Popular DJ set to stage the 'biggest dance event that Burnley has ever seen' - with thousands expected to attend the post-lockdown party!

"Music is the answer - to your problems. Keep on moving, then you can solve them."

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 8:00 am
Retro events have always been a big draw for music lovers

House music philanthropist Paul Taylor is hoping the shackles come off when his dance festival, Retro in the Park, comes to Burnley on August 28th.

The disc-spinning extraordinaire is encouraging the thousands of dance lovers to leave their troubles behind at Towneley Park - even if it's just for the day.

After 16 months of uncertainty, with lifestyles and livelihoods obliterated by the pandemic, the lyrics from the highly-recognisable Danny Tenaglia worldwide hit record will understandably resonate with many.

DJ Paul Taylor

'A celebration of house music' is the tagline attached to Taylor's vintage brand - it now takes on much more meaning as it becomes a celebration of freedom, expression and a return to normality.

"Dancing is a human trait, it's what people do," said Taylor. "People are starting to get really positive about it. We've seen a lot of positivity in messages coming through at Retro HQ and across our social media channels. I can't wait for this.

"All my events have been postponed several times, but this is it now! We're coming back out of the other side and we're going for it. It's a big party and I just hope that everybody embraces it and just goes for it - this now is one of the biggest parties of our life!

"Retro has a musical identity. People know that it's always been a celebration. That's our tagline: 'A celebration of house music'. People know what we're all about and they'll come knowing that they're going to have a good time.

DJ Paul Taylor hosting a 'Retro Live' event

"We want everything to work out, we want it to be good, and we want to look forward to the future. Let's forget about everything that we've all been through, even if it's just for that one day."

Grammy Award winning DJ, remixer and producer Roger Sanchez will headline the extravaganza on Saturday, August 28th, while 90s stars including Sonique, Nightcrawlers, N Trance and Graeme Park will add a nostalgic touch to proceedings.

A raft of local DJs feature on the line up, some making their Retro and Angels debut in front of a live audience.

Their talent and musical knowledge has earned them the right to play alongside some of the biggest names in the industry.

Paul Oakenfold, Phoebe St. Germain Fellows, Roger Sanchez, Allison Freidin, Alan Ket and Kristen Knight attend the opening of the Museum of Graffiti on December 04, 2019 in Miami, Florida.

The signature event of the summer will provide festival-goers with the chance to get their fix, especially with the likes of Beatherder and Kendal Calling falling foul of the pandemic.

"It's 100% bigger now," Taylor added. "This is up there with the best festivals in the north of England, we are really going for it with the whole experience. It will be the biggest dance event that Burnley has ever seen!

"The main stage is one of the biggest you can get. This is in OUR town and I'm really proud of it. I'm really proud that we've got to where we are. It's great for Burnley, it brings people to the town from all parts of the country.

"It's a great advertisement for Towneley Park and it will help local businesses thrive - taxis, bars, restaurants and hotels. It will help businesses move forward again.

"My vision for the future of this event is that it will double in size every year - becoming one of the biggest festivals in the north of England. It's a dream I've had for many years."

The dance music philosopher, visionary producer and pioneering DJ can empathise with the nation's frustrations, fears and reservations after almost seeing close to half-a-century of hard work and endeavour go up in smoke.

With restrictions posing a major problem - and the dance scene quickly becoming an abnormality - the pandemic hit a major artery, causing the lifeblood of the entire operation to seep through extensive lacerations.

The one-time sultan of soul, jazz and funk - a hitmaker for Kylie Minogue with “Keep on Pumping It” - grew concerned that the coronavirus may have caused the 'death of disco'.

But the 63-year-old owner of the longest-running club brand in UK dance music history, who managed to persuade a catalogue of iconic DJs - including Carl Cox, Paul Oakenfold, Pete Tong, Sasha, Judge Jules and Boy George - to play at Angels in Burnley, had put too much into it to just give in.

He said: "It's been tough and I'm not going to pretend that it's been anything other than that. However, after a long wait, it looks like we're coming out the other side of it now.

"I became really concerned, I had a bad feeling in my stomach. People could be frightened to go out. It's a worry that I, and a lot of my colleagues in the industry, have got.

"I think people could be spooked out by it. The industry has taken a massive hit and it might not fully recover from what has happened. That's my big fear; it could be the death of disco.

"It looks like we're opening up on the 19th. Michael Gove has said that there's nothing standing in our way. I've done loads of interviews and expressed my fear for the future. I've been teetering on the edge of packing it all in."

These are the moments that Taylor lives for. From the age of 16, when he was given his break by Ian ‘Soapy’ Sudders, he just wanted to get people onto the dancefloor. And now he can't wait to do it all again.

Stealth Records founder Sanchez, who has created remixes for the likes of Diana Ross, Daft Punk, Madonna, The Police, No Doubt and Maroon 5, is being flown in from the States to front the Retro stage.

He, alongside Mark Hadfield [fellow producer of the Loveland outfit], were instrumental in the success of Red Hot Chilli Peppers remix ‘Otherside’, which received huge critical acclaim and became one of the biggest illegal downloads in that period.

He’ll be joined by another major international DJs as well as K Klass, Tall Paul and, obviously, Taylor himself.

"At one point there seemed no point in moving forward. There was so much uncertainty and it destroyed all the hope I had for the future. We've lost a year-and-a-half.

"But the response has been unbelievable. We've got some huge events happening in the future. Retro in the Park has sold over 5000 tickets. There's been such a demand for it.

"The pandemic has been horrific, it has felt like going back to square one, but I'm too proud of my career to give it all in. All I want to do is get people dancing again."

This is completely different to anything Taylor has done before. Residencies at Pacha - where he was in earshot of David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia and Deep Dish - Eden Ibiza, Tall Trees, Albert Hall, Sankeys and Blackpool’s North Pier are incomparable.

This has also become an exploration and appreciation of some of music’s most seminal sounds from an era that was largely being celebrated behind closed doors and remembered on forums.

The ‘Angels Reunion’ arena, one of two alternative stages, will provide a space for expression with the mastery of Rob Tissera and Matt Bell evoking a romantic and nostalgic undertone. Taylor’s handiwork promises to reunite two generations.

And last, but by no means least, a 90s Baby stage will form the final arm of the festival. Hosted by MC Eric of Technotronic fame, the third stage is a celebration of artists and sounds that have survived an evolutionary scene.

Nightcrawlers, Sonique, N Trance and K Klass as well as Alex Party, JX, Happy Clappers and Katherine Ellis will all add a different element to the event.

"I just want to see people letting go and having a good time again. This gives everybody the chance to put this horrendous period behind us, look forward and just have a really good blow out.

"It's what everybody needs, even if it's just for a day. Retro nights have always been special occasions."

The very final tickets are on sale on Skiddle - search ‘Retro in the Park, 28 August 2021’.