Alfresco Disco are one of the only parties in the UK who have managed to maintain such a loyal following despite never having released a lineup or location ahead of time. The formula was simple for this outing: get the coach from a designated place and time and expect nothing less than a proper party, put on by some of Bristol’s finest curators. With Part 1 of Rave Of The Decade (Alfresco’s 10 year celebration) taking place on the pier in Weston Super Mare, the second part had to deliver a punch, and with a 90s theme, it certainly promised to. Arriving to the sight of a ferris wheel, fairground rides and food stalls set up next to huge farm buildings filled us with a distinct sense of excitement.
Starting things off in terms of music were the Stamp The Wax residents, mixing between some lighter disco and some meatier house cuts, like Glowing Palms’ ‘Koh’ and Crystal Waters’ ‘100% Pure Love’. Meanwhile, next door Rob Beattie and the Dirtytalk residents were warming things up nicely.
The decor in the second warehouse space was immediately eye-catching. With DJs playing from the side of an old van, and hay bales providing vantage points for people midway through the crowd, the sound carried right the way out to where people queued for the ferris wheel. This itself was a lovely touch, providing us with a little respite at one point, and allowing us to take stock of the sheer size of the event. Below, the sounds of Rough Draft resident Alex Talossa and Alfresco’s own Frankie and Tom filled people’s ears and, as the sun went down, the rain had well and truly subsided and it was time for some real fun to be had.
With a clear focus on atmosphere, the lineup went against the model adopted by many of the city’s larger collectives and, as usual, showcased a variety of friends, interspersed with some bigger bookings. As nothing was revealed beforehand, there was no need to entice people with the biggest names of today, but rather just put on a real variety of acts that might bring the best party. This time, one of the Godfather of house, Marshall Jefferson, and Luke Solomon were the biggest hitters, providing a lesson in some of the classic hits of the 90s, to a warehouse full of people dressed in garb of the era. In general the music was hardly the most groundbreaking, but in truth this completely didn’t matter. The vibe was electric from start to finish and the fact that we were far from home was forgotten within the first five minutes.
Parties of this size can sometimes feel a little hectic, but the organisers put a lot of care into every little detail, making everything run smoothly. There were some complaints early on from people waiting for coaches in Bristol missing some of the earlier sets, but this was largely forgotten once they arrived at site. Equally the organisation involved in carting so many people back to central Bristol around midnight on a Saturday was executed without a hiccup.
Every Alfresco Disco event is completely different, that’s the charm of them. It’s impossible to know exactly what you’ve signed up for until you arrive on site, but you’re assured to never be disappointed by what they have in store. Unlike others who are pushing parties in one direction, Alfresco Disco have managed to strip things back to how they used to be and take us back to a time when it really was all this simple.
Photo credit: Khris Cowley for Here & Now.