Manchester's Hacienda and Peter Hook inspire new university master's course

University to teach next generation of music professionals through the ups and downs of Manchester's famous nightclub

Not much surprises those with hazy memories of the glory days of the Hacienda – but news that the legendary club, the Madchester music scene and Peter Hook, bass player with Joy Division and New Order, are all to feature in a university's new master's course may raise the odd eyebrow.

The club, which has its story chronicled in Michael Winterbottom's 2002 film 24 Hour Party People, was launched as a rainy, northern version of cool New York venues, showcasing artists and bands including Madonna and The Smiths. Opening 30 years ago, it became famous for acid and rave music, and in its latter days a byword for drugs and gang violence, before closing in 1997.

Hook was a co-owner of the nightspot that was regarded by devotees as the best in the world, and as a thorn in the side of the local police who tried for years to have it shut down.

The master's course in music industry management and promotion is being launched by the University of Central Lancashire, in association with Hook's Factory251, the music venue within the former Factory Records office in Manchester.

A key text for students aspiring to become industry movers and shakers will undoubtedly be Hook's own rueful 2009 memoir, How Not to Run a Club. The Hacienda rarely made any money even as it became world famous: Hook recalled one epic night when the indoor fireworks set the entire New Year's Eve takings up in smoke. He once said sadly that it would have been cheaper for the band – whose hits kept the club running – if they'd handed everyone in the queue a tenner each and turned them away.

The club was opened by the comedian Bernard Manning, who evidently didn't get the joke of inviting a man infamous for his sexist and racist lines to launch such a would-be cool venue. His remark "I've played some shitholes in my time but this is really something" did not go down well, and he left without claiming his fee.

The course promises to train students in skills which were entirely lacking in the early days of the Hacienda, including "identifying and monetising viable music projects ... business planning, presenting and formatting music for commercial release ... as well as devising and executing marketing plans & promotional campaigns."

Student mentors will include Hook himself; Tony Rigg, former operations director of the Ministry of Sound; and Aaron Mellor of nightclub company Tokyo Industries, which now co-owns Factory251.

Hook said the course would help to develop the next generation of music professionals. "I am excited to be involved in a project that's going to offer genuine opportunities to help support the future of the British music industry."

• This article was amended on 4 July 2012 to remove an incorrect reference to the University of Central Lancashire degree as the first master's course in music industry management and promotion.


Maev Kennedy

The GuardianTramp

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