One of the joys of still DJing most weekends after 35 years is the variety of gigs I get to do. One week I’m in a muddy field at a festival playing to thousands, the next a small, sweaty underground club DJing to a couple of hundred people (and everything in between too). The sheer variety of gigs and the different ages of clubbers I play to from early 20s through to late 50s means I get to play a variety of different tunes too. Throw Haçienda Classical shows into the mix too and you’ll understand why I still love what I do with a passion. If it wasn’t for this variety I really do wonder if I’d still be able to do what I do with such enthusiasm. Basically if I was doing the same type of gig to similar crowds every week I’m not sure I’d still be doing my thing.
Last weekend was the perfect example of why I still love what I do. On Friday I DJ’d at the YC19 Redcliffe Festival in Scarborough. It’s a very small festival and there was a real mix of people of all ages there with varied musical tastes. Peter Hook & The Light performed there on the Friday and before I played at 9:30pm on the Saturday Milly Manders & The Shut Up (who reminded me of X-Ray Spex) got the crowd going with their angst ridden energy. I took to the decks and, as the sun set, a great party vibe ensued. A truly wonderful small, family friendly festival. As Danny Rampling took to the decks at 11pm and kept the crowd going with his energetic set, I said my goodbyes and, after getting changed in a tent, set off in my car to Manchester Airport.
This is the non-glamorous side of what I do that you never really hear about, but I had a 6am flight to catch to Ibiza so it wasn’t really worth going home only to head straight back out again. I did plan on taking an easy drive to the airport but when the roads are quiet and winding and you drive an Italian car (petrol of course), that plan kind of went out of the window pretty much straight away. A couple of coffee stops on the M62 killed an hour or so but it was 3am as I parked up and strolled to Terminal 1. With three hours to kill I would have loved to have grabbed some sleep, but there was no way that was going to happen. I headed to a lounge for some breakfast and more coffee and with the help of some Iggy Pop BBC 6 Music podcasts I managed to keep going until we boarded the flight to Ibiza.
Despite being recognised by several clubbers as they boarded the plane and bumping into a former Key 103 colleague on board, as soon as the doors were closed and everyone was seated I managed to kind of drift off. I say kind of, because as anyone who's flown to Ibiza in recent years knows, these flights can get a bit rowdy so any hopes of getting a proper snooze were soon dashed. However, I made it to the white isle feeling pretty good and once my driver dropped me at my hotel around midday I was soon asleep. I was hoping to find a sunbed in the shade, but as the pool area was packed and noisy (house music blaring out of the poolside speakers) I elected to head to my room instead. I pulled the curtains, set the air conditioning to 19C and hit the sack until 4pm. There’s that glamour of international DJing again.
My driver came to get me at 5pm and we headed straight to Amnesia for the Clockwork Orange party where I was DJing on the Terrace. I haven’t actually been to Amnesia since the late 1990s, when I used to play for Cream in the main room, so I was quite excited as we arrived. As soon as I got out of the car I immediately saw several people I knew and recognised and after the obligatory selfies I headed to the DJ booth. The Terrace was filling up nicely with the usual older Clockwork Orange clubber but there was a quite a large amount of younger clubbers too. Over the next couple of hours the the Terrace filled up with Brandon Block and Alex P then Jason Bye getting the crowd fired up with some real bangers. As the sun went down and the venue began to get darker I took to the decks and throughly enjoyed playing to a highly enthusiastic crowd. Another amazing Clockwork Orange event.
I hung around for a few hours catching up with the other DJs and friends of mine before sneaking off around midnight and leaving the madness behind. In my experience you really do have to sneak off because as soon as you announce you’re going the pressure to stay begins to mount. So I made it back to the hotel for 1am and was asleep by 1:30am before being woken by my three alarms at 6am and heading back to the airport at 6:30am for my flight home.
This weekend I have two similarly varied events that involve a lot of driving and lack of sleep as I head to Cardiff on Saturday for the Time Flies 25th Anniversary and then to Cheshire on the Sunday for Haçienda Classical at Carfest North. And that’s just the way I like it. As long as I continue to have varied weekends with enthusiastic crowds from all walks of life I’ll be happy.
Incidentally, this Friday’s gig at the Circle in Carlisle has been unavoidably postponed and rescheduled to 27th December. Apologies for any disappointment. Tickets will be valid for the December date or you can contact the venue for refunds.
Thanks to everyone who came along to last weekend’s gigs. You were all immense.
You can listen to my DJ set from YC19 here: Graeme Park YC19 Redcliffe Festival Live DJ Set
Full details of all of my forthcoming dates including how to get tickets can be found here: Gigs