SW4 2011 Review by Hannah Hassack

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.

SW4 2011 Main Stage Lineup’s announced

SATURDAY 27TH AUGUST:
MAIN STAGE IN ASSOCIATION WITH MINISTRY OF SOUND
JOHN DIGWEED / LAIDBACK LUKE / PETE TONG (RADIO 1)
JAMES ZABIELA / HERNAN CATTANEO / SOS
 
john digweed“I am very lucky to have been asked back again to play at one of the UK`s premier Festivals SW4. For me it just seems to get better and better each year, They really do deliver a fantastic day out in the centre of London featuring the world’s best DJ`s and live acts, so to be part of this again is amazing. Really looking forward to my set and also seeing who else is playing. To play to your home crowd in the centre of London is the best experience any DJ could have.” John Digweed
 
Since opening its doors on 21st September 1991 as an alcohol-free nightclub dedicated to house music,Ministry of Sound has gone onto become a flagship for British youth culture; an iconic brand that includes the world’s most famous club, the world’s largest independent record label, and a multimedia entertainment business, all directed from their South London home. 2011 is a significant milestone forMinistry of Sound as it marks their 20th anniversary. To celebrate the Ministry will be involved with a series of events across the globe, none as big as hosting the main stage at South West Four onSaturday 27th August.
 
laidback lukeIn addition to a London festival exclusive live performance from the undisputed kings of electronic music Underworld, SW4 welcomes a huge lineup of world class DJs to Saturday’s main stage lineup. Having graced the green grass of Clapham Common on six consecutive occasions, with hisBedrock arena one of the highlights of last year, John Digweed is back. Following his sell out Brixton Academy show back in October and an intimate Bedrock event at London’s Arcadia over Easter, expect John to end the summer in style. Laidback Luke made his very successful debut at last year’s South West Four with a performance that had the Common rocking under the August sun. Continuing to produce some of the biggest tracks to hit our airwaves, not to mention selling out clubs and events the world over, we’re delight to welcome Luke back to SW4. 2011 represents 20 years of Pete Tong hosting his BBC Radio 1 show. He has a massive summer ahead with many huge performances celebrating this milestone and a much anticipated return to Pacha Ibiza for an all new residency. Having rocked the main stage in 2010 we’re delighted to welcome Pete back to his home town for another memorable appearance.
 
James Zabiela’s last SW4 performance came back in 2009. After having two years away from the Common it was time to welcome the technical whiz kid back. A hugely popular figure and a a stellar addition to any line-up, we’re very excited about what to expect. One of the world’s great DJs Argentina’sHernan Cattaneo debuts at SW4 in 2011. A name synonymous with deep, tribal and progressive house, we’re delighted to be able to add him to Saturday’s line-up alongside Demi and Omid 16B akaSOS.
 
SUNDAY 28TH AUGUST:
SW4 MAIN STAGE IN ASSOCIATION WITH UNION
ANNIE MAC (RADIO 1)
DIGITAL SOUNDBOY SYSTEM
FEAT SHY FX, BREAKAGE, B.TRAITS WITH DONAEO, YOUNGMAN & STAMINA MC
WRETCH 32 / TOTALLY ENORMOUS EXTINCT DINOSAURS YASMIN / UNION
 
“We are delighted to be hosting the main stage at SW4 festival this year! After throwing secret invite only raves for five years we wanted to open the invitation out to everyone, so we’ve asked some of the biggest acts on the planet to join us on stage in Clapham this summer. The main stage is always the focal point of any festival but the mindblowing acts and production we have in store for this year will take things to a level never seen before!  Prepare yourselves because we’re about to destroy the city of London!” Mark Adams (Union)
 
Revered as the blueprint for a 21st century club night – secret but fun, exciting but underground, Union has gained a ferociously loyal following in a very short time. With an insane and hedonistic crowd and awe inspiring production, Union is an example of what can be achieved when you tear up the rulebook! 2011 marks the fifth anniversary of Union’s residency at the legendary Fabric in London and their hosting of the main stage on Sunday 28th August at SW4 is one of a series of non-secret events to celebrate.
 
Alongside the musical juggernaut that is Pendulum and dubstep’s most loved trio Magnetic Man, Sunday’s main stage line-up focuses on the more alternative side of the dance music spectrum. The first lady of BBC Radio 1, Annie Mac, has this year continued to take her‘Annie Mac presents’ tour across the world with monstrous parties that have turned many a head. Add to that her hugely successful weekly radio show and you’re looking at one of the most talked about DJs of our time. As the leader of the Digital Soundboy SystemShy FXleads a tight-knit team of like-minded Soundboy soldiers. This includes the prestigious Breakage, one of the world’s premier female DJs B.Traits with MC Donaeo, DJ Marky’s MC of choice Stamina and one of the UK’s most exciting and dynamic vocal talents, Youngman.Adding more live music to the Sunday Main Stage lineup, London’s grime sensation Wretch 32 has recently shot to fame after the release of his debut smash hit ‘Traktor’. Having toured the UK extensively this year to rave reviews, we’re delighted to add him to the SW4 line-up. It’s not often you see a life sized dinosaur play electro but this is what can be expected fromTotally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. Beginning her music career as a DJ in London just two years ago, Yasmin has already founded her own successful club night, spun around the world for N.E.R.D., Taio Cruz and Eve and played storming sets at Glastonbury and Ibiza Rocks. Established as a world-class spinner, Yasmin is now ready to make her mark as a fully-fledged artist, singer and songwriter in her own right. Her next stop? SW4.
 
SW4 SATURDAY LINE-UP SO FAR…
SW4 MAIN STAGE HOSTED BY MINISTRY OF SOUND:
UNDERWORLD [LIVE]
 (2011 LONDON EXCLUSIVE)
JOHN DIGWEED / LAIDBACK LUKE
PETE TONG (RADIO 1) / JAMES ZABIELA
HERNAN CATTANEO / SOS
DJ MAGAZINE PRESENTS THE GROUP THERAPY ARENA:
LINEUP TO BE ANNOUNCED TUESDAY 26THAPRIL
COCOON ARENA IN ASSOCIATION WITH VIEW LONDON:
LINEUP TO BE ANNOUNCED TUESDAY 26THAPRIL
SHAKE IT! ARENA IN ASSOCIATION WITH PARIS FG RADIO:
LINEUP TO BE ANNOUNCED TUESDAY 26TH APRIL
 
SW4 SUNDAY LINE-UP SO FAR…
SW4 MAIN STAGE HOSTED BY UNION:
PENDULUM [LIVE]
 (2011 LONDON EXCLUSIVE)
MAGNETIC MAN [LIVE]
(2011 LONDON FESTVIAL EXCLUSIVE)
ANNIE MAC (BBC RADIO 1)
WRETCH 32 / TOTALLY ENORMOUS EXTINCT DINOSAURS YASMIN / UNION
+ VERY SPECIAL GUEST
DIGITAL SOUNDBOY SYSTEM
FEAT. SHY FX , BREAKAGE, B.TRAITS WITH DONAEO,
YOUNGMAN & STAMINA MC
LAST.FM ARENA HOSTED BY TOGETHER:
LINEUP TO BE ANNOUNCED TUESDAY 26THAPRIL
DJ MAGAZINE ARENA HOSTED BY WE LOVE:
LINEUP TO BE ANNOUNCED TUESDAY 26THAPRIL
DRUMCODE ARENA IN ASSOCIATION WITH MIXCLOUD:
LINEUP TO BE ANNOUNCED TUESDAY 26TH APRIL
 

South West Four 2010 Review

SW4Saturday 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.

Pete Tong SW4We 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 MorilloErick 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.
Armin Van Buuren SW4
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.
You can see more photos here in our Facebook album.