Cardiff based Drum and Bass rave returns after 16 month wait
DJ Raudi TT and Supa Darkaz - T Shirts printed at SouthSide Print Studios
When the world went into lockdown in March 2020, few were expecting to still be living with major COVID restrictions 15 months onwards. In that time, businesses have closed down, people have moved to be closer with their families and the prospect of returning to normality and having a drink and a dance with friends was becoming bleaker by the day.
But on June 26th 2021, to the delight of its faithful following, the Cardiff based DnB rave returned, bringing a much needed sense of hope for the future of live music. Headlined by DnB heavyweight, Benny Page, with a host of local DJ’s and fan favourites such as SKELLEY, Stuss, Stygian, Raudi TT, veteran MC Local and more, the event pulled no punches as it returned in style after enduring the most difficult period in the company’s history.
DJ SKELLEY wears a SouthSide printed Switch Up t shirt
Things however, are not back to normal quite yet. While the event was able to hold a ‘sell-out’ capacity of 150 people, there were strict COVID-19 restrictions in place, such as allocated seating, mask wearing in shared spaces and no mingling with other tables. That didn’t prove an issue though, as soon as the event started, the crowd were able to feel the electric atmosphere of being in a rave and enjoy live music in the company of other people. Something people have been waiting for since venues closed all those months ago.
Now, with COVID restrictions easing and a potential deadline in sight for the end of many lockdown restrictions, July 19th, the future is beginning to look a bit brighter for not just live music, for raves or for Switch Up, but for the communities that these scenes develop and nurture. For many of us, lockdown took away our escape, the things we were looking forward to. It just goes to show though that time may pass but those feelings never go away.
We sat down with Switch Up Owner and resident Theo Thomas aka DJ Raudi TT to get his perspective on the return of the rave
1. Let’s start on a positive, how did it feel to be throwing an event again to a sell out crowd, and to be back behind the decks doing what you love?
Theo: It felt amazing to be back. It was always going to be a stress doing a seated, socially distanced event because there was no way to predict how it was going to turn out but there was a great reception, and so sick to be DJ’ing to a live crowd again.
2. How much of a hinderance were the COVID restrictions to the success and atmosphere of the event? Is it something you think will be repeated in the future?
Theo: The restrictions honestly did not seem to have a major negative on the event at all, I even had people telling me how much they enjoyed having allocated seating! People have aged throughout lockdown and seem happy to have a place to sit. I have attended a few seated events in Bristol recently and the major restriction is over the music, when it has to be turned down or isn’t allowed to run until late. The other things like seats and personal space in certain areas I can see catching on! We know it doesn’t top a normal rave, I would definitely consider it a success.
3. Talk to me about the last 16 months, how difficult was it to keep Switch Up alive and kicking? Because you came back like you never left!
Theo: it’s been tremendously difficult the last 16 months. At the time when we started to go into lockdown, Switch Up was doing really well as a brand and beginning to establish itself as one of the bigger, more well known events in Cardiff. I have always ran Switch Up on my own so to have all the hard work halted was not easy. The live streams we worked have helped to retain some of our audience, but it doesn’t compare to the real thing. As lockdown continued, it was harder and harder to keep these running with no end goal in sight but we dug deep to keep the brand alive in the hope of returning asap.
4. What does future for Switch Up and for the future of live music events look like, in your opinion?
Theo: Hopefully now there is a light at the end of the tunnel and a lot of the hard work we put in over the last year and a half is starting to pay off. I attended the pilot for the full capacity Download Festival this year and being back in that sort of environment with zero restrictions really raised my optimism for the future. Coupled with the easing restrictions and the success of the last event, I am definitely looking forward to see what is in store in the future. Whoever you are, no matter your age, music brings us all together. And it’s back. They can’t take it away from us anymore and I think they see that.
Official Switch Up merchandise printed in house at South Side Print Studio. Keep up to date with everything Switch Up related on their Facebook page and their Instagram page @switchupuk for all the latest news, bookings and events to come in the near future. Follow @southsideprintstudio on Instagram and Facebook for any printing enquiries and more updates like this.