A dance festival is not necessarily where you would expect to find an indie-rocker on a sunny Sunday afternoon – yes I said sunny, despite Saturday’s apocalyptic rain. This weekend marked the tenth anniversary of one of London’s biggest dance festivals, South West Four, and maybe it was the fact that the festival takes place five minutes from my flat – which overlooks Clapham Common – or the intrigue to see why thousands of people would flock to the middle of South West London on an August bank holiday weekend – either way, I headed out with the masses to see what all the fuss was about!
SW4 – named because it‘s in South West London and started in 2004 – has gained a reputation as one of the greatest dance festivals that London has to offer. Having avoided dance music for the majority of my life, last year I found myself in a tent in Inverness, lost in a heady hysteria to Justice and realised that ‘hey, the songs don’t all sound the same!’ Since then I have added record by record to my music repertoire, and this weekend I even found myself recommending sets to my lifelong dance music loving boyfriend – how far one has travelled in only a year!
I can honestly say that I loved every set, with particular love going to Groove Armada and Crazy P – who performed an incredible live set to a packed out tent! But what really surprised me was the people. As a girl who’s found herself in a mosh pit or two over the years – of which, I hasten to add every time has been accidental and utterly terrifying – I wasn’t sure what to expect from the crowds.
What I learnt this weekend is that ravers – or at least those on Clapham Common during late August – are some of the friendliest people I have had the privilege of sharing a tent with, and I would like to say thank you to you all.
Thank you for making my first dance festival experience such a positive one. Thank you to the guy who was in his utter element throughout Groove Armada, showing me that it is OK to dance like no one is watching post-25 years- old. Thanks to the lovely girls who doled out loo roll in the queues for the toilets. Thanks to my lovely bloke for my first on shoulder experience at 28 years old (and you were right, you didn’t drop me and I have no broken bones).
Thanks to SW4 for hosting a brilliant weekend of fabulous music in essentially my back garden and cementing my love for South West London – OK further cementing my love – and for dance music! I am already looking forward to donning my festival hat and glow sticks for 2014!