judge jules diary report 9th june 2013

Let’s kick this instalment off with some significant, but exciting news. As many of you have noticed and asked me about, there’s been something of a delay in announcing this year’s Judgement Ibiza line up. This is all for good reason. After 13 years of hosting Sundays at Eden, we’re moving our operations to Fridays. Henceforth known as Judgement Fridays

This is for multiple reasons, the most significant being that the San Antonio super club has been sold within the past few months to new owners, and every night at Eden is being freshened up. They’re spending major money on a top-to-bottom refurbishment of the club – this summer it’ll be like going into an unrecognisable venue. I’m pleased to announce the launch night of Judgement Fridays on 28th June, featuring yours truly, along side Kissy Sellout, Ashley Wallbridge & Paul Webster. For full season-long line up information, please head to judgementfridays.co.uk . You’ll notice lots of new DJ faces appearing on the line-ups. I’ve tried to incorporate many new names whose music productions have formed a significant part of my DJ sets over the past twelve months.

On Friday 29th of March I hit one of my most regular long-haul haunts, Dubai. On this occasion it was for the annual EDMX at the Atlantis Beach resort. The event was open air, located directly behind the iconic Atlantis Hotel. Folk living in a permanently warm climate often take the conditions for granted, but I never fail to appreciate an open air festival, and I was lucky enough to do quite a few in the period covered by this instalment. Joining me on the line up were ATB, Example and plenty of other heavyweight artists. The vista of sand and shoreline from behind the decks was picture perfect, and with plenty of UAE friends in attendance I couldn’t fail to enjoy. The next day I headed over to a neighbourhood full of bespoke tailors to get some new stuff made.  Although not as inexpensive as the Far East, Dubai is a much cheaper tailoring option than the UK. Following a morning of shopping and eating, I headed over to Dubai Airport to fly British Airways back to London and then onwards to Ireland. On the subject of British Airways, if you’re travelling long haul on BA in the near future, check my Global Warm Up, now featuring on BA’s inflight entertainment channels.

The next outing was the first of a few trips over to Ireland within the last few months, as I played “Queens” in County Clare on March 30th. Flying directly from Dubai, via London, I was absolutely exhausted and running on empty.  The Irish always possess so much energy, and it’s amazing how a raucous crowd can pick one up from even the most shattered moments. Being the bank holiday weekend in the UK, the next day I was set to play Blackpool, with this in mind, I headed to bed at an airport hotel pretty much immediately after leaving the decks in County Clare.

Onwards to Blackpool, and Easter Sunday 31st was bitterly cold, as the UK suffered one of the coldest springs in living memory (50 years, to be precise). The conditions didn’t make for the perfect evening to stage a fully outdoor Judgement event on the Pier in Blackpool.   The promoters booked the night on the basis that a year earlier their Easter event on roughly the same weekend had been so balmy that the crowd turned up in shorts and flip flops.  Fast forward a year later, and the temperature for this outdoor party was zero degrees.

Although I feared that numbers would suffer big-time, the night was actually busy, going to prove how thick skinned Northern Brits are. The atmosphere in Blackpool gets a comfortable ten out of ten, but, as a Southern softie, I must confess to having deejayed in a thick overcoat.

Since commencing my role with London based media law firm Sheridans in October, I’ve successfully balanced gigs and day job, enjoying both in equal measure. Occasionally it can be exhausting, but I’ve managed to lose 2 stone of weight, which has not only increased my energy levels, but probably aided my mental focus too. On Thursday 4th April, I left work and set off for London Gatwick heading for Barcelona, en route to Salou on the Costa Blanca. I was booked to play the legendary Pacha for a vast crowd of UK students who’d travelled down from the UK by coach. Although I can see the “fun” element of the journey, I personally struggle to spend more than 2 hours on a bus, let alone 18 hours or more, not to mention the ferry crossing. The gig was absolutely packed, with over 5000 students inside and coaches parked outside as far as the eye could see. When you get a moment, check out the pictures via the gallery section of the site.

On Friday 5th April I headed up to the “Lowlands” of Scotland to play Falkirk, somewhere I’ve visited on a few occasions. The beauty of flying domestically is the reduced time one needs to be at the airport before boarding the plane.  Who needs too much wasted down-time in departure lounges? The gig was noisy as always, and I enjoyed my interaction with a bunch of louder-than-life clubbers.

The next day I headed over to Bergen in Norway, which involved flying back down to LHR and connecting out to Scandinavia. During my career I’ve visited more beautiful cities around the world than I can count, but there’s not always the time to soak up enough of the local sights and sounds. On this occasion, the promoter took me on a whistle-stop tour of Bergen and it was a fantastically beautiful city, just basking in its first days of snow-free springtime after the long Scandinavian winter. Red Bull sponsored the event, and on arrival back to my hotel room I found a case Red Bull outside my door. Although this would be a dream for some, I’m not a massive energy drink consumer, in fact almost never.  They make me feel too edgy. Thanks for the hospitality I received in Bergen – I managed to snap a few pictures that you can check out via the Gallery section of the site.

Saturday 13th April was the next outing, and on this occasion it was a “Revolution” double header. First, my road manager Pete and I headed up to Loughborough, which takes about 2 hours from London. Later, we headed down to Milton Keynes to play an event for the same promoter. Both gigs were suitably noisy, and Pistol Pete got me to both gigs in plenty of time with his mastery of burning off tyre rubber. It was rewarding to see so many mates in attendance at both shows, and I appreciated playing in relatively close proximity to home for the first time in a while.

The next outing was on Saturday 20th April, as Pete and I headed over to Swansea for Judgement Night at Oxygen, local hero Big Al’s new venture.  In many UK cities the existence of the entire local dance scene can be credited to a handful of visionary individuals who laid the local clubbing foundations.  Big Al is one such guy, and it was gratifying to see his new venture working so well after moving over from the Escape, where he’d been for such a long spell.

On Friday April 26th I headed east, flying with Qatar airways to Bahrain.  Although there had been hints of revolutionary trouble reported on the UK news about Bahrain, I saw no evidence.  It seemed like very much the same prosperous and vibrant city-state as on my previous two visits.

It was open-air time again, as I played the Amwaj Marina for a large-scale beach event. My management had mentioned to the promoter that I’m a Grey Goose vodka fan and they took the suggestion seriously, enlisting Grey Goose to sponsor the entire VIP area.  If there’s one product I don’t mind endorsing, it’s Grey Goose.  The gig was packed and memorable (despite the vodka trying to interfere with said memory), and I hope to be invited back sooner rather than later.

The next day I was performing in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia at Music Conference Asia. With the flight from Bahrain to KL taking 7 hours, there was no room for delay, especially taking into account the west to east time difference. I went pretty much straight from the decks in Bahrain to the airport to make the itinerary work. Thankfully there were no delays, and I landed in good time.  After checking into my hotel, I headed straight down to a conference suite at the event to give a speech and take a Q&A on all things dancemusic-related from the audience.

The gig that night was huge – check out the pictures via the Gallery section of the site to get a sense of the scale of things. The DJ following me (who’s well known and I won’t name-check) was playing from laptop, which, sadly for him, broke. This meant that I got a double length set, something I was more than happy to accept, considering I was playing in from of 10,000 people outdoors.  DJs’ technical choices have branched into two different schools of thought – turntables (which I use) and laptops.  This wasn’t a good advert for the laptop fraternity.

The next day I flew home to London via Doha, Qatar, with a fairly lengthy connection of around 6 hours. There’s always plenty of work to be done on planes and in airport lounges, so I’m never short of stuff to occupy me, but I’d prefer not to be separated from my nearest and dearest for any longer than totally necessary.

Friday 3rd May saw a trip down to Bournemouth to play one of my favorite venues in the UK, the O2 Academy, formerly The Opera House. Slinky at The Opera House used to be one of the biggest weekly Trance events in the UK, but in recent years has only hosted special events.  I have a whole (metaphorical) album’s worth of memories from the place, back when it used to be weekly. This time round I played alongside Gareth Emery, who harks originally from nearby on Britain’s South Coast, and the club was rammed. I hope Slinky continue these events as it’s important to keep the culture alive in Bournemouth.

The next night was the Judgement Street Party event in Maidstone, Kent. I was slightly worried about how much of a success a street party would be with the unpredictable UK weather, but I should have paid more attention to the venue spec, as (despite its name) it was covered-over and not exposed to the elements. Both the weather and clubbers were on top form. I played two sets, one in the House orientated room and one in the more banging arena, joined on the decks by Orjan Nilsen, Simon Patterson, Claudia Cazacu and many more. Whenever the “Judgement” banner is attached to a UK event I care even more than normal about its success, as my name is on the line.  The Maidstone event was an absolutely storming finale to the bank holiday weekend and a standard bearer for the Judgement brand before the summer.

Wednesday 15th May was a one-off occasion where I squeezed in a gig overnight in between working days at the Sheridans office in London. It took place in Waterford, Ireland, and (pardon the cliché) the craic was there in abundance.  Although its economy has not enjoyed the best of times of late, the Irish transport infrastructure has improved out of all recognition.  Whereas, five or ten years ago a cross-country journey of any length was impossible because of the poor Irish roads, Ireland is now crisscrossed with a spanking new motorway network.  This means that recent visits have allowed me to fly into Dublin and be driven to destinations elsewhere in the country, which is the preferable option as there is such a huge choice of flights into the Irish capital, compared to regional ones. Following the gig, I stayed in a Dublin Airport hotel and made it back into the Sheridans offices for 9.30am, feeling pumped up and ready for the day ahead.

On Thursday 16th May my new Pioneer CDJ2000 Nexus set up arrived. It’s been a while since I played around with DJ equipment at home, but this kit is truly amazing, especially when connected to the new DJM900 Nexus mixer. If you’d told me 15 years ago that this is how far DJ technology would advance, I’d have called you crazy.  Over the course of the same week I went to Pioneer’s dedicated DJ studio in Shoreditch for some tuition in the advanced use of Pioneer equipment.  Although I’ve spent the past ten years using their stuff as my core DJ technology, I learned a huge bunch of new tricks. It was an important reminder that one should always continue to brush up one’s technical skills and never stand still. Check out my technical set-up via http://www.pioneer.eu/uk/newsroom/news/CDJ-2000nexus/page.html

On Saturday 18th May I headed to the Seoul “World DJ’ festival in South Korea. With recent warlike rhetoric having being dished out by the North Koreans, my flight to Korea was pretty empty, with some passengers presumably having been deterred by what they’d seen on the news. I was able to spread out and create a little office area for myself in the largely vacant business class cabin on BA.

On arrival, I told the promoter how much I enjoyed Korean food and later that day they spoiled me with some of the best cuisine that Seoul had to offer. The gig was a large-scale sold out arena festival with multiple stages. My set was on the main stage, which was open air. Annoyingly, the Heavens opened torrentially during my set.  In fact, it rained so heavily that the decks needed to be moved deeper under the covered-over stage midway during my performance. My weather experience aside, I’d highly recommend visiting the country if you get the chance. If you’re in London at any point, check out some of the numerous Korean BBQ restaurants, they’re truly fantastic.

The next journey was to Dublin on Friday 24th May. I played for fellow DJ/Friend Paul Webster, who has a monthly event at “Home” nightclub in his home town of Balbriggan, just outside the Irish capital.  Before the gig Paul took me out to dinner at a local Thai.  Although a pre gig disco nap might have been the more sensible option, the foodie in me always takes the upper hand.  The event was packed and bouncing. I look forward to seeing Paul at the Judgement Fridays launch party on June 28th!

The following night I was in Northern Ireland at the legendary Coach.  Geographical sanity would have suggested staying over in Dublin all-day and travelling by car the 90 or so miles north to Banbridge that night. However family will always take precedence, so I flew back home in between.

Spending about six hours at home in London, I left LHR again at 7:30pm en route over the Irish Sea back to the Coach.  The BA business lounge in Heathrow Terminal 1 was chocka with artists, managers, pluggers and press travelling to Radio 1’s Big Weekend, taking place on the other coast of Northern Ireland in Derry. On an adjacent table was The Script, whose singer (as a judge one TV’s ‘The Voice’) was getting lots of attention.

The Coach is always a guaranteed smasher when I see it in the diary, so I knew I was in for a treat. I really appreciate how well looked after I am every time I go there.

Sunday 26th May was another Bank Holiday here in the UK, meaning it was time to hit the road. We headed up to Beaconsfield, just of the M40 near London for Revolution, a night I’d played the previous month in two other locations. The gig was close to London, so plenty of mates tagged along.

The final outing covered by this report was our official Judgement Fridays UK pre party at Ministry of Sound, London on Friday 31st May. Orjan Nilsen, Sean Tyas, Shogun and Tristan D joined me on the decks, and the atmosphere was truly immense as always.  Being in my home town, demand for guest list places amongst my mates always outstrips supply, and they all want to come and stand behind me in the DJ booth.  On the one hand I like this sense of camaraderie.  On the other, I’m mindful that such chaos probably looks a bit unprofessional from the dancefloor.

I finished on the decks at 3:30am, and managed to record my set, which is now live as the “June Mix” via the Mix Sets section of the site. It was great to see so many friendly faces, and I hope to see you all in Ibiza!

Finally, if you want to get in touch with me about anything musically related, or just for a general hello my email address is jules@judgejules.net . I personally reply to every email received…

Have a great week, more next time….



Judge Jules Diary Report 25th August 2012

It’s the summer season, and I figured that individually listing and commenting, in a generic way, on each and every one of the countless summer gigs that I play probably wouldn’t make for the most gripping read. Especially when part of my summer itinerary consists of the same two gigs 15 weeks in a row. I can happily sit here and reminisce about every molecular detail of each event, but I’m sure the majority of you have equally busy lives. So here’s a summary of what’s been going on in my world.

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Judge Jules Diary Report 5th March 2012

Before we go any further, when I say ‘private jet’ in this piece, please don’t start to visualise the kind of plane you see in J-Lo or Rihanna videos. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m fortunate to be flown from one NYE gig to another. However, when I refer to ‘private jet’ just think ‘tin can with propellers’.

My New Year’s shenanigans started in Port Rush, Northern Ireland where I was playing the midnight call at the legendary Lush. I arrived into Northern Ireland with plenty of time to spare, and enjoyed a fabulous dinner with Lush promoter and friend Col Hamilton at the adjacent restaurant to the club.

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Judge Jules Diary Report 1st Jan 2012

Firstly, I would like to wish everyone a happy new year and thank everybody who’s been in touch via my social networking mediums or email over the past few weeks. Your kind words really mean a lot.

This instalment kicks off at the tail end of November, on Saturday 26th. It was a blustery night in the north east of England, containing a double header of gigs. The first port of call was Northallerton for a Koolwaters event. Pete and I arrived into Northallerton slightly unsure of our location and crept around the vicinity of the club looking for a parking space. When you park in unknown towns late at night, you tend to be selective about where you leave the car. This obviously aroused suspicion, as a few minutes later we were stopped by an unmarked police car, clearly viewing us as some kind of undesirables. Thankfully, as soon as they saw our innocent faces and sweet smiles, they let us go on our merry way with helpful directions to the venue. On arrival at the club there was a line stretching down the street and around the corner- always a good sign. The gig was great, and the DJ booth was fantastically situated -the perfect balance of not too near and not too far away from the dancefloor.

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Judge Jules Diary Report 3rd December 2011

On occasional day-long ‘business’ trips to foreign countries I feel like I should be wearing a suit and have a copy of the financial times under my arm. On Thursday 20th October I dressed rather differently from that, and headed to Holland for the annual Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), the world’s most important dance industry conference. It’s a great opportunity to meet the people you speak to on email all year long.

Travelling with my Radio 1 producer Alex, it was an early start, as we were booked in to record a co-host show with Armin Van Buuren at 9:30am in his house in the town of Leiden. I set off for the airport at 5am for a 7am flight to AMS. It was a nice experience seeing Armin in his home environment – normally we only manage to catch-up at gigs on which we share the same bill. Armin was extremely hospitable, and after the co-host, Alex and I headed into the city to meet up with Tristan D.

At ADE, I was speaking on a panel called “Ibiza is… the new Ibiza”. Also on the bill were Mark Netto, who is the main booker and organizer behind Pacha Ibiza, Ben Turner (IMS organizer), and representatives of Amnesia and DC10 . At one point things got a little heated between some of the panelists and I, as we debated the justification behind Ibiza’s very steep club drinks prices. My argument was (and is) that if the clubs charged less money they’d actually sell more drinks. Simple economics and everybody wins.

After a catch-up with Big Nik from Ibiza in an Amsterdam coffee shop (where I didn’t partake… not my thing at all), I headed straight back to Schipol Airport for an evening flight to Manchester. My road manager Pete met me on arrival in to Manchester, and we headed straight for a gig at 53 degrees in Preston. Unfortunately the journey wasn’t long enough for a snooze, and after a brief spell catching up on emails we arrived before I’d even blinked. The event was promoted by “Taking Liberties”, who put on midweek student nights throughout the north of England. Following a loud gig, Pete and I headed back down to London, and after a near 24-hour day, needless to say I slept like a baby the whole way home.

The next outing was on Saturday 22nd October to Dunfermline in Scotland. It was a club I’d never played before, which always gets the mind ticking on how to approach an unfamiliar crowd. When we arrived I was ushered through a private entrance into a back stage room, so I had no idea how far we were from the crowd and the decks etc. I could hear the music but had no clue how busy it was, nor how the club was laid-out. After a few back stage drinks I was taken through to a packed venue with a jumping crowd – all systems go. A few hours later it was a sleep-free 6am flight, as I made part 1 of my journey to Los Angeles, via Amsterdam…

It was just as easy (and a lot cheaper) to travel from Edinburgh to Los Angeles via Amsterdam on KLM (as opposed to via London). I’m very lucky to be able to fly business class, but KLM is not the best airline – their seats are extremely uncomfortable. The only way to combat this and get decent rest was to bring a selection of pillows and cocoon myself into the seat. 11 hours later I landed in LAX, grabbed my hire car and headed for my hotel to meet up with my family (who had flown out a day earlier from London).

The first US DJ outing of the week was on my birthday, Wednesday 26th, in Orange County. OC is about an hour from LA, traffic permitting. Traffic did not ‘permit’, and it took almost two hours to cover the 35 mile journey to Anaheim. The Interstate 5 can be a horrendous freeway- it’s California’s version of the M25. Anaheim is mid way between Los Angeles and San Diego and is nicknamed the ‘armpit of California’, not because of the smell, but because it’s supposedly the hottest area of CA. The gig was at a fairly intimate venue, Heat @ Ultra Lounge. The benchmark for sound systems in US clubs is so much higher than the UK – I could feel the vibration from down the street.

The next gig was on Friday 28th, as I flew up to Las Vegas from LA. It’s amazing how many people from Los Angeles travel to Vegas for the weekend, with countless flights a day from LAX and a sardine-packed freeway for the length of the 200 mile route. I was booked to play a new club called Chateau, which is open air and directly under the Vegas mock-up of the Eifel tower. It’s always nice playing alfresco. Although Vegas gets quite cold in winter, the club had literally hundreds of stand-up gas heaters. I love Vegas and wish I could have hung-out longer, however Canada beckoned.

The next day, I flew up to Calgary in Canada for the final gig in this US mini tour. As an artist, Canadian immigration can be very painful. With a work visa that has to be collected on arrival, one can sometimes be waiting for up to 3 hours to see an immigration officer. They put you in huge line alongside students and families immigrating to Canada for the first time. For workers like me, who are coming and going within 24hrs, I think they should create a new system and have a separate line. Luckily, for the first time ever I didn’t have to wait too long and sailed straight through. The gig was at the BMO Centre in Calgary and very much a trance orientated event- just my thing. The crowd were fantastic and it would have been impossible not to have a good time. I’m trying to track down some pictures from the gig to put on the site, so if you where there then please whack them over jules@judgejules.net

Friday 4th November saw a long-awaited return to Gallery at London’s Ministry of Sound. With the chaos of the Summer, in recent months I hadn’t got to spin at my regular London gig as much as I’d have liked to. So I was very excited for Friday 4th. I finished my live Radio 1 show at 1am and headed straight down to the MoS. Gareth Emery was on before me and the club was the busiest I’ve seen it for a long time -wall-to-wall. I managed to catch the majority of Gareth’s set, which was faultless. Simon Patterson was on after me, and we left the club with big smiles all round. I recorded my set, which you can download it via the “Mix Sets” tab on the site.

Bonfire night was the next outing (if you’re not from the UK, Google it to appreciate the historical significance of the date, November 5th). Pete and I head up the M1 to Northampton for a regular haunt of mine, Fever. Traditionally I’d only done Fever on Fridays, but promoter Simon had suggested that I played on a couple of Saturdays. I’m glad I did, the club was rammed with a big line outside. Things rocked at Fever, and it was great to see the multiple fireworks displays as we headed up (and back down) the M1 motorway from London. Does anybody know when the annoying 50 MPH limit is going to be lifted and the roadworks finished on the M1? It goes for about 20 miles and is painful in the extreme, let me know… jules@judgejules.net

On Thursday 10th November it was back to Heathrow, en route to Dubai. I flew BA from T5, departing at 9:30pm on the Wednesday evening. The beauty of a night flight is the ability to get a semi-full night’s sleep and arrive relatively refreshed into your destination. With the UAE being 4 hours ahead of the UK, I landed at about 8am and headed straight for my hotel (The Atlantis). I dropped off my stuff and hit the Karama market- I had been sent on a mission by Amanda to find her a new bag. I’ve got plenty of friends in Dubai and went out for dinner and bars before the gig at Atlantis. With Dubai being relatively strict on nightlife, all of the clubs are within hotel complexes, making it very easy to get from your hotel room to the dj booth. The only down side is the strict “no drinking behind the decks” policy. Luckily, a friend kept providing me drinks just outside the booth. The club was busy, with a large expat crowd in attendance. The next day (Fri 11th) I had to dash straight back to London for my live BBC Radio 1 show.

Friday 11th was the first of three consecutive weeks of trips to Skegness for reunion parties. For those of you that aren’t familiar, ‘reunions’ are sold by the UK youth tour operators to clubbers during their summer holidays. The first of three was for Twenties’ Naughty Reunion. It’s surreal recognising so many of the faces you see at the resorts in the summer reunited in Skegness. We’re having one the mildest Novembers in history. I remember doing this exact same gig last year and there being a foot of snow on the ground.

The next day was a double header, taking in Blackburn and St Helens. The first port of call was St Helens, about 30 miles east of Liverpool, at “The Venue”. We arrived with about 20 minutes to spare and enough time for a quick drink with the promoter, before it was time to hit the decks. The next instalment was about an hour’s drive north, in Blackburn. Unfortunately, not enough time for a snooze, so Pete and I assumed our default position and discussed the day’s football results. The Blackburn show was at Warehouse One, a new venue with a corking sound system. It took me back to the early days of DJing with its basic raw feel. After a fantastic night on the road I rolled into the car and slept the entire way back to my front door in North London.

Friday 18th took in another long drive up to Skegness. Pete picked me up straight after my Radio 1 show and raced us to Skeg in great time. Week two of the reunions was the first of the “Big” reunions, completely sold out in advance. We skipped into Skegness with seconds to spare and I jumped straight on the decks, after Example, always a difficult act to follow. The atmosphere never fails and pictures will be posted on the site imminently. After a couple of interviews and downing a few drinks, Pete and I headed back to London.

More next time…

Judge Jules Diary Report 1st November 2011

It’s a great privilege doing my Radio 1 show and exposing the tunes I love to a huge audience. I hope that my passion for all I play shines through. The one disadvantage of the weekly commitment, and the finishing time, is the radius of Friday night gigs I can reach afterwards. On Friday 16th September I concluded the show at 1am, and my driver Pete whisked me 110 miles away to Evesham, which is about as far as I can realistically get to for a set after the show. It’s always a worry that I’ll turn up and the club will have thinned out, as Friday night crowds tend to go home earlier than those on Saturdays. Despite arriving at 2.30am, the club was packed and loads of people had hung around to hear me play.

The next day saw a trip to the seaside. Brighton is my favourite coastal town, sorry “city”, in the UK. I spent a lot of time there from 18 to 21 years old, as one of my closest friends was studying at Sussex Uni. Brighton is a location that never disappoints – first stop of two gigs in the city was the Shakedown festival in Stamner Park. I was booked to play the VIP arena for Hat Club, which is one of Brighton’s longest running club nights.

We arrived at the event, only to be blocked-in backstage by a sewage-emptying tanker lorry, sucking away at festival goers’ effluent through a long tube. The weather was pretty awful outside and we could hear Example on the main stage as we tried to negotiate our way past the ‘shit sucking’ truck. In the end we gave up, and walked the remaining few hundred yards to the VIP arena where I was DJing. Loads of old friends joined me during my set including Ben Gill, who was the first promoter outside of London to book me back in the early 90s. Everybody had few drinks, and when it came to the end of the event Ben and a couple of his mates tried to squeeze in my car. This wasn’t going to happen as we were already full to capacity. Ben managed to get into a hilarious state, and we waved goodbye to my old friend. As we drove off we saw him vomiting in a quiet corner.

Later that night I was booked to play the official Shakedown after party at the Honey Club. There were a few hours to kill between sets, so a group of 8 of us went for Thai at a restaurant Tristan recommended in Kemp Town, Brighton. The owner kindly kept the place open later than usual before we headed down to the Honey Club, where my set was at 1am. On arrival at the club it was a little bit quiet, but as people made their way over from the festival ground (which is the other side of Brighton) the place got heaving and bounced nicely. I left the club immediately after my set, heading up to Gatwick for a 5:45am Easyjet flight to Ibiza for the closing party of Judgement Sundays.

With the Pound at its weakest in years, unprecedented competition, and a very shaky outlook to the global economy we have had to work harder than ever, not only to make Judgement Sundays good value for money but a true night to remember. With great attention to detail, 2011 was one of our strongest seasons to date. The line up for the closing party was massive, including Eddie Halliwell, Simon Patterson, Tristan D, Howard Donald (and of course me).

I was joined at the club by some of my old school friends. It was their first trip to Ibiza and their wide-eyed amazement at the island’s magic took me on a trip down memory lane back to my first visit to Ibiza roughly 20 years ago. It was the busiest closing party Judgement has ever had, which says it all. I can’t list everybody I’d like to thank for the season in this short column, but my biggest thanks go out to you guys for making 2011 another spectacular year.

Thursday 22nd September was the start of the Student Freshers’ season. It’s always a nice buffer at the end of a summer in Ibiza to know I’m going be travelling the length of Britain playing student events for 4-6 weeks in late September and October. On Thursday 22nd I headed to Liquid & Envy in Portsmouth. For UK DJs, the student market is bigger than ever – I was chatting to a booking agent for some of the Radio 1 daytime presenters and he commented that there’s never been such a packed schedule of student events around the beginning of term time. The club was absolutely rammed – a Thursday night that felt more like peak time on a Saturday.

The next outing was on Saturday night to SYN in Derby. Since the demise of legendary night ‘Progress’ about 10 years ago, Derby has (as far as I’m aware) somewhat fallen off the map for promoters and DJs. I’ve got some amazing memories from the city, and was naturally happy to return after a long while. SYN was the first club outside of Judgement in Ibiza in which I played a complete set using memory sticks on Pioneer CDJ2000s. Once again, the way we DJ has been revolutionised. You can carry your entire set into the club on a tiny 16 gig memory key, although for now I’m still bringing my CDs as back-up, in case of disaster. The club was packed and can’t wait for a return visit to Derby.

The next day felt very strange. I jetted off to Ibiza for the closing party of Eden in San Antonio (the club’s seasonal closing, as opposed to my night Judgement Sundays, which had closed a week earlier). Unlike other summer Sundays, when I fly directly to Ibiza at the crack of dawn on a Sunday morning, I flew from London Gatwick on an evening BA flight. This meant I could spend an extra few hours at home in London for my daughter Phoebe’s 7th birthday at a pony centre near the M25.

In Ibiza, I played just one ‘pre party’ around 11pm at Ibiza rocks bar (for Judgement I’m used to doing 5), then heading home for a sleep before my set. It was a strange luxury and I didn’t know what to do with myself. Mauro Picotto, Claudia Cazacu and The Squatters were also on the line up. I played after Mauro, and Alex from the Squatters joined me on stage. He said he hadn’t heard his tracks in a big trancey arena, so I played a montage of Squatters tunes, which put a huge smile on his face. The club had a very different feel to the Judgement closing party a week beforehand. The next day, Amanda and I had lunch at our favorite restaurant before heading home to London.

Did you make it out to Ibiza this year? If so tell me what you thought of Judgement Sundays, is there anything or any DJ you’d like to see in Summer 2012 or any improvement we can make? Let me know, jules@judgejules.net

More next time…

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