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Why day parties are taking over dance music

The joys of daytime partying are myriad, says Josh Baines – and he’s not alone

  • Words: Josh Baines | Illustration: William Davey
  • 26 August 2019

I’m standing in a club. Jane Fitz is dropping bomb after utterly perfect bomb, every record hurtling the room closer to the sort of transcendental moment of ecstatic communal release that you only envisage as being an actual possible thing that can happen when you’re surrounded by people on ecstasy. While on ecstasy.

I’m thinking about Alan Bennett.

I’m thinking about Alan Bennett and buttery toast and orange juice and Sunday Brunch and barrelling into the nearest Greggs knowing full well I’ll be stumbling out with a triple chocolate doughnut and a steak and cheese roll clutched to my chest. I’m thinking about the Corrie omnibus and freshly laundered pyjama bottoms.

In short, I no longer want to be in a nightclub. I look at my phone. It’s five to four in the morning. I definitely don’t want to be in a nightclub at this point in time.

And I know for sure that I’m far from being the only semi-jaded partygoer looking for an early night.

From the increasingly numerous array of all-dayer festivals that see the headliner politely offered a round of applause by 11:PM to venues like Giant Steps and its sushi-serving sister spot Brilliant Corners, which specialise in turfing punters out before Love Island’s wrapped up for the evening, it’s clear that more of us than ever are clamouring for a way of seeing our favourite DJs without foregoing any beauty sleep.

The reasons why clubbers might be drawn to regular doses of afternoon delight are many. Some find the idea of slinking into a subterranean spot long after midnight a simply terrifying prospect; others are into the idea of going out for a dance but can’t be bothered with all the fuss and faff of arranging a babysitter and then sitting through little Jemima’s piano recital the morning after with the kind of comedown they last experienced when Tony Blair was in power, and some just seem to really, really like wearing Hawaiian shirts on rooftops. It takes all sorts.

Paul Byrne, who releases records as Apiento and runs the Test Pressing website along with Soft Rocks man Piers Harrison, is a big fan of the day party. The late May bank holiday weekend saw Piers and Paul persuading Washington DC’s most dynamic duo Beautiful Swimmers to hot-foot it from Peckham Rye to Hackney Wick to close out a TP bash at Giant Steps in fine style.

“To state the obvious, they just offer such a contrast to the traditional nighttime party,” says Paul. “The daytime party allows a breadth, musically, that you don’t get in a club or large event. They allow you to find your space and settle and just have a generally much more loose experience. This doesn’t mean the music can’t be tough or whatever, but you can just spend a bit more time getting to that point.”

Festivals like Belfast’s notoriously up-for-it AVA are proof that partying while Peppa Pig is still on doesn’t mean you’ve got to sacrifice the sort of big, bolshy, big-room antics that most of us save for after the watershed.

Still, there are certain sounds that lend themselves particularly nicely to the sort of party that starts during Football Focus and ends during Match Of The Day. For those of us with a Balearic inclination, the day party – whether it’s Ruf Dug getting wonky by the pool at Pikes or the Aficionado chaps treating Manchester’s discerning drinkers to a smattering of folk obscurities over a pint of DIPA at a Chorlton microbrewery — has become core currency.

After all, the wafty screamers that you’ll hear a Lexx or a Mark Barrott roll out in any given set just make more sense when accompanied by sunshine and the heavenly olfactory concoction that is sun cream, fag smoke, and a cheapo burger being grilled to absolute buggery on a nearby barbecue.

But whether you’re watching Helena Hauff tear Shoreditch an early-afternoon new one at one Krankbrother’s east London street parties, or NTS top dog Charlie Bones taking a softly-softly approach to a late-evening sunrise set, the simple pleasure of partying safe in the knowledge that you’ll be back in bed while the bulk of the country’s clubbers are just cracking into their sixth can of G&T remains an unalloyed joy.

Of course, a cynic might argue that the day party, with its poké bowls, Boomerang-friendly cocktails and strict adherence to council-mandated noise policy, represents a sanitised take on nightlife – and to some extent it does. But if you’re asking this writer to choose between fighting for the future of clubbing as an inherently radical, subversive act and not having to crawl onto public transport at 7:AM looking like a zombie that’s been dragged through the bushes outside Berghain, I know what I’ll pick every time.

Having your cake and eating it is great. Eating it in front of the telly in front of a Bouncers repeat after a very good afternoon out? even better.

Read this next!

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The 10 best new parties in Ibiza in 2019
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