If you are, or ever have been, a fan of dance music, and you weren’t in Blackpool 12noon-11pm on Saturday 8 July, you missed out on one of the best old-skool club classics parties around in Back To The Old Pool.
Returning for its second year to Blackpool, but this time upgraded from its former site at Lawson Showgrounds to the glorious Tower Festival Headland, BTTOP made history as the first dance music event to take place on this site. This was a celebration of rave culture from eighties to noughties across five venues where Blackpool front shone gloriously in the blazing sun and the beautiful sandy beaches and calm, blue sea set an Ibiza-style vibe.
The lineup featured DJ sets, PA’s and live performances from the likes of Dave Pearce, Seb Fontaine, N-Trance, Angie Brown and Rosalla but for me it was mid-afternoon main stagers K-Klass who stole the show with their memorable house tunes and well-paced set that lifted the crowds up and kept them there for as long as they could stand (literally)!
It’s true that the target audience for this event was predominantly 35+ in age and that for many, the years had taken their toll in terms of widening waistlines, receding hairlines and necessarily lowered hemlines but it was also clear that this was a generation who hadn’t forgotten how to seriously party. There was possibly less sweating, gurning and stranger-hugging and way more Prosecco-drinking and glitter facial accessories in the main than ‘back in the day’ but the moves were still there and in hardcore display on all the dance floors.
The outdoor main stage beautifully backdropped by Blackpool Tower was produced in association with Dance Decade and the sound equipment was gorgeously satisfying with only a slight glitch during Rosalla’s set when we lost some poke, but this was restored as firm favourite Dave Pearce took the reigns.
The other four set-ups were inside large marquees and amazingly, in spite of their proximity to each other, each managed to maintain its own identity and sound quality. These included the Syndicate Superclub Reunion Arena, Wigan old skool brand More Cake, Blackpool-born party-starters, Sanctuary.
There was also a VIP arena that was hosted by new bar in town Home & HQ which included improved toilets, bottle and waitress service, an exclusive bar, and outdoor seating area, although with the top VIP group-ticket price of £1200, the atmosphere might have felt very different on a rainy day.
Those who hadn’t upgraded, had only the ground to sit on (albeit with some cracking gags underneath them courtesy of the Comedy Carpet). Bearing in mind the organisers’ target market, this might have benefited from a little more forethought. My only real complaint about the day though was the poor catering offer: four vans all peddling cheap-grade burgers, hot dogs and chips meant that the veggie options were extremely limited and not in-line with the rest of the atmosphere of the day. This could have been a great captive market for some more luxury food providers to take a pitch and really swell the overall experience of the day.
There was an after-show party hosted at the Talbot St venue Home & HQ that, due to being in said-target market age bracket, I didn’t make it to but will aim to get in training for a more hardcore attendance next year. This great initiative has obviously been created by those who know the scene well and didn’t want to disappoint and will hopefully be back again in future years. As standard tickets cost £45 for the day, there were a range of VIP packages and they also offered a deposit option where you could pay £20 upfront and pay the balance 2-weeks before the event, there are few barriers to this gig hitting the ‘one-to-watch’ festival lists for 2018.
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