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Your Guilty Pleasures for 2016 - The Sean Rowley Expose!

Although we’re in the starry midst of 2015’s silly festive knee-ups, the heady and bonkers 2016 festival season is closer than you think.

Lead by the infamous, gliteratti party-starters Guilty Pleasures, The Mighty Hoop-La Weekender in February sees a host of club nights and music acts take over Butlins in Bognor Regis. Yes! You read that right - Guilty Pleasures takes over Butlins! It looks bright. It will be messy. It will have roofs and hot showers. Below, comedian Charlie Partridge (from Rebel Bingo) speaks to Guilty Pleasures founder, Sean Rowley to hear more about his genuine love for floor fillers, why we should have been in Edinburgh in the 90s, and to find out more about the inspirations behind the February festival.

Charlie: Guilty Pleasures, The Mighty Hoop-La Weekender seems to be pulling together some big names in the ‘entertainment clubbing’ scene – (the really good) Rebel Bingo, Sink The Pink, Ultimate Power - to name a few! Is this a genre defining moment? Is this what rave was to the 90s?

Sean: It’s a celebration of pop and fun and all the clubs run as an alternative to the more serious side of clubbing in London and beyond. All the clubs involved have evolved around a similar time, there was definitely something in the water around 2007 in London which is when the likes of Sink the Pink, Rebel Bingo and Ultimate Power formed in very small venues.

Charlie: Will your Butlins take-over be super kitsch, or will people be blown away by just how far you can take traditional entertainment?

It’s the perfect playground for an event like this as there are multi venues all linked to each other by arcades and flashing lights! And…! It’s got a fun Fair! All the club partners have a sense of one-foot-in-the-main-stream, but also ‘knowingly’ twisting it.

Charlie: In a Guilty Pleasures set, is there still room to sneak in underground hits? Are there any secrets to how you can still surprise a crowd?

We’re more into the idea of cramming in as many huge hits as possible mixing from one genre to another, a kind of ‘Pop Odyssey’.

Charlie: You also have Hot Breath Karaoke on the bill. I once saw them doing ‘Cardi-oke’ – competitive karaoke on cross-trainers. What has been the most delightfully weird thing you’ve seen at a party?

There used to be this brilliant club night called Misery in Edinburgh, run by Fred Deakin of Lemon Jelly.  

It was billed as the worst night out, ever. They used to play genuinely bad music like Keith Harris & Orville. The highlight of the night would be when they put an old fridge in the middle of the dance floor and people would take it in turns to batter the hell out of - to the theme tune of the A-Team. It was free to get in, but you had to pay to get out. The cloak room would take your coat and throw it on the floor. It was very successful in the 90s!

Charlie: When it started the premise of Cat-face was £10 to get in, or £2 with a Cat-face (there is a pen on the door). It works, but doesn’t sound like it should. Have you seen any other ideas for club nights that shouldn’t work on paper?

Over the years we’ve seen high concept clubbing really grow, from the likes of bingo parties (Rebel Bingo) to wedding reception parties (White Wedding). I’m currently working on a concept, which is a bit weird on paper. You can throw a party which is basically your own funeral / wake. You invite all your mates and every one has to pretend you are dead, and talk about their memories of you. You get brought into the room in an open coffin and a priest reads out your eulogy, you get to choose all the music, and when the wake/party is in full swing you return from the dead, to the sound of The Stone Roses, I Am The Resurrection. It’s called 'Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’.

Charlie: Are you really guilty about party anthems being your pleasures, or are you unapologetic? Will En Vogue be singing ‘Don’t let go’ guiltily, or unapologetically?

Since I started GP I have felt totally free of all guilt. But as they say - one man’s guilt is another man’s pleasure.

One golden rule about GP music is we are not being ironic - we fucking LOVE this music!

We have seen the Old Dirty Brasstards - who are also playing the Mighty Hoop-la - play an instrumental version of 'Don’t let go' with no sign of guilt on their faces.

Charlie: End Of The World Party believe in living each day as if it was your last. How would you like to live your last day on earth?


Charlie: Sink The Pink, The Fabulous of Unicorns and End Of The World are all quite glittery affairs. Have you any tips for the best application of glitter?

You know that scene in the Simpsons where Homer invents the make-up gun that fire make up randomly at your face? One of those, but full of glitter. It needs to be random.

Charlie: Costumes and dancing also figure highly in these parties. Comfort for dancing is an important factor to consider when planning a costume, but is it the most important?

The main rule of fancy dress is always choose something that still makes you attractive to the opposite or same sex. Blokes dressed as blue Smurfs always go home alone.

Charlie: I am very excited to hear about Fleetmac Wood, a party and remix project dedicated to Fleetwood Mac. What are your 3-favourite Fleetwood Mac songs or remixes?


1. The Chain. Even though you can’t dance to it, you stand and sing the main part and then pogo to the conclusion.
2. The Psychemagik re-edits of anything Mac related.
3. Everywhere before that dancing horse advert ruined it.

Charlie: Working in parties sounds like a dream job, but of course running events takes an astonishing amount of work. What’s the biggest difference between what you do for a living, and what people think you do? If you do get time to enjoy the weekend, what are the highlights you are definitely going to try and see?

I probably shouldn’t say this - but there is no way I could call this work. I love this way of life. I remember coming home from a GP event, and being woken up by my daughter in the morning who was looking at all the glitter that had rubbed off my face onto the pillow, and she asked “Dad - what do you do for a job?”

At the weekender you will mostly find me dancing to Horse Meat Disco, singing my heart out to Rave Karaoke, and getting wet at the WeLovePop pool party.

Charlie: A lot of the events on your bill have cut their teeth in a relatively small corner of East London at venues like the Bethnal Green Working Men's Club, Metropolis, Village Underground and Oval Space. What other locations have you been scouting for pioneers of this party scene?

Rebel Bingo started by mistake apparently when they were throwing a ‘normal’ party in a small club and they found an old bingo kit in the basement of a church in Exmouth market. Guilty Pleasures started at Hammersmith Working Men’s Club. Start small and end up taking over Butlins. It was always the plan.

Charlie: It’s the last hour of work before our reader sets of for The Hoop-La Weekender. What 7-song playlist should they play to get themselves in the mood for a mighty party?

Katy Perry: Roar
En Vogue: Free Your Mind
Gala: Freed From Desire
Madonna: Hung Up
Salt n Pepa: Push It
Take That: Never Forget
Toto: Africa

[Watch the pop-video's below]

Guilty Pleasures presents
The Mighty Hoop-La Weekender
at Butlins, Bognor Regis
Friday 26th - Monday 29th February 2016
Info and tickets:


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