Helen Giles lapped up nostalgic sets from the likes of Chicane, Binary Finary, N-Trance and K-Klass in front of Blackpool Tower.
Last updated: 13th Jul 2017. Originally published: 12th Jul 2017
Image: Adam Mullender / Back To The Old Pool (credit)
Returning to the iconic seaside town of Blackpool, Back To The Old Pool boasted in its press campaign improved facilities, hard floor arenas and a brand new open air stage for its 2nd instalment, as well as bringing together the biggest DJs and artists of the 90s and 00s to bond ravers old and new to reminisce the good old days where dance music united a British nation.
Moving from its previous home at Lawson Showground, the promoters have worked hard to secure this year’s location for the event, in the shadow of the archetypal Blackpool Tower on the town’s promenade overlooking the Irish sea – the perfect setting for any festival, especially when basked in the glorious sunshine.
Upon arriving on the promenade, we were greeted by the most welcoming staff and security, who helped set the tone for the day. Everyone involved and attending the event was friendly and full of life, enjoying the magnificent weather and the fantastic warm up artists spread over five stages.
Matt Bell was providing a summery house soundtrack to the afternoon with a funky old skool feel, getting everyone grooving in the ‘More Cake’ tent, whilst DJ Hux over on the open air main stage mixed together Nalin and Kane’s ‘Beach Ball’ seamlessly into David Morales’ ‘Needin U’ so effortlessly, showing his pure talent for the art of mixing much to the appreciation of his audience.
Even as the venue started to rapidly fill over the course of the afternoon, there were no obscene queues for any of the facilities on offer, thanks to an effective and reasonably priced token system for drinks, allowing everyone to stay hydrated in the summer heat. One thing that was slightly lacking was any space to sit and have a break from dancing, but with a line up as impressive as this one you didn’t want to stop for a second, for fear of missing some amazing talent.
The Syndicate Superclub arena pumped out the most exquisite mixture of uplifting and up-tempo trance continuously, much to the adoration of fans. Veterans and experts in their field Binary Finary were a particular highlight with a hard and relentless set, with the crowd stomping and fist pumping for the duration of the set, not willing to let up for even a second. And what set of their wouldn’t be complete without a sneaky interjection from one of their biggest hits ‘1998’, which sent everyone into a state of pure euphoria.
The Sanctuary arena just next door to Syndicate was bursting at the seams all day, providing fans with all of the bounce classics you could imagine. It proved impossible to move as N-Trance spun hit after hit, and Lasgo brought an air of nostalgia with them to help close the stage later on in the evening, with a live version of one of their many hits ‘Alone’ reminding everyone of how wonderful this era of dance music really was. The added accompaniment from the audience who sang along to every word at the top of their lungs was truly heart-warming.
Speaking of Live PA’s, the selection of live performances that promoters had put together added variety to the day, invigorating both audible and visual senses amongst fans. K-Klass stormed the stage in the late afternoon with one of the best live performances of the day, turning up the tempo from the word go by jumping straight in with their most recognised hits ‘Let Me Show You’ and ‘Rhythm is a Mystery’ taking us straight back to the early 90s with upbeat piano licks and powerful vocals coming straight from the heart and soul.
A short but sweet set from the mighty talent that is Baby D sent ripples of joy across the promenade later on in the evening, cementing her status as one of the most quintessential performers of the 90s. Everyone had gathered together to listen to the rendition of one of her most famous tracks ‘Let Me Be Your Fantasy’, sharing in the moment with waving arms, singing along to every word.
As the sun started to set over the Blackpool coastline, it was down to a few selected artists to provide a fitting finale to the day that would do it justice. Dave Pearce, a former Radio 1 DJ who has played a key role in the development of dance music culture for decades, put together a stimulating set that captured the essence of dance music right from its origin to the modern day. But the act that everyone had been waiting all day for was the elusive Chicane, and he certainly didn’t disappoint.
Opening with a fitting tribute to the late Robert Miles, ‘Children’ sent shivers down the spines of many as they embraced each other with tears in their eyes, hanging onto every emotion emitted through the subtle yet moving tones within the song. The set went on to follow this theme, evoking pure emotion out of even the hardest person. The energy at the outdoor stage was electric, as the audience hung on to every note emitted from the impressive sound system, whilst watching the trance master at work.
Fire dancers added to the visual aesthetics, and as the event drew to a close, ‘Saltwater’ stole the hearts of all, as people hugged and cried, sharing their emotional experiences and uniting in appreciation and awe of one of the greatest dance music artists of a generation.
It still feels disappointing that there were so many other artists and DJs that we didn’t have the opportunity to see, but this is natural of any event with a line up as impressive as this. What we were able to experience and be a part of over the course of the day was of the highest quality, with every DJ and performer putting 100% into their shows, enjoying it just as much (if not more) as everyone who came. If only there were more hours in the day!
The promoters for Back to the Old Pool promised improved facilities and much more in their campaign and they certainly delivered, proving that dedication and passion really does pay off. Back to the Old Pool have successfully revitalised the dance music scene with this fantastic event, whilst at the same time keeping old skool alive amongst such a vast genre where there are so many talented artists and promoters, and new genres emerging every day.
This has got to be one of the best old skool dance events to ever hit the UK, and with how successful this year’s event has been thanks to, and with the promoter’s hard work and the fans continued support of the event, it can only get bigger and better.