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February 22, 2024

NYC techno icon locked in for Ancient World’s 10th birthday fest

Yes – you heard us: Ancient World is turning 10! To celebrate, the crew behind the Hindley Street venue is throwing a three-day party with some of Adelaide’s best producers, performers, DJs and more taking to the stage alongside a figurehead of NYC techno.

  • Words: David Simmons
  • Main image: Chelsea Zerna

In 2014, two mates set out to turn an abandoned Hindley Street basement into something special.


10 Yeas of Ancient World
Ancient World, Hindley St
23-25 February

Connect with Ancient World on Instagram

Ten years later, and the dream Brad Cameron and David Apps had for the unconventional space, tucked well out of the way down an alleyway and around a corner, is still alive.

As a regular attendee of the nightclub and performance venue myself, I could wax lyrical for hours on the importance of Ancient World to the Adelaide underground and experimental art scene, or how it’s launched the musical careers of probably hundreds of young people in this city.

But it’s easier to point you to the massive three-day lineup the current proprietors of Ancient World have prepared in celebration of the space’s 10th anniversary.

Spanning genre, style and technique, the lineup reads like a Greatest Hits for Ancient World which has hosted all of these acts (and so much more) over the past decade.

There are acts like Strict Face, who has graced the DJ decks at Ancient World more times than I can count, and collectives of DJs like Small City and Tiger Club who have transformed the club’s basement into a sweaty, glorious dancefloor over many weekends.

The Bait Fridge is of course another Ancient World classic, and they’ll undoubtedly turn the wackiness dial to 10 this weekend. There’s also Georgia Oatley, Breaking Even, Wet Weather Policy, Nelya, Ratboy + Peng… this lineup is Peak Adelaide.

It’s a big moment for the current owners of Ancient World – Chelsea Zerna and Hugh Scobie – who took over the space in 2020.

For Chelsea, it was a step up. She’d been working there for a couple of years prior.

“It’s been my longest place of employment,” she says.

“But it’s also been a hub and a home to me for a very long time.”

Hugh agrees, telling CityMag that taking over the venue was an “opportunity to try and return Ancient World to what I saw as being a really special space”.

“We’ve been very open to new ideas, to new people to new promoters and new artists. We’ve really left it up to the people in the community who have that passion to do a particular show and being able to take a risk on that is what has always been special to me,” says Hugh, who is DJing on the Sunday under the name Medea.

“The size of the venue and performance space means you can be quite niche – you don’t have to bring in 500 people to be able to pay the bills. So you do get to take some more creative risks.”

It’s been a tricky time for West End operators lately. Hugh and Chelsea (understandably) didn’t want to focus on the doom and gloom going around the nightlife scene at the moment – read CityMag’s coverage on it here to catch up – and instead said they were focused on the three-day extravaganza coming this weekend.

Chelsea says it was a difficult process in selecting who’d get to play at the mini-fest, but the duo’s top priority was making sure “we covered the many different communities who come here”.

“So we weren’t only going to play techno, we weren’t only going to book bands: we really wanted to touch on all the different genres of the communities to make sure that there’s representation there from lots of different people,” she says.

The gorgeous Ancient World co-owners – Hugh & Chelsea. This photo: David Simmons/CityMag.

Food is another priority for the three-day bonanza, and the venue’s newly opened second upstairs bar will be slinging vegan snags, dumplings and more over the weekend.

Sunday is also shaping up to be a bit of a family day, with the venue’s founders Brad and Dave stepping up to DJ. Chelsea will also hit the decks for the first time ever, under her moniker Hart Flayme.

On top of that, a coup in the form of NYC-based Discwoman label head Umfang will headline on Sunday night.

“I’m very excited about that,” says Hugh.

“I feel like there’s a good bit of crossover between how we like to see Ancient World in terms of how the venue interacts with gender, and Discwoman as a label really pushes a lot of that: centring female artists, centring queer artists, centring people of colour.

“So we’re very excited to be able to host Umfang.”

Co-founder Brad told CityMag that it is “surreal” that the venue is turning 10.

“It seems like only yesterday when we first got the keys to the place, and we looked through and it looked like it’d been vacant for years,” says Brad, who started the space with the assistance of Renew Adelaide in 2014.

“It’s not easy running a place like this – a late-night place that focused particularly on music and arts culture. But I think because it focuses on music and arts culture that’s why it has endured. It’s the kind of place where people will often go and hang out for the whole evening.

“It’s ended up creating a lot of friendships and creative networks. It’s those kinds of communities that keep people coming back.”

The 10 Years of Ancient World party kicks off on Friday, February 23 and runs until Sunday, February 25.


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A post shared by Ancient World (@ancientworld.5000)


  • The Bait Fridge, Bitchspawn, KLAPTSTAKZWet Weather Policy, Basty, Ratboy x Peng, Babyteeth, Nelya, Lazy Susan


  • Plastiq + Capital Waste, The Finns, Georgia Oatley, Strict Face, Kosta, Tiger Club, ASAP Gnocchi x Eleanor Amor, Romi x Esther Terrestrial x Fishwife, Breaking Even, Mettasoul, OKOSHKA, Small City DJs


  • Botanic Gordon, Hart Flayme, Trinket, Skorpion King, Medea, Umfang

Doors at 4pm, $25 entry, first in best dressed, no pass outs.

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