Bugged Out Weekender: A Weekend of Music, Mayhem, Campari & Queues
After two weeks pondering over the puzzling notes saved to my phone, collect details from friends and browse over pictures from the event, I have finally recollected enough to deliver the promised Bugged Out Weekender personal account – sort of – with photos and music.
The line-up included: Ben Pearce, Erol Alkan, Dusky, Paul Woolford, Heidi, Sasha, Joy Orbison and many more: http://www.buggedoutweekender.net/lineup
Day 1: Friday 7th March
At first light I made the retched journey across Central London to meet an excited group of friends and embark on a five hour car journey. In a bid to take things ‘back up north where it began’ for the Bugged Out 20th anniversary, we found ourselves at a faded Pontins resort in Southport. Once filled with British families on their summer holidays, for three days it was to be invaded by ‘no-frills’ clubbers from all over the country. We unloaded our alcohol-riddled car, collected our keys and wristbands, and poured into a rather run-down chalet we were to call home for the foreseeable future. Once the sun had set and music was thumping from all over the vicinity, there was no time for unpacking. We clinked our mugs, plastic cups and beer cans together to fuel up for the warped night ahead.
Somewhere between 6pm and midnight we bounded over to the main arena (not sure how else to describe it), endured a nippy wait in the cold for wristband checks, then finally made our entrance. We were met by a fish & chip shop, dodgy carpet and a semi-functional games arcade; but who needed visual splendour when dance music was vibrating in every direction. Claude Vonstroke in the main room was a personal highlight from the weekend; the lighting that accompanied the set was truly remarkable and really emphasised the already electric atmosphere – kudos to everyone involved!
As the hours passed, we danced, we drank and we bumped into old friends whilst gallivanting from room to room like children at a toy shop. At a time in the night which I cannot pinpoint, I was fortunate enough to catch part of Todd Terje’s live show in main room before moving through to Erol Alkan in Room Two. Then with yawns escaping uncontrollably from my mouth, I foolishly decided on taking a quick power nap back at the chalet. All of a sudden it was lunchtime and day two.
Day 2: Saturday 8th March
I was devastated to learn that my mates wanted to attend the afternoon pool party. Not only was the afternoon too early to do anything, I could also feel we were in for disappointment. However, I put my doubts aside, sucked my far-from-bikini-ready-body into a swimsuit and minutes later found myself in the middle of a freezing pool that hadn’t seen a new coat of paint since 1978. Although the image of a sizable floats falling onto the heads of unsuspecting swimmers accompanied by a set from The Two Bears is rather amusing, even now, I was relieved to head back to the chalet and recover my alcohol blanket in the form of Campari and cola (I can’t recommend this tipple enough).
By now we were accustomed to the queues at the entrance, and once in, took time out to chill on the kiddy-sized merry-go-round in the arcade between rooms. After some pounding electronic sounds from Paul Woolford, followed by a memorable set from Green Velvet, DJ EZ drew us all to Room Three where he was throwing out nostalgic Old Skool Garage like it was 2000 again.
Then lights, music and faces all became fragmented; before I knew it I was banging on the door of our chalet perplexed to why the two people on the sofa were refusing to let me in. When the door final opened with the help of a friend who possessed the key, we were greeted by strategically piled clothes fashioned to resemble people, with balloons for faces – who knew we had an artist in our midst.
Day 3: Sunday 9th March
Several of us woke up surprisingly early at 2pm. After a wonder along the beach nearby, the realisation set in that none of us has eaten since the Friday and thus embarked on the breakfast/lunch/dinner mission. With our choices limited to Pot Noodle, a questionable breakfast buffet, or pizza, I sensibly opted for the latter only to realise that half of the resort had decided to followed suit – cue more queuing. Stomachs filled and the final evening fast approaching, by sun-down the rest of the group had awoken from their slumbers and joined us in toasting to the night ahead.
In a sudden change of events I was able to secure some backstage wristbands and just like that I was no longer one of the masses, I was an ‘Artist’. Though the bouncers were undeniably irritable from three days of constant aggro, they checked our wristbands with a frown but allowed us through to the party inside nevertheless.
After faultless sets from Boddika and Joy Orbison, I decided to take advantage of my newly acquired ‘Artist’ wristband and headed backstage. I attempted to marvel others with my musical knowledge and imaginary wit, then made the quick realisation that backstage wasn’t quite as glamorous as I had imagined. After noting the severe lack of a backstage bar I made up my mind to slip back into the crowd and obscurity once more. Once the final act took their bow the atmosphere was still buzzing; thinking ourselves a lucky few we headed to the “secret” Mixmag after party in one of the chalets. As we bumped into a herd of fellow dazed clubbers in the trek towards the same chalet, we were again greeted by a lengthily queue, but who cared! Packed like a tin of sardines; dancing was difficult but not impossible and there was nothing left to do but dance.
And what goes up (sorry to quote ‘Human Traffic’) must come down, and it did so in the form of a disastrous journey home with an amount wrong turns than you wouldn’t think a human being was capable of acheiving – until next year?
Words and Imagery by Sabina Campbell (Please credit me if re-using photographs)