Inside nightlife matriarch Rainbow Gao's new techno music club 3NTRY

The latest venture from the team behind The Mansion

Photograph: Yang Xiaozhe
Nightlife Matriarch Rainbow Gao has served as a fulcrum of underground music culture in Shanghai since she opened The Mansion Cultural Center in 2012. Her determination towards a non-commercial approach to club ownership and operation bled into The Mansion’s overwhelming success story. ‘At the time, the biggest problem was that people prioritised money and lost sight of their conscience,’ Gao reveals, ‘Shanghai music collectives were competing against each other.’

In order to escape that superficial, capital-based toxicity, Gao chose to situate her project outside city limits in a residence villa in Hongqiao. For six years, The Mansion functioned as an internationally recognised nightclub, DJ school and hostel where aspiring creatives could work and live for free, binding they help keep the facilities fun and habitable. But in November of 2018, to mass disappointment, The Mansion announced it would be closing for good. While many suspected the closure to be the result of increasing crackdowns, Gao dispelled those worries: ‘After The Mansion became the most popular underground club in Shanghai, I began thinking about my new goals, especially in regards to free music production classes.’

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A seasoned entrepreneur and visionary, she didn’t leave us in the dark for long. 3ntry, her newest club and artistic hub, is something entirely different from The Mansion. The 600sqm venue in Xuhui opened in June and contains four music spaces, recording studios, super-large LED screens, sustainable architecture, professional beam lights and the high-ranking Funktion-One audio sound system. 3ntry maintains The Mansion’s tradition of affordable drink offerings and a commitment to working with local artists from across different techno and experimental music camps.

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It will host one to two international artists every month, regular weekend events and a weekly two-hour broadcast in collaboration with China Radio International to spotlight Chinese beat makers. ‘While 3ntry may still need some time to develop,’ says Gao, ‘it is a spark, a seed, a gathering place aimed at realising a better future together.’

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