Arriving for the Saturday line-up at about 2pm the party had very much already started. The queues of people waiting to get in moved at good speed and there was just enough time to swig a cider or 2 before we were in the middle of the action. And the mud.
The majority of people arrived at the event between 12pm and 4pm, wanting to make the most of the excellent value line-up. At £40 for an early bird ticket, SW4 attendees couldn’t deny they were getting a good deal, with a very similar line up to Creamfield’s at nearly half the cost.
With it being the first of the 2 day event which spans the August Bank Holiday weekend, the grass was fairly green when we descended, the facilities were in good nick and spirit levels were high (in terms of both vodka and mood) The general atmosphere can be described as Creamfield’s meets Park Life, which is unsurprising given the line-up. Dance lovers paradise, this wasn’t an event for the faint hearted. Forget flowers and mellow swaying, think welly-stomping and glow-sticks!
The weather was predictably unpredictable; swinging between bouts of strong sunshine and bursts of rain, but people spirits weren’t dampened. As the fields became muddy and the poncho’s came on, it only seemed to spur people on and give them the energy to have a good time, all was embraced and a festival glow spread like jam and fuelled our fire as we danced the day away.
Things kicked off with Underworld on the Ministry of Sound’s Main Stage, with it being their exclusive appearance in London for 2011 crowds were strong. Their techno rock cocktail was a brilliant way to kick off the afternoon and as the throngs filtered in it was quite literally music to eager ears. The energy and excitement of Underworld's gig set the bar for the entire event, and what followed didn’t disappoint.
Underworld were followed by Laidback Luke, Zabiela and Pete Tong to name but a few legendary acts known for their energy and power to get the crowds going, while over in the Cocoon area, Sven Vath, Loco Dice and Josh Wink held their own.
A definite highlight was undoubtedly the rip-roaring response Above & Beyond received when they kicked things off in Group Therapy Arena. This entrancing trio have edged their way slowly but steadily onto the electro scene over the past few years and their fantastic catalogue of hits and lesser known tracks has made them a must-see and didn’t fail to wow us. Mixing it up with some Sirens of the Sea classics as well as some Group Therapy numbers of latter release, the ravers were more than satisfied.
For a bit of variety, Over in the Shake It! Arena, Tiga, M.A.N.D.Y. and Layo and Buschwacka did their thing. The line up in this arena offered some unique electro dance remixes that could really get you shaking and delivered an ever so slightly more toned down tunes to rave to. Following the aforementioned quirky acts and bringing in some underground house tunes to finish off was European DJ Spencer Parker.
Another highlight was Ferry Cortsen’s special appearance – a phenomenal way to close the Group Therapy Arena, the finale offering the same calibre with which the arena opened. The long standing globally celebrated trance hero sent ripples throughout the entire arena with his powerful and intoxicating beats. The energy of the event had not yet died and crowds were on fantastic form to appreciate it. Bringing out some classics from his extensive discography, as well as offering up some new mixes, the set was edgy, energetic and enchanting. The set ended all too soon, but this was definitely a case of quality over quantity, and the calibre of the entire set couldn’t be doubted.
Reports tell me the quality of Sunday’s event was just as a high, and despite the direct competition with Creamfield’s, Clapham Common absolutely held its own for the entire weekend. Each year the line-up for SW4 seems to get more captivating and with the outstanding shows from such globally acclaimed legends this year, the calibre of the line-up is bound to peak yet again next year! Get yours early, because this is a fantastically priced, superbly located event that promises to deliver.