Unashamedly flamboyant and unapologetically nostalgic, you'd be hard-pushed to find an event in Europe which celebrates the genre and its culture in all its glory quite like Liverpool Disco Festival.
With less emphasis on the cheesy stuff, the day and night event caters to music heads with a proper penchant for soulful grooves and classic house sounds - it's a feast for the ears, bolstered by names who have conquered and shaped scenes of the past, alongside those who continue to keep the spirit of it all alive.
LDF takes place across a cluster of venues in the city's Baltic Triangle area, this year utilising the major warehouse spaces including Camp and Furnace, Constellations and Hangar 34, each just a few seconds walk from one another. The abundance of options from arena to arena proved to be the event's main triumph, with each one hosting something of a slightly different musical taste and a completely different production vibe, despite the niche in which the event was built around.
The uber-welcoming atmosphere can also be counted confidently as one of the club-meets-festival's main selling points. Founded by the team behind the adored Southport Weekender, known to many as "the world's friendliest party", and local promoters Hustle, Liverpool Disco Festival has a real family-oriented, all-inclusive community energy, something which was reflected in the varied age range of attendees and the sheer enthusiasm for music shared by the majority.
Lured in like a moth to a flame to after seeing the Glitterbox logo emblazoned in magenta across the LED screen at the back of the room through the open warehouse doors, we excitedly settled in Camp and Furnace under a myriad of mirror balls after picking up our wristbands. Having Defected's disco sister brand host one of the main rooms was a feat in itself, with it being the first Glitterbox club party in the UK outside of London.
John Morales was on fine form as we took our spaces at around 5pm in the packed out room, leaving us feeling like it was more mid-morning than late-afternoon, he dipped into instantly recognisable tracks like Kenny Dope's 'The Bomb', Chic's 'Le Freak' and Eurythmics' 'Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), much to the delight of the sequin-clad, glitter-covered crowd.
Defected boss Simon Dunmore was up next, delivering our favourite set of the night. It met every expectation we had for a Glitterbox showcase music-wise, with him powering through euphoric sing-a-long selections like Gwen McGrae's 'Keep The Fire Burning', DJ Koze's remix of Lapsley's 'Operator', and some of the label's biggest releases like 'Sunday Shoutin' by Johnny Corporate.
He was joined on stage by the brand's stalwart drag queen dancers as he brought in The Brothers Johnson's 1980 post-disco hit 'Stomp!', kitted out in silver lycra and extravagant shoulder pads, they embodied the fabulousness of the music that was being played.
With Dunmore giving the nod to the dancers during M&S' 'Salsoul Nugget (If You Wanna)', a giant confetti cannon shooter was unleashed in perfect synchronisation as the track dropped. Dancefloor moments don't get much more feel-good than that one. It was a taste of what everyone had been talking about when they spoke of the Glitterbox parties in Ibiza, and it was the spectacle which made our night.
Elsewhere whilst we lapped up everything Glitterbox had to offer, stars from the era where it all began were wowing crowds in the other venues, with The Gallery founder Nicky Siano on hand and Tony Humphries playing a Zanzibar set. Over in Constellations it was an ode to the Southport Weekender and Suncebeat, with the likes of Mark Seven, Mr Scruff, Andy Davies and Terry Jones all on hand. It made for a sensational and sophisticated showcase of music.
Around 8:30pm we headed to Hangar 34 to catch D-Train live, it was a slightly underwhelming performance but indulgent and enjoyable nevertheless, with a rendition of Prince's 'Purple Rain' and a feel-good version of his track 'You're The One For Me' counted in his set list. Along with Ultra Nate this was the only live performance, but with Odyssey down as last year's headliner, something of a similar vein or even more high-profile would be better next time around to take the event up another level.
We shuttled back over to Glitterbox for a closing set from David Morales, who delivered a more reserved performance than we were expecting after listening his high-energy mixes previously, with Dunmore delivering most of the goods we'd been holding out for. He still pulled it out the bag on a few occasions with tracks like X-Press 2's irresistible 'Muzik Xpress'.
After that it was on to the Hustle and Deep Into Soul after party back at Hangar 34 with Jellybean Benitez and David Morales, the latter who upped his ante slightly from earlier on with big tunes like Debbie Jacobs' 'Don't You Want My Love'. Tumbling out the venue at about 5am, met with broad daylight, it was hard to believe a whole 12 hours of disco and dancing were behind us.
There's nothing else quite like Liverpool Disco Festival on the clubbing and festival circuit, and it was further proof that the city's scene is still expanding successfully beyond the original big dogs. The Baltic Triangle has the capability to host something that people would and should travel miles for. It's a truly special event, one that we want to be part of for years to come.