Saturday 28th August had finally arrived and it was the first day of the SOLD OUT South West Four weekender. Extended to a two day festival this year we were delighted to see the sun shining after a week of rain.
We made our way to the infamous Clapham Common, home to SW4 for many a year. As we picked up our passes and walked in, we manage to catch the end of Alex Metric finishing up his live set on the main stage.
We make our way to the front of the main stage to see Radio 1 DJ Pete Tong. A regular at SW4 he was to kick things off in typical Tongy fashion, busting out massive track after track and showcasing why he is still one of the most in-demand DJ’s in the world. Dropping the massive Swedish House Mafia “One” brings the crowds running into the main stage area in their hundreds, by far one of the biggest tunes of the year.
Over to the other side of the park to catch Gareth Emery in the TimeOut Gallery Arena who is playing a nice selection of uplifting trance to an already very busy tent. The Gallery Arena has been one of the most popular tents at SW4 and with a lineup including Judge Jules, Sander Van Doorn and Paul Oakenfold it was bound to be packed like a sardine can!
We quickly head over to the DJ Mag Bedrock Arena to see Mutant Clan (Timo Maas and Santos) who are busy on their setup of 8 CDJ’s and 2 mixers. They seem to work seamlessly together to blend track after track.
Moving onto the Toolroom Knights arena, we catch Dirty South who has had another productive year in the studio releasing the popular “Phazing” which is doing the damage around clubland. Sticking to his electro / uplifting house style he rocks the crowd in one of the tents that I quite enjoyed throughout the day. We also catch Funkagenda in the Toolroom Knights arena and he rocks the crowd with a massive set.
As the sun continues to shine on through the afternoon, the crowd was building up to its maximum 20,000 capacity. We see smiles all around us as we walk through the crowd back to the main stage to catch Laidback Luke, one of the busiest DJ’s / Producers in the business. Pumping out track after track we were very excited to see him for our first time. His style is a mix of uplifting / progressive house and electro. His blend of tracks at SW4 gathers a massive crowd in the main stage area.
Erick Morillo as energetic as always teases the crowd with a great intro track and then busts into his unique style of Latin / Miami style house music. It’s been a while since I last saw Erick on a big stage and he always plays with a high amount of energy, constantly dancing and grooving behind the decks. By the end of his set, there is a mass of friends and colleagues gathered on the stage partying with Mr Morillo.
As we mill about the press area we catch a glimpse of Paul Oakenfold and Tall Paul having a chat before Oakey heads off to the Gallery Arena, quite the site to see the two legends together.
Sasha takes to the decks as the crowds begin to darken as a few rain drops being to fall. With his progressive style Sasha starts off slow and slowly builds the journey up to a style that only Sasha is capable of. A couple tracks in and the rain beings to come down, however this doesn’t affect the crowd, they are more up for it than ever! A few umbrella’s go up and jackets go on, some of the crowd try and pack into the tents but the majority enjoy the rainfall which lasts only 20 or 30 minutes.
We head back to the Bedrock Arena to catch John Digweed who to my surprise is playing a rocking set to a fully packed out tent. Playing a more uplifting set than I expected I quite enjoyed seeing Digweed back here again.
With a muddy ground and nite falling, headliner on the Main Stage Armin takes to the decks to massive applause, most of the crowd have been waiting for him and they have their dancing shoes ready. Armin gets right into the stride and the hands are up in the air from the very first beat. The world’s number one DJ never disappoints and his set is typically Armin, a journey through some of the biggest trance tunes of the moment and a selection of Armin classics.
We leave before the end of Armin’s set to avoid the mass exodus, having enjoyed quite an awesome day at SW4. With most of the day quite pleasant before the rain, a great lineup and crowd to suit, SW4 once again shows why it is one of the most popular dance music based festivals in the UK.
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