off the train it wasn’t just feeling the heat and seeing masses of people that
hit you, walking down main street you got the feeling you were a part of something
The growing sense of anticipation was matched only by the rising temperature of my dozen or so beers but after seeing the off licences selling out and the pubs packed, getting a decent spot became the main priority.
Not an inch of space on the beach however as I’ve never seen so many people in my life – and this was two hours before the start!! After lots of “’scuse me”, “sorry” and “shit was that your head I just stepped on?” we made it right down to the seafront where (fortunately) the tide was going out. This worked to our advantage in a big way as the outgoing tide gave loads of people the same idea meaning that by the time it finally kicked off at 6:30 we were right in the middle of it.
The amazing, chilled out, feel good atmosphere will be my fondest memory of the night as well as our group using the giant inflatable penis as our landmark to getting back to our spot!. I also remember one of my mates spontaneously acting as an impromptu barrow boy “vodka, vodka, get ya vodka ‘ere” salesman for the girl with the brilliant idea of walking around selling vodka shots for a quid, she sold out with a hefty taking and he got a quadruple on the house. Result all round!.
Midfield General wound up the decks and shook everyone out of their laid back stance by kicking off with Groove Armada’s ‘Superstylin’, the baton was picked up by John Digweed and of course Norm moved things up a gear in the last couple of hours. By now I had a huge (not chemically enhanced I might add Constable…) grin permanently etched on my face.
Then all of a sudden it was all over. The organisers by now knew they’d have a problem shifting this many people but with 250,000 and four stairways up from the beach it wasn’t easy. Massive queues also made our kebab hunt futile although Nial ‘Munster’ Davie’s did grab a mouthful of half eaten fishcake as a consolation prize.
It all threatened to boil over outside the train station as presumably people realised they may be stranded in Brighton for the night. I saw a Police car with it’s rear window caved in which was a massive shame because it’s incidents like that that will be remembered by the authorities when considering plans for next years and was well out of character for the night. Generally though people were very patient waiting with little or no idea whether their train was running at all, fair do’s to the train company for putting on extra trains at such short notice as well.
I have to say I’ll be surprised, particularly after seeing the clean-up pictures, if the event is on again next year. Perhaps ticketing will need to be brought in to control numbers but then the whole uniqueness of the occasion will be lost. If it turns out to be the last Big Beach Boutique then I’ll definitely feel privileged to have been there in 2002.