Festival Preview: Metro Weekender 2006

It’s back – and it’s now in Cardiff as well as London!

Metro Weekender is a two-day event over the festival-packed August Bank Holiday weekend, comprising southwestfour and Get Loaded In The Park. The line-ups alternate between the two cities. southwestfour includes DJ legends and the hottest new names in dance music. Get Loaded In The Park offers a retro/new indie mix with live band performances.

The names for Sunday look much like the lists of the big festivals this year, with the likes of Lily Allen, Graham Coxon and The Buzzcocks. But for the Metro Weekender, you don’t have to travel, camp, or last three days without a home-cooked meal, and we get all those names packed into one day’s worth of incredible music, right in a city.

If indie’s not your thing, or if, like me, you have diverse enough tastes to enjoy both days, all the big names of the dance scene seem to be in one place on Saturday, with Carl Cox, Pete Tong, Paul Oakenfold, Judge Jules and many other well-known plate-spinners entertaining us all day.

Last year saw 40,000 Londoners on Clapham Common over the course of the weekend. This year’s Weekender seems to have more and bigger names, and more space, so expect it to be big! And there’s more to be announced, apparently, including another big name for London’s event.

For the first time ever, the Weekender is doubling up as well, with the two days switching cities from London to Cardiff. The Welsh capital even has Snow Patrol playing on Saturday. This is an experiment for the Weekender, but given that it has sold out both of its previous incarnations at Clapham Common, I doubt it will struggle to pull a great crowd in both venues.

Six of the best at southwestfour:
1. Carl Cox
2. John Digweed
3. Mauro Picotto
4. Shapeshifters
5. Sander Kleinenberg
6. Judge Jules

If you don’t want to go home between the days, in London you can catch the southwestfour afterparty at the Brixton Academy. Billed as the biggest afterparty on the planet, it includes an exclusive first time set by Armin Van Buuren and Judge Jules, Ian Betts, John Askew, Gavyn Mytchell, King Unique, StereoLogik DJs, Groove Factory + 3 areas of dirty, funky and vocal house music lovers.

After you have danced yourself into a foot-blistered frenzy and need a different kind of entertainment, those thoughtful people hosting Sunday’s Metro Weekender, Get Loaded In The Park, have just the thing: the Comedy Store is sending some of the best comedians on the circuit south of the river to perform in the Guilty Pleasures Arena, in London on Sunday, August 27.

There’s also meant to be an appearance by Babyshambles – but if the antics of Mr Pete Doherty fail to float your boat you might like to check out our top five acts not to miss:

Top five for Get Loaded:
1. Digitalism
2. Lily Allen
3. Badly Drawn Boy
4. Echo & the Bunnymen
5. Greenvelvet

Mickey Hutton, Craig Campbell, Rick Grover, Jason Rouse and John Fothergill will be keeping the gags coming thick ‘n’ fast, as they provide the back-to-back stand up, in between the quirky live acts and DJs.

Other entertainments include Breakdance Battles, punk fancy dress, a cabaret, food and drink stalls (although no alcohol or food can be brought onto the site, be warned!), and the lovely Laundrettas.

All in, expanding the festival to make it two legs makes sense in a year bereft of Glasto, and if you’re not at Reading, Leeds, the Notting Hill Carnival or Cross Central then you have no reason to be anywhere else.

buy Carl Cox MP3s or CDs
Spotify Carl Cox on Spotify

More on Carl Cox
Festival Preview: Metro Weekender 2006