Bugged Out celebrated their 20th birthday this year, but this was the 3rd year of the full weekender experience. Last year it was held in Bognor Regis, this year Southport was chosen as the venue for the 3-day extravaganza.
With its origins in Manchester, Bugged Out first came to the attention of music lovers with a regular Friday night show at Sankeys in the 90’s. A move to Liverpool then followed and it was the 4000 capacity Cream venue that was chosen as the spiritual home for three years. As a club brand they have put on everyone from Daft Punk to the Chemical Brothers over the years. DJ’s flock to play at their shows because they are so well renowned within the scene and this weekend was no different.
With three full days of parties and with multiple rooms to choose from, the reasonable price for tickets along with easy access from various cities around the North West meant for a great vibe. The door system was extremely easy to navigate and there was no heavy handed searching like at some festivals.
Maneuvering your way around the rooms with slot machines and arcade games in-between is a bit surreal, but the location definitely added to the atmosphere. Worth mentioning as well was a story I heard about Kerri Chandler, who was spotted playing on the 2p machines between sets! Fair enough. Oh and course a special mention to the Mixmag afters too…
It was a big weekend for some of Liverpool’s smaller club brands as well, Abandon Silence, Waxxx and LDMS were all given warm up duties for a number of different rooms and their resident DJs didn’t disappoint.
I started off on Friday with Dixon closely followed by Julio Bashmore in the main room, it was clear that the crowd wasn’t here for a relaxing weekend eating ice cream by the seaside. Stood slightly behind both DJ’s for the majority of their sets, the movement for the drops in all tunes was astounding and it was hard not to get involved. Closing proceedings on Friday was Ben Pearce and his set was extremely well received.
Waking up extremely dazed on Saturday, I was probably most excited for Heidi and her Jackathon. With Jackmaster, Kerri Chandler and George Fitzgerald among the names down to play with her, room two was definitely the place to be on Saturday night. A genre-hopping moment came when Jackmaster somehow managed to make a blend between Ten Walls and Cyndi Lauper work well, quite how he did it no one really knew. But it did.
A massive well done must go to the production crew as well; the sound was neat and clean for the whole weekend. Some festivals and nights suffer for their bad acoustics, but Bugged Out certainly didn’t. As a whole, the Bugged Out Weekender was easily one of the best festivals that I’d been to in a long time. Maybe another trip down South beckons next year, or has it found a permanent home in Southport? Who knows, but it better make a return next year or the calendar will be very empty without it.
Review by Joe Lanigan Smith
Images courtesy of Tom Horton