Having spent the last few years staring at the Bugged Out Weekender line up and yearning to go, this year I finally took the plunge and booked to spend my weekend in the seaside Butlins resort in Bognor Regis. Upon arrival, I have to say the rooms (and we were in the cheapest option) and site in general were much better than I anticipated.
Our weekend was kicked off with Leon Vynehall playing disco tinged house in a bowling hall, which seems as good a place as any. As he progressed through into slightly harder sounds the crowd, many of whom had obviously started early, responded much better. When Axel Boman took to the decks he wasted no time before shifting the mood with his more anthemic sound, which felt like a natural progression from Leon’s set.
At this point in the night, one of the key advantages of the event’s location reared its head. We made the less than 5 minute walk back to our room for a couple of drinks and a satsuma to top up the inebriation and energy. Both of these were needed as we returned and headed to the main room for Todd Terje’s live set. Playing extended versions of tracks from his recent spectacular album and some older tracks, he finds a way to work them to be ever building in energy. We then closed out the night with Roman Flügel who supplied heavy, pulsating basslines until the lights came up.
Our Saturday night started with Kiwi playing a warm up set as we played the huge variety of arcade games which were situated in the central area between the stages. We then caught Matt Walsh playing psychedelic rhythms to an almost empty room, which gave us plenty of space to through shapes and prepare ourselves for the night ahead.
We then moved over to catch the true party starter that is Artwork. Regularly on the mic cracking jokes and demanding that we have a lovely time, he started with plenty of disco and funk classics including Midnight Star – Midas Touch, Pointer Sisters – Automatic and some MJ. His set progressed up to house and garage but we dragged ourselves away to head over to the highly anticipated set from The Chemicals Brothers.
This set was a whirlwind of acid house, techno and electro and was accompanied by intense visuals. Across two hours they worked in sounds from the last twenty years and kept the energy constantly ebbing and flowing. They worked in plenty of interesting dj tools; using tracks purely for their build up and looping 303s. Closing on ‘Swoon’, probably my favourite Chem’s tune, was the cherry on the big beat cake.
We then headed over to catch Four Tet’s set, who was going surprisingly hard and sticking predominantly to four to the floor belters. This went down an absolute treat though and he worked the crowd into a frenzy. This was then following by the highlight of the weekend; the ten hands on deck b2b2b2b2b featuring Jackmaster, Ben UFO, Four Tet and Optimo. This passed by in a bit of a haze but featured so many twists and turns in style as the DJs moved us between grooving house, harder techno cuts, stripped back grime and everything in between. What a night.
Unfortunately, the real world was calling us back to our Monday morning commitments and we couldn’t enjoy Sunday’s festivities which meant missing a showcase of Erol Alkan’s Phantasy imprint and a closing set from the ever in demand Skream. Despite this, I truly feel like I got my money’s worth from the fantastic line up and crazy on site antics and will definitely be attending next year.
Written by Andy Brennan