Afterthoughts: Bugged Out Weekender 2016

Bognor Regis in mid-winter might seem like an unusual setting for a festival. But this is the Bugged Out Weekender, home to the hardiest ravers, all of them intent on sticking two fingers up to Dry January. Butlin’s is our home for the weekend – in effect a big playground for adults, complete with pool parties, carpeted dancefloors and a Burger King a few seconds walk from Centre Stage. The sort of place where you bump into Andrew Weatherall on your way over to the Time Crisis machine.


Luke Dyson

Friday’s got a great mix to start us off. Barely Legal is up first, firing off a crowd-pleasing set that takes in some of the biggest UK anthems of the last five years. ‘Hackney Parrot’ goes down a treat, as does ‘Wildfire’, and I’m ashamed to say I needed reminding just how good Kelis’ ‘Millionaire’ is. Novelty garage crew Kurupt FM are up next, and their boisterous antics are the perfect fit for the weekend’s unpretentious no nonsense vibe. They’re followed by actual garage legend DJ EZ. This is the first time I’ve seen his set, and while I’m not entirely convinced by all of his selections, his CDJ wizardry is frankly astounding.


Luke Dyson

One of Saturday’s big draws is a 3-hour DJ Koze set of rushy house and hard-hitting techno. However, I end up spending most of the night in The Escape, where Concrete Music have put together a great lineup. Lil Silva knocks it out of the park with a generous serving of rap (Drake, Rae Sremmurd, Fetty Wap), UK bass music and some heavy drum workouts. Novelist keeps the energy going with Grandmixxer throwing out grime bangers from behind the decks, before Mumdance seems determined to crowbar the entire history of UK dance music into his set. He sends us on our way with fifteen minutes of old school rave tunes – a nice touch.


Luke Dyson

I’m pretty broken by the time Sunday night rolls around, but Julio Bashmore’s choice house cuts coax me back into life. Or at least have me swaying gently at the back of the room. The Black Madonna delivers the best set of the weekend with a mix of classic Chicago heaters and more contemporary cuts. ‘Under Pressure’ is an unexpected but very welcome Bowie tribute, especially when mixed into Frankie Knuckles’ ‘The Pressure’. She’s a hard act to follow, but thankfully Bicep adopt the sound tactic of making sure every tune is an absolute banger. Their edit of Lady Gaga’s ‘Alejandro’ brings things down a notch before ‘Just’ deservedly sends the room into ecstasy. Bring on 2017.


Luke Dyson

Main image: Tom Horton