Grammy Award winning DJ, remixer and producer Roger Sanchez is being flown over from the States to play at Towneley Park.
He’ll be joined by another huge international DJ, who is yet to be confirmed, as well as 90s stars including Sonique, Nightcrawlers, N Trance and K Klass.
Six DJs from Burnley and the surrounding areas also won a competition to play alongside these names at Retro In The Park in the summer.
Visionary producer and pioneering DJ Paul Taylor believes that the latest Retro venture will put Burnley back on the map and rival some of the biggest and best music events around.
The 62-year-old is determined to recreate the scene from the ‘90s in Burnley when he 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, a place they’d never heard of.
Taylor, a hitmaker for Kylie Minogue with “Keep on Pumping It”, caused pandemonium on the motorways back in 1994, bringing the M65 to a standstill, as the dance music creator pulled in punters from far and wide.
Now the one-time sultan of soul, jazz and funk, and owner of the longest-running club brand in UK dance music history, is expecting to draw huge crowds once again when he brings ‘Retro In The Park’ to the town.
Sanchez, who has created remixes for the likes of Diana Ross, Daft Punk, Madonna, The Police, No Doubt and Maroon 5, has already been confirmed as the headline act at Towneley Park on Saturday, July 4th.
“This is as big as any Tall Trees gig that I’ve done,” said Taylor, who attracted up to 6,000 people to the nightclub in Yarm each month over a 14-year period.
“It means so much to me – Burnley is my home town, it’s where my brands were created. We’ve got to know the Council really well, they have been really keen to help us in any way.
“We love Towneley Park, we think that it’s one of the best parks there is. Burnley is really lucky to have such a beauty spot. We walk our dog around that park every day, it’s a big part of our lives.
“Our plan is to grow year on year, this is just the start – we’re looking to get up to 10,000 people in the next few years. It’ll be massive.
Taylor added: “We’ll develop it to other areas as well. Let’s do more and let’s use the facilities that we’ve got in this town to draw people in. I’m talking big events, those where we can attract in a 100-mile radius around the town.
“We managed to do it in Burnley in 1991 when we were booking Carl Cox and Sasha and people like that, all the big DJs at the time. We were getting people from all corners of the country coming to Burnley.
Sanchez, the founder of Stealth Records, who received huge recognition for his remix of “Hella Good” in 2003, is being flown in from the States to front the Retro stage.
The pair, alongside Mark Hadfield [fellow producer of the Loveland label], 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 that year.
He’ll be joined by another major international DJ as well as Graeme Park, Tall Paul and, obviously, Taylor himself.
“The main act is Roger Sanchez, we’re flying him in from the States,” beamed Taylor. “It’s taken a lot of persuasion, it’s taken years for me to do this. I’ve asked Roger on numerous occasions, I’ve asked [David] Morales on numerous occasions, it’s all about timing and persistence.
“It took me five years to get David Morales to play a classics set because artists tend not to want to be pigeon-holed in a particular genre.
“They want to create their own sound and Sasha is a perfect example of that. He has never strayed away from his roots of music, he has his own musical style and he will not change it.
“You’ll never get him to do it, I’ve asked him 20/30 times and I know him personally. He has the love for progressing forward. Every time I see him at Ibiza airport I keep asking him. Maybe one day.”
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 Stu Allan, Rob Tissera and Matt Bell evoking a romantic and nostalgic undertone. Taylor’s handiwork promises to reunite two generations.
“By popular demand, I’ve started an Angels Reunion night,” Taylor confirmed. “The first one sold out in five minutes, that’s 500 people. It’s a fascinating story based on a group on Facebook that started in 2007 to reminisce of years gone by and to share music. The page was stagnant until six months ago – now there’s 2,000 members on it.
“These events are bringing generations together. Of the three stages that we’re incorporating into the site there’ll be the Retro main stage and there’ll be an Angels Reunion arena.
“The Angels audience are 40/50/60 years old. It’s a completely different brand so we’ll have a 1,000 capacity marquee in the park.
“There’s no crossover between Retro and Angels Reunion at all. Retro is an evolving beast and it always has been. The sound has developed over the years and it continues to, but it’s nothing like what the music policy was at Angels in the early 90s.”
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.
“Acts like Baby D and N Trance would never play on a Retro stage, but they’re an important part of that era,” said Taylor.
“The kids will go crazy for it. To reach a wider audience and introduce different sounds to ears who were too young to be part of the original scene.”
More than 40 entrants submitted full one-and-a-half hour mixes for Taylor’s consideration. The former Angels resident, who was given his break by Ian ‘Soapy’ Sudders as a teenager, somehow managed to whittle it down to six.
James Sempie and Matty Robinson have now been handed the opportunity of a lifetime to play on the same stage as superstar DJ Sanchez while Grant Holmes will be joined by Marc Mackender, Liam Boult and Mick Clarke in the Angels Reunion Arena.
Taylor said: “There are two household names playing in the Angels Reunion marquee, but the whole concept has been about drawing out pure energy from this town from a DJing perspective. I had no idea how many talented disc jockeys there were so close to home.
“I was astounded by the quality of the mixing, the choice of music. They are all from Burnley, Padiham, Nelson, they’re all very local. They’re going to be playing at an event with 5,000 people at it with international artists and I love the thought of local lads being involved on the same line-up. It’s a great story.
“I’m also astounded by the knowledge of the punters out there. They keep listing tunes and I can’t even remember half of them. It’s evoked a lot of memories for me, it’s an inspiration. I’ve got my mojo back musically because of it.”
This is a monumental development for Burnley and its surrounding areas, but, make no mistake, this is just the start. Taylor, regardless of whether he’s on the decks or not, is ready to put Burnley back on the map, as it was in the ‘90s.
He finished: “As Retro has got bigger and bigger, over the next five years in particular, there’s a story within a story. I’m 62 now and I can’t go on forever so the Retro brand has to evolve into something else because Retro was all about Paul Taylor and Paul Taylor was all about Retro.
“People talk about it in the same sentence; we’re both the same thing. I’m trying to build Retro up and use more international DJs, who want to play classics and who were around in the ‘90s.
“I’m talking about some of the biggest international artists around the world coming in to play. My main aim is to take Retro into a new era where people will want to listen to DJs other than myself.
“At some point I’m going to have to hang up my headphones, but I want Retro to continue without me being a part of the playing side of it.
“We’ve gone for a selection of exceptionally good house DJs who are playing a classics set – and this is a rare treat. I can’t wait to hear where they take it. Every set will blow the trees from Towneley.”