Review: BuggedOut Weekender
The Tab went incognito at BuggedOut to get a flavour of the Southport festival
The weekend just gone saw a few thousand house heads flock to the seaside resort of Southport for the anniversary of the inconspicuously-named BuggedOut Weekender.
With some of the most acclaimed DJs of the scene featuring on the line-up, I didn’t hesitate to include myself in this number and found myself spending Friday, Saturday and Sunday partying in Pontins (basically a shit Butlin’s).
Arriving at the holiday park, we filtered into the reception after joining a short queue that was spilling out of the reception. It was here that tickets were swapped for wristbands, chalet keys were handed over, and some BO-smelling bed sheets were acquired.
A quick stop in the Nisa local (which was inside the main building) allowed other necessities such as food and drink to be purchased and with that we continued down to our chalet. Room 305.
Under a minute’s walk from the reception, we found it easy enough and were impressed with our digs for the weekend. Kitted out with a full kitchen – microwave, fridge, oven, stove – a bathroom that would put AroundTownFlats to shame (including a bath which was put to good use), a lounge area with an absurdly comfortable sofa and table, and two bedrooms of which I had no complaints. All in all, we had a lot of activity space.
Only one piece of advice if you’re planning on going: lock your door whether you’re in or out. People tend to stumble in at any time – either because they’ve innocently found the wrong room or if they’re motives are guilty and they’re looking to nab your things.
By the time we were settled in here, the sun was silently setting behind the Southport sea and empty cans were building in the bin bag I had been given along with my key. Music was set to kick off at 9pm in the main room with Abandon Silence representing the Liverpool side of the Mersey.
Harry Sheehan put in a shift starting the weekend’s music with a bang and, despite a far from full main room, gave the early birds a taste of things to come.
Time passed and we passed from room to room using our senses to judge where we were feeling it most. After an hour or so of this search for the music that took our fancy, we found ourselves locked in to the sounds of Todd Terje in the main room from half 12 to half 1.
Familiar with a number of his tunes, I had fairly high hopes for this. Funky disco vibes from Todd with the clear climax coming right at the end in the form of his Inspector Norse.
A quick chance during this arose to check the sofa area that BuggedOut were laying on next to the main room. I’d walked through it a number of times that evening but was yet to see it in its full glory.
It must be said, it was very good. The black leather sofas were a very well received treat for the revellers often in need of a quick time out from their raving and ranting. Ultimate comfort.
Knowing how easy it is to waste valuable time on the sofas, we were quick to get our dancing shoes back on and cross the arcade to Room 2 where we were greeted by Erol Alkan. By the sounds of things, he was pleasing the crowd easily enough.
3 o’clock drew nearer and there was only one thing on our minds. Dixon! Voted Resident Advisor’s best DJ of 2013, the bakery-owning Berliner was slotted in from 3 til 5 in the main room and filled it back to front, wall to wall. With another two days on the horizon, I didn’t want to be getting too carried away with just one act but let me just say that this set has cruised into the top 3 moments of the weekend.
Prior to my trip to Southport, I was yet to have caught the man in action aside from a couple of (I must say questionable) boiler rooms and my infatuated house-mate banging on about how miraculous he is.
So he had my undivided attention and utterly earned it, dropping some Berghain-worthy techno. Hats off to Dixon.
Best moment: Baikal – Why Don’t Ya? (Ripperton Remix, Dixon Edit)
We unanimously agreed that this was a high point of the night and returned to the chalet having enjoyed our first taste of the BuggedOut Weekender.
A few hours’ sleep is all you need when you’re in this sort of environment and that’s all we gave ourselves – especially as we had a pool party to look forward to. I’d heard rumours of potential pool parties but when you’re going to Southport for a weekend festival called BuggedOut, you do tend to become a bit of a sceptic.
But the rumours were true (aside from the water-slides rumour) and on the Saturday we slipped into our swimwear and trotted over to the ‘H2o zone’.
It was a large pool with a massive inflatable crocodile taking up one half of it allowing people in various frames of mind to run up and down it, plunging themselves into the depths below.
To the side was a table stacked with speakers, decks and wires, giving the event its surname: ‘party’. The music was good, loud and filled the room well.
It provided a very welcome alternative to kicking around in the chalet waiting for the main venue to open and was a good chance for the Ibiza crowd to show off their fluorescent trainers, short colourful shorts and tanned skin riddled with tattoos.
We emerged from our refreshing dip around 5 o’clock, popping into Nisa on the way back to pick up a few pizzas and some drinks to keep us going for the evening.
The onsite pub – the Queen Victoria – was also showing the Chelsea Spurs game (4 – 0) which gave us touring blues a sense of London pride so far north and injected a bit of reality into what had so far been a pretty dreamy experience.
It was on this night when I came into contact with the bouncer I’d heard others refer to only as ‘D Money’ – bit of wanker, this guy.
As I raised my innocent arms obediently for him to frisk me, I felt his hand pass my waistline and enter my boxers. A bit rumbled, I stood there as he grappled with my groin and poked his fingers around my crotch. Not sure if this was part of his job description, but I did feel a little pissed off by the momentary invasion of my privacy.
A trusty set from George Fitzgerald expelled the incident from my mind, followed by some shape-shifting in Room 3 to Waze & Odyssey, and Saturday night was underway.
And when the clock struck midnight, Green Velvet eased in smoothly – good stuff.
Up next, Dusky – another act I was yet to have the privilege of enjoying before the weekend. They opened in style with one of their new favourites 9t8 but it must be said, it wasn’t a mind-blowing set.
Around half way through, they played their majestic Mr Man which was a memorable moment but other than that, nothing to write home about. Bit of a disappointment considering a friend had seen them at Sankeys not long ago and got very excited about them there. You win some you lose some.
However, on at the same time in Room 2 was Heidi who I’d been impressed with at WHP earlier in the year, providing a solid alternative to Dusky. She hovered over the decks with her familiar head of white hair and assured me that I’d made the right choice to defect from Dusky.
Jackmaster replaced her at 4 bringing in a personal favourite (Mercy – Joy Orbison & Boddika) and continued in a similar fashion.
Checked in on Sasha’s 3 hour set for a final boogie on the way out and it sounded pretty good. He’s at the Albert Hall soon (get your tickets off Fallowfield’s best ticket seller).
As it was our second day of the weekend, we thought tonight was the night to mingle and get a taste of what sort of people attended the festival. There were people from all over the country but the vast majority hadn’t travelled too far and were coming from the north-west region.
The dudes we got chatting to attributed themselves the collective name of ‘the Borough boys’ (they were from Middlesbrough) and proved to be some curious characters to end the night with back at the chalet.
One wasted no time getting his ‘Middlesbrough’ tattoo out which looped around his belly button – I’m already regretting not taking a photo (sorry).
As the early hours of the morning began to morph into the late hours of the morning and our stimulation for talking gibberish to the Borough boys started to wane, I jotted down some words which could sum up the night. Some interesting ideas from our new mates.
Sunday began in much the same way as Saturday with a second pool party supposed to be featuring Skream. Supposed to be.
Sadly he couldn’t make it in time, but he did manage to get to Pontins in time to team up with Eats Everything for a 4 hour b2b set in Room 1 at 9 – fair enough.
We moved to a bit of this before spending much of the final night in Room 2 where some big names were dropping some big tunes.
Boddika was up to his usual tricks with a typically dark but masterful set bringing in some of his own tracks (e.g. Heat)
Joy Orbison followed ‘Sexy Bod’ and the two were engaged in a bit of b2b for a moment before the former went rogue and made sure the high standards for the last night continued to be met.
The two followed on from each other as if they’d done it a million times before (well, they have a few times).
Last up in the main room was the seasoned professional that is Seth Troxler. This man needs no introduction.
If you’re in the main room on the last day, you’ve got to make sure you can keep the crowd going and end the festival on a true high. With this in mind, I was hoping for a pretty impressive set from Seth on whom a lot was riding and I must say, any shred of doubt that was brewing in my mind was gone within minutes of his arrival.
Troxler knows what he’s doing when it comes to pleasing thousands of ravers across the globe and he pulled off this challenge with a shrug.
Much bouncy house and deep techno from Seth with Claude von Stroke’s Whose Afraid of Detroit slotting in nicely near the end to bring a bit of an Ibiza feel to the Southport event.
I would rate the BuggedOut Weekender at Southport highly. Definitely got some memories which will last for a long time and would recommend it to mates who could make it there in two hours or less.
It’s a great festival to attend if you’re a short train ride away but probably not worth it coming from farther afield.
For £160 you get three days of music with some serious names in the house music scene, a chalet with everything you need, and numerous activities to do during the day (such as pool parties).
Oh, and don’t forget the subtle grope from a bouncer on your way in. A terrific weekend, good job from BuggedOut.
P.S. you might recognize this guy from a couple boiler room videos: Heidi Boiler Room.