Simply stunning line-up of artists set to headline huge summer festival in Burnley’s Towneley Park

"You have to see it to believe it!"

By Dan Black
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 6:00 am

Retro-loving revellers won't know what's hit them when the second instalment of Retro in the Park falls on their doorsteps.

Grammy Award winning DJ, remixer and producer Roger Sanchez was the signature signing when the event debuted in the heart of Towneley Park last year.

But house music aficionado Paul Taylor has somehow managed to ramp things up yet again with a simply stunning line-up of artists for this summer's gig.

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Retro In The Park

The headline act, Hacienda Classical, is a major coup for both the brand and the town, and their closing two-hour set will be preceded by two-time BRIT Award winners Basement Jaxx and superstar DJ David Morales.

"We did it last year and the timing was perfect," said distinguished disc-spinner Taylor. "We were out of Covid, restrictions had been lifted and it was the most beautiful day. Everybody that came seemed to be on the same level.

"The sun was shining, it was peoples' first big event out for two years, the atmosphere was electric, so it worked superbly. You couldn't just feel it, you could see it."

The polished and unparalleled composition of the 60-piece Manchester Camerata Orchestra — a celebratory fusion of anthems from the famed Hacienda days — will provide a blockbuster finish to the July 2nd gathering.

DJ Paul Taylor performs at Retro In The Park

The brainchild of Graeme Park, a seminal character of the legendary Factory Records night club during the heady days of 'Madchester', is a production like no other, which emanates a scintillating sight and sound to behold.

Instrumental artistry and acid-house bangers collide in this clubbing/classical crossover as vocalists, a choir and special guests reinvent and reinterpret dancefloor classics to turn a recital into a rave.

"We've upped our game this year," Taylor confirmed. "We've got Hacienda Classical, a 60-piece orchestra, it's a great story. They'll be closing the night, playing the final two hours, so it'll give us an amazing 'wow' factor. It'll make the hairs on your arms stand on end.

"There are twice as many feature artists and performers this year. The list of artists is incredible and there aren't any dance festivals that come near it in the north of England.

Roger Sanchez performing at Retro In The Park

"Hacienda Classical, Basement Jaxx, David Morales, and all the other DJs, across two main stages this year, 'wow'. These are names that will put Burnley on the map."

He added: "It'll be bigger and better than last year. The line-up is huge; you'd pay the ticket price to see Hacienda Classical alone and you're getting a load of outstanding DJs on top of that. They are icons in their own right.

"It's weird that it's happening in Burnley. This may never happen again, it could be the best event in the UK and it's in your home town. You've got to see it to believe it."

Since his mid-teens, when given his big break by Ian ‘Soapy’ Sudders, Taylor has always wanted to bring a musical extravaganza of this magnitude to his adopted hometown.

Retro In the Park

There is no ceiling to his dreams and aspirations, which have simply exacerbated in his twilight years. The pioneering DJ and visionary producer, now 64, managed to convince the likes of Carl Cox, Paul Oakenfold, Pete Tong, Sasha, Judge Jules and Boy George to visit our old milltown and play at Angels.

And the dance music philosopher — a hitmaker for Kylie Minogue with “Keep on Pumping It” — only wants to keep pushing the boundaries. He said:

"We're thinking of going to a full weekend next year.

"It'll be a 'Retro In the Park: Weekender', if everything goes well again this year. We're trying to double the numbers now, we're trying to grow it from a day festival.

"It's fantastic and what we're doing for Burnley is amazing. We're looking to the future. We're looking to make this one of the biggest festivals in the north of England. Not all festivals are 100% dedicated to dance and house music. This festival is and we're keeping it like that."

With operation 'Take over Towneley' in full swing, Taylor, who has residencies at Pacha - where he has been in earshot of David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia and Deep Dish - Eden Ibiza, Tall Trees, Albert Hall, Sankeys and Blackpool’s North Pier, continued: "This is something very unique!

"What started from me nicking a dictionary term way back in 1989, and making a night out of it, a Friday night at Angels, an iconic venue in Lancashire, has now spread to Ibiza, Mallorca, around Europe. It's grown exponentially, we've got gigs all over now.

"It's now come back to Burnley, its hometown, and it's exactly what I wanted. My career won't last forever, but I had this dream a long time ago, I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and now I've been able to live it.

"It's a festival that is dedicated to a genre of dance music and it's where it all started. It's a complete history of dance music, a back catalogue of tracks that date back to '89. It's only going to get bigger and we're aiming to fill the whole of Towneley Park."

Tickets for the event are available here.