Review: Bugged Out Weekender 2016, Butlins, Bognor Regis, England

Review: Bugged Out Weekender 2016, Butlins, Bognor Regis, England

Words by Rick Tipton

For most people, a solid festival experience is made complete by the crew of friends surrounding them. Whilst this is exactly the sort of thing you could venture into solo and leave having made lifelong chums, for me BOW says a lot about friendship and all the while, acts as the perfect mechanism to stave off those January blues. Let me tell you why!

This blustery little spot on the coast has everything you need, including a scaled down ‘Spar’ supermarket! There’s mini golf, an adventure course, pool slides that go outside the building and then come back in. An exhilarating concept that stretches far beyond childhood. To cap it all off, Samba music pulsates out of hidden speakers in the bushes, throughout the vicinity.

There is also a nautical-themed pub onsite. How many times have we been at festivals and pondered the luxury of popping into a warm, safe haven for a pint in a proper glass.

After hitting the sack some time after sunrise on Sunday morning, I woke up and bumbled over there to meet a mix of old and new friends, still up from the night before. Although perhaps a little brightly lit for Sunday refuge, confirmed by a percentage of sunshade-clad clientele, it’s the perfect spot to recuperate or carry on the party, helped along ever so earnestly by the attentive locals behind the bar.

So you ask the bunch you’ve joined if anyone wants a drink. Cut to a £40 tray of drinks on the table, including pints of Guinness with accompanying shots of Tia Maria (stitch up!) and we’re off to some brilliantly irrelevant conversation. Such banter echoes the Sunday scenes of ’90’s cult classic, ‘Human Traffic’.

The music side of things was obviously all tickety boo! You’ve got three large rooms. Each with enough space for you to throw your shapes in, just in front of the second row of speakers no less, if we’re talking about centre stage. The dedicated ravers will of course, be happy to sweat it out in the front few rows.

The other two rooms, although slightly smaller, lack nothing in atmosphere and allow for that intimacy with the DJs and Producers, you’ve migrated so far South to experience!

The sound setups were impressive throughout and would have made it difficult for even the geeks out there to pick holes in.

To access to the various stages, you walk through the ‘Butlins’ central fun hub – an astrodome with kaleidoscopic colour schemes. The space has the feel of a shutdown children’s amusement park, revived by some naughty ravers with a generator. It’s a bit chilly in there but the eery feel of unused rides and neon splashes from the arcade machines give it a ‘Hunter S. Thompson’ feel and make you well aware that fun’s in store!

Our first bit of dancing during the weekend took place outside a little wooden hut-style DJ booth in this area, complete with Funktion One sound system! A perfectly quirky introduction into proceedings.

There was an artillery of good DJs performing at this year’s BOW, so would like to mention a couple of the lesser-knowns.

Ok, Let’s talk about Andhim. It was a pleasure watching these guys, truly. Reminded me of mixing with my mate at Uni in his bedroom. When the two of you don’t need to speak. The conversation takes place under rhythmic and melodic devices. At those times, a deep understanding of each other can be made through song selection. A back and forth. A call and answer type affair formed by song-pairings and choices made. That’s what Andhim were like. It was a glimpse into one of their bedroom sessions! We witnessed live, the rapport between them. They had a great presence too. The ‘smaller one’ has a charming way of connecting with audience members, with alluring arm, hand and finger movements. Lastly, some of the most unique tracks I’ve heard in a house set of late. Tropical meets African-inspired, disco vibes!

Boddika was “something else!” I’m quoting myself there. This is techno with aggression but not due to high tempo or relentlessness. The architecture and engineer work involved in his own productions are breathtaking over big systems. They certainly have a multi-dimensional feel about them. The abrasiveness of some of the mid-range is powerful and hypnotising. When textured sounds are crafted this carefully, you can find yourself in the middle of the dance floor in awe, having forgotten to keep dancing.

To experience this sensation, go see Boddika!.

Barely Legal did not disappoint. A showstopping song selector, gifted with the remarkable privilege of being massively likeable. You WANT to like everything she sticks on.

A decent portion of her set confused the hell out of people’s Shazams. But at the same time, included classics you only dream to think of, when in the depths of a Youtube party!

We captured this moment from her set….

The music kicks off at 9pm every night. This means in the daytime, you have more than ample time to refuel and get yourself geared up for the mania ahead. A refreshing change from waking up in your tent and realising you’ve missed out on several hours of music. This relaxed approach, with all focus falling on the night, resulted in my friend and I enjoying a selection of fine cheeses and white port, watching Jurassic Park on the Saturday afternoon!

On the discussion of where to rest your head, the chalets are cosy enough but if you’re willing to fork out a little extra, the Wave Hotel will suit you down to the ground. Some of the most welcoming personnel you’re likely to find. Not to mention, funny as f**k! Checking in, my buddy asked the receptionist if she’d have any time off over the weekend to boogie. Her response was, “Nah, I’ll probably just be going home to bang one out on the sofa!”, which is perhaps one of the most brilliant things I’ve heard someone say that I’ve known for under a minute.  

So go to Bugged Out Weekender 2017 with a good crowd of cronies and you’ll have a blast!

Cover picture by Tom Horton

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