In the ever-evolving world of electronic music, few names resonate with the same enduring influence as Marc Dennis and Tony Walker, the founders of the legendary Love to be…. Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2024, this seminal club night and record label has been a cornerstone of the UK’s early house music scene. From its inception in 1994 at Sheffield’s Music Factory to its latest venture—a festival in Harrogate—Love to be… has continually pushed the boundaries of the genre.

We sit down with Marc and Tony to discuss their journey, the evolution of Love to be…, and the exciting plans for their upcoming festival, which promises to be the largest dance music event ever in Harrogate. With an exceptional lineup featuring house music legends and a partnership with The Ostrich Foundation, this milestone event is set to make a significant impact. We delve into the past, present, and future of Love to be…

As you celebrate Love to be…’s 30th anniversary, what are some of the most memorable moments from your journey in the UK house music scene?

From the early 90s, it would be Frankie Knuckles on NYE ’95, taking the roof off, amazing PAs from Cece Rogers, Barbara Tucker, and Jocelyn Brown back in the day… Masters at Work playing ‘Everybody Be Somebody’ for the first time on our sound system – taking the roof off!! There have been tons of highlights over the last 30 years, with huge names performing for us in amazing locations around the world. More recently, a big highlight would be seeing generations of house heads coming together on the Love to be… dancefloors with our original 90s crew. Our two sell-out shows in Sydney recently with Armand Van Helden and Basement Jaxx were a good example of this.

Photo credit: Charlie Mitchell

How did Love to be… evolve from its inception at the Music Factory in Sheffield to becoming a cornerstone of the UK house music scene?

Mainly via our consistent music policy. High-quality, energetic, and soulful house music has been our cornerstone over the last 30 years, pushed via events, our radio show (which is on over 100 stations), via streaming through lockdown, and through our releases on our Love to be… recordings record label. We’ve always stuck to playing really good house music from a wide range of house genres but keeping with the ethos of uplifting music, vocals, and happy vibes.

Your events were among the first to book legendary artists like Masters at Work and Frankie Knuckles. How did these early bookings shape the identity and success of Love to be…?

It showed that we were passionate about underground house music from the get-go. We spent huge parts of our budgets flying in international DJs who were at the top of their game, and many still are today, which is reflected in them still playing for us. We always try to balance the legendary names on our events by searching for and bringing through emerging talent. Those early days really shaped the future of the brand and showed our commitment to cutting-edge house music.

What inspired you to launch the Love to be… Festival, and why did you choose Harrogate as the location for this milestone event?

With the current landscape of clubs and events, it was always in the bigger picture to launch a festival and do large-scale events. Through various introductions and options throughout the region, everything aligned for us to bring this to Harrogate, and the residents have received us with open arms. Love to be… started in Yorkshire, so it made sense for us to launch our first festival here. It’s nice to give our original fanbase the biggest event to date on their home turf, on the King’s land, the Stray – which has been fully supported by North Yorkshire Council.

Can you share the thought process behind curating the festival’s exceptional line-up, including headliners like Roger Sanchez and Barbara Tucker?

As with all our events, we really focus on getting a blend of iconic names alongside the current crop of house music stars such as Darius Syrossian and Adelphi Music Factory. The size of the festival allowed us to dip into our heritage while bringing some new faces on board. Additionally, having a stage takeover by the iconic Café Mambo led to great synergy as they are also celebrating their 30th birthday. Ultimately, every artist and PA was selected due to their connection with the brand’s music policy. Barbara Tucker is a prime example of this. We’ve been fans since visiting her Underground Network events in NYC in the 90s, and her soulful energy will no doubt get the crowd jumping!

How did the partnership with The Ostrich Foundation come about, and why is it important for you to support this particular cause?

We’ve worked in Harrogate on various projects for the past ten years, and we’ve helped to raise funds for this very worthy charity before. It’s a cause close to our hearts as it supports families and those going through difficult times surrounding suicide in young people. It was really important for us to support a local charity, and we believe The Ostrich Foundation will be well supported by all our Love to be… family.

What impact do you hope to achieve through your collaboration with The Ostrich Foundation at the festival?

Hopefully, we can raise some funds for the charity, but more importantly, we hope to raise awareness of their cause. Through that awareness, we may be able to help in some small way. Even if one young person is made aware that support is out there, that would be enough.

How do you plan to maintain the ’90s atmosphere that Love to be… is known for while incorporating modern elements into the festival experience?

The ethos of the music has never really changed, although music has moved on. We dip into heritage with certain tracks that resonate with the 90s sound through our events, but the energy and style of house music we play still create that hands-in-the-air, happy vibe that audiences of all ages can enjoy.

Love to be… in the 90s

Love to be… is renowned for its cutting-edge production. What can attendees expect in terms of production quality and visual experiences at the festival?

We’re working closely with our production team to bring in some surprise elements to the festival alongside state-of-the-art sound and lighting, entertainers, dancers, performers, and musicians. It’s been said before that “Love to be… always know how to bring the party….”

What do you believe has been the key to Love to be…’s enduring influence in the house music scene over the past three decades?

Quite simply… the music and the amazing people who have been attending our events for thirty years – they’ve created an electric, friendly, and vibrant atmosphere.

Beyond the 30th-anniversary festival, what future plans do you have for Love to be… and how do you envision its role in the evolving dance music landscape?

Looking beyond the festival, we have more events to finish off the 30th anniversary year in Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, and Amsterdam. Looking further ahead, we’ll be expanding the festival and making it bigger in 2025, revisiting Australia and America as well as more European dates. We’ll be going into some new territories, investing heavily into the record label, developing new talent, and we’ll keep pushing our brand sound out around the globe via our radio show.

How have your personal journeys and experiences as founders influenced the growth and direction of Love to be… over the years?

As DJs (Trimtone), we’ve always had to keep our finger on the pulse musically, producing a two-hour radio show every week and keeping ourselves relevant as artists. Our global Trimtone gigs enable us to take fresh ideas and experiences back to L2b HQ, and we have a great office team to shape those ideas into our events to keep pushing the brand forward. Our experience as music producers and record label owners opens up opportunities for us to work with very talented artists, some of whom you’ll see on our stages or on a Love to be… recordings release in the near future.

Keep up to date with all the anniversary plans over at

The post Love to be… how one of the UK’s most influential club brands is celebrating 30 years in the game appeared first on Magnetic Magazine.