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Oxford May Day Ball 2000
by Jacqui De Wet

We were listening to Radio One’s Dance Anthems as we drove down to the Oxford May Day Ball from Leeds.

A little tired after a nite at The Space, I was masterfully massaged back to form by Dave Pearce and his thumping tunes, as he took calls from clubbers making their way down to the 15,000 capacity event at Milton Common……  

Raising our spirits ever higher as he sounded out the names of the star-studded line-up of world-class DJs and live acts:  

 Arena One

Paul Oakenfold, Judge Jules, Death in Vegas (Live), Jeremy Healy, Cirrillo, Anne Savage, Kiddo, Jo Mills

 Arena Two
(Tongue ‘n’ Cheek)

Tall Paul, Brandon Block, Alex P, Danny Rampling, Dave Pearce, Graham Gold, Mark Lewis, Aaron B’Junior, Tim Colour

 Arena Three

Club Tropicana featuring GLAM 2000 

 Alternative Room

Goldie, Giles Petersen, Scanty Sandwich, Boy George, Dean Thatcher, Terry Farley, St Gracia & Seth Sanchez, Judith Winks

The Oxford MayDay Ball has actually been going since 1987, and set in one of England’s most beautiful and historic cities, is seasoned in culture and tradition.  But this year’s backers, Mezzanine Events (dance music club and event promoters) made sure that this would be the best and most exclusive outdoor dance event of Summer 2000, boasting massive screens showing live webcast at the event, a catering village, two massive main bars, full funfair, Sega Dreamcast arena, casino, 200 ft bungee jump, secure cloakroom, information point, first aid area, serviced toilets, free drinking water points and chill-out lounge.

We only arrived after midnight and knew time was a-passing, so we plunged feet first into the ankle-deep mud and headed for the clearly-marked VIP entrance for our tags.

Thirst and several pre-planned meetings took us straight passed the fairground rides, through Arena One, into the VIP/Press Area.  The line-up here promised Danny Rampling, Mushroom, Dave Beer (Back to Basics), Jo Mills, Kiddo, Clive Henry (Peace Division) and Stuart Patterson…..

But the sounds of Paul Oakenfold in Arena One was calling and I suddenly felt at Home…..

I was enslaved to his entire set, pausing only to speak to a shining Canadian clubber called Darren Jackson, who deserves a mention for sharing my passion for succumbing to primal dance energies and letting their techno rhythms take you all the way past the blue.  We followed Oakey blindly, releasing the power of his music into our bodies, forging a sacred reunion.

Anne Savage was next and we used this opportunity to check out the stage and speak to some of the Dancers.  Unfortunately, I had missed Judge Jules, who had been quite upset with the positioning of the decks and kept coming forward, beckoning and seeking support from the crowd.  Following up on this, Mike Green of Mezzanine Events explained that the Judge had come on just before live act, Death in Vegas, who’s equipment had taken up place just prior to his set.  In hindsight, Mezzanine agree poor judgement and will definitely ensure a better plan for next year.

I’m glad we had taken a few moments out, as Jeremy Healy was the last to play and the energy from his set was like juice from forbidden fruit…. He kept the crowd (and me..) wanting more and more, leading us into total submission…

I remained on the dancefloor until the very end, my body climaxing at the dedication of the clubbers around me.

Despite the earlier 3-hour drive, losing my mobile phone in the cab, the usual deflated feeling that follows such a loss and not being able to meet up with Neil Viney or Alistair of E-Clubber, I left feeling wholly fulfilled, satiated, splattered in mud and a taste of honey-laced euphoria in my mouth.  The night had still been a resounding success.

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