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Bugged Out Weekender 2016: Laughing in the face of seriousness

The festival's fifth edition was another riot of fun

  • Funster with additional reporting by Patrick Hinton
  • 20 January 2016

It's 3pm Friday and I've just been bundled into a car outside Mixmag HQ. The CDJs and portable soundsystem are packed and once out of London, Omar S is blaring loudly from the stereo. It's a far cry from the same time Monday, when I'm sprawled embarrassingly across three chairs on the train, getting prodded by a conductor who needs to check my ticket and check if I'm still breathing.

Yup, it's January. The month of Bugged Out Weekender. One of the most unashamedly silly festivals on the circuit and one that's celebrating its fifth birthday this year.

When our crew arrive we feel the full force of the cold. Bognor Regis is freezing and a hangover in this weather is brutal. So why do so many people make the pilgrimage to Butlins every winter?

Firstly, the programming is pretty spot-on for the 18-25 crowd. Skream, Jackmaster, Hannah Wants and DJ EZ are among the main draws, with Ame, The Black Madonna, Joy Orbison and Gerd Janson being some of the connoisseurs' choices.

Secondly, the holiday park location is one of the most bizarre yet hilarious places to have a party. Butlins is intended for families and small children to have a pleasant, all-inclusive spring or summer break, so the giant arcade, seemingly never-ending rows of chalets and Burger King seem logical. For them.

All of this turns trippy when you spot a lad in a tracksuit passed out in one of the driving seats of the Mario Kart game. Or when you're walking around for an hour because you can't work out which one of the identical fucking apartments is yours. Or when you realise that the only things happening in Burger King are shocking selfies and one punter trying his best to chew a Double Rodeo burger.

The vibe of the weekend goes hand-in-hand with the seaside psychedelia. Both the DJs and ravers are fully up for it all weekend and spirits are high, regardless of weather, post-Christmas bank accounts or hangovers.

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