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The Clapham Common event is still London's favourite dance fest...



A music festival in the middle of London? That’s not at Hyde Park? What? How? Where? Those were the questions we all asked ourselves when we got wind of a new, outdoor, dance music festie happening in the capital in 2004. When we heard the name, shortened to the postcode SW4, we got an idea of where it might be.
“The festival actually started in a back garden in Clapham,” says Jeff Gray, one of the founders who’s also part of Lock N Load Events, the company who put on the festival. “Within two years the whole thing had gotten so out of hand it took the natural step of moving to the Common. Having started as a one-day event for 10,000 people, it has grown over the years. Last summer over 50,000 came.”

In 2014 Jamie Jones, Sasha, Paul Kalkbrenner, Seth Troxler, Above and Beyond and Tiga were just a handful who turned out to play at the two-day event at Clapham Common, a posh enclave of South London formerly more commonly associated with summer picnics and lazy Sunday cricket matches than blisteringly-cool, cutting-edge dance music.

The thing is, says Jeff, is that SW4 has almost “become synonymous with Clapham Common”.

“It’s just that unique experience of being able to properly let go with London’s skyline in the background that is a huge part of what makes our event unique.”

Public Enemy celebrated their 25th anniversary at SW4. Eric Prydz said “the festival was so good I named a track after it”. And, in 2008, Armin van Buuren called SW4 “the best festival in the UK”.

“We’re working on some exciting changes for 2015,” says Jeff, talking about this year’s event due to happen on 29th and 30th August.

Rain or shine, SW4 is, quite simply, the best chance you have to get your rave on to some of the most sought-after DJs in the world playing outside of a club in a London postcode. It’s a party in a park, an arms-in-the-air bonanza and, first and foremost, a uniquely London thing.