It might seem unusual to buy a ticket to an event for which you have no idea of the lineup, nor even the location. But that’s part of the beauty of Alfresco Disco. On Saturday afternoon, the impeccable party throwers picked us up and teleported us to yet another more than memorable event that sucked us back into the early Sunrise Parties of the late ’80s and early ’90s.
With a lack of knowledge but a huge rush of anticipation, hordes of rave indulging music lovers swarmed into a pack of buses and started on the road to the latest secret location. The atmosphere on the bus was great. We were like kids waking up on Christmas morning, all excitedly reminiscing about our Alfresco experiences and getting butterflies about what was waiting ahead.
Slowly creeping up the motorway in the pouring rain, what should have been a 20-minute ride was taking much longer than expected and we were getting more and more eager to party. It then dawned on us that we were going to Easter Compton. We joked about arriving at an empty field in the rain with just a small marquee and dodgy rig keeping us entertained, but we all knew Alfresco would not disappoint.
Suddenly the rain stopped, the clouds parted and at the end of a large rainbow we saw the top of a ferris wheel. We jumped off the bus as soon as we could and ran to the entrance.
Everything was on point and within minutes we felt completely sucked into the inspirational early ’90s rave culture that we had been too young to experience in real life. One of our friends described it as a ‘rural Motion’ but we all quickly agreed that was a total injustice. It was far more than a club night. This was a festival, party, event, and experience all thrown into one. Trying not to get too lost in the moment, I prioritised finding the set times. True to their word it was top notch.
Over in Warehouse 2 the Stamp The Wax DJs kicked things off with a bang, reminding us why they are a go-to for new music recommendations and why their Monday Morning Mixtapes completely dominate the Mixcloud charts.
Over in the Main Warehouse, the likes of Beattie and Dirty Talk kept the crowd bopping until 5pm. By this point, the full convoy had arrived and everything was bustling. There were plenty of bar staff to keep us fuelled across the two warehouses, and if you wanted a break from throwing shapes and blowing your whistle you could sneak off to ‘the snug’. This, the ultimate chill out room, contained an array of colourful inflatable sofa-beds and beautiful ambient mixes performed by Matt Annis and Legendary Tone until 9pm and then Mixmaster Morris until close.
Then it was time for underground house legend Doc Daneeka. His soulful, funky rhythms enthralled us all and it made total sense why he had been booked to play this occasion. He made sure to play some absolutely banging classics, but then all the DJs seemed to perfectly balance nostalgic records with some brilliant adaptations and new beats.
Other acts on the bill included Marshall Jefferson, Luke Soloman and Rough Draft and of course the Alfresco Disco DJs themselves. Every set seemed to fall perfectly in place including the closing set by Bristol’s finest DJ Die. What better way to close a night than with a local legend that has been a key part of the underground movement and rave scene for the last 20 years?
As rather wavey party-goers piled back on the buses back to Bristol, there was no anger, no violence, just love for Alfresco. Once again the gang had provided a party that perfectly extracted all the good elements from free parties and illegal raves and balanced them perfectly on the right side of the law. They are a truly inspirational bunch who have helped create a whole new genre of event in the UK. We cannot wait for the next one.