes of Danielle and Daisy Moon.
‘It’s a well-known fact that within the music scene, especially the clubbing scene, that there just aren’t enough female DJs.’ Fergal explained, telling Epigram about the all-female DJ line-up who played at The Loco Klub in October this year. ‘You don’t just want to reinforce the status quo, which is mostly white male DJs’, he continued, ‘I think it’s really important because it’s far more enjoyable for everyone to go to a night where they feel, in some way, shape, or form, that they are represented.’
Fergal also explained that he makes a conscious effort to book DJs who are from the local and surrounding areas, whether that be Bristol, Bath or nearby in Wales, helping to form a local community through Into The Wild. As Fergal articulated, ‘Into The Wild has a role to play there in shaping a created Bristol identity’, which all attendees of the club night can relate to and celebrate through the musical talent of local artists.
Fergal has also carefully considered the venues he chooses to work with, claiming that space is something very important to him as a facilitator of self-expression. The Loco Klub, located by Bristol Temple Meads train station, has hosted Into The Wild events multiple times, and is an undeniable contributor to the Bristol identity within the music scene; ‘you feel like you’re in the centre of Bristol and part of the architecture, in a way!’ Fergal exclaimed. However, Fergal stated that he does not have a preferred venue to work with, as he aims to seek out new venues to diversify the club night each time.
The commitment shown to the local Bristol community by Fergal made Into The Wild’s recent partnership with Feeding Bristol an undeniable match. After achieving success and popularity, with Into The Wild establishing itself as a staple club night among Bristol’s nightlife scene, Fergal told Epigram that he ‘faced a crossroads, and I could choose what kind of night we want to be. For me, it’s about community – and any money we make we just plug back into the community because all that does is reinforce Bristol as an amazing place to live.’
Feeding Bristol is an umbrella organisation which facilities initiatives around Bristol with the main, unifying aim of achieving zero hunger. Feeding Bristol was formed in 2017 after Marvin Rees addressed the public with the statement that ‘no child should go to school hungry’ and achieved its charitable status in 2018. Ever since, Feeding Bristol, alongside a Board formed of representatives from Bristol City Council, local businesses, food growers and charities, have been working to unite food banks with the local community under the aim of solving food poverty.
After each Into The Wild event, any profit left over from the night, once all DJs and venues have been paid, is donated to Feeding Bristol. Fergal stated that instead of setting a financial goal of how much Into The Wild aims to donate, he has forged a continual partnership with Feeding Bristol which he hopes will benefit the organisation and its associated charities on a longer-term basis.
As Fergal expressed, ‘sometimes you lose money, and sometimes you make a little bit, but the goal has never been about making money. I’ve been to nights over the years, where you can tell that that is their main goal because they end up cutting corners, or they lose their integrity and the values they set out intentionally to maintain. I didn’t want that to happen with Into The Wild.’
Recently, Into The Wild has also sought to maintain its prioritisation of the local community, and most importantly its safety, by introducing measures after the increased cases of spiking in Bristol over the past three months. Into The Wild’s club night with DJ Harrison BDP, hosted at the Exchange on 12 November, had four representatives (including Fergal himself) acting as an on-hand wellbeing team to help anyone who felt unwell or unsafe on the night. Drink-lids were also available at all bars at the venue as part of Into The Wild’s zero tolerance attitude towards harassment of any kind.
Although Into The Wild has an uncertain future, with Fergal’s graduation on the horizon this upcoming summer, its contribution to the Bristol community continues to have a long-lasting positive impact within the city through both its aim to encourage diversity and its donations to Feeding Bristol. ‘It’s what I want to spend the rest of my life doing’, Fergal explained, speaking of his passion for community work, ‘whether Into The Wild is the format or medium through which I do that, I don’t know’.
With Into The Wild having roots both in Manchester and Bristol’s nightlife, the event still boasts the possibility for expansion and aims to continue benefitting the local community for as long as it exists.
Featured Image: Into The Wild
Have you attended an Into The Wild club night before?