Nectar Music Festival Saturdays
with DJ Beej, Jeff Retro and CO1
Paul Oakenfold's musical career started from admirably humble beginnings, playing soul and rare groove cuts in a Covent Garden wine bar in the late 'seventies with mate Trevor Fung. By the early 'eighties, having decided that NYC was the place, Paul decamped there armed only with the chutzpah to blag his way into a courier's job in West Harlem. At that time, more than any other, New York was bursting with musical invention: hip-hop was the freshest street sound around, and Larry Levan - arguably the first ever superstar DJ, inspiring a frenzy in the crowd that some guy playing records had never inspired before - was packing out the Paradise Garage every week with the revolutionary, hypnotic mixing style that would become the acid house DJ's stock in trade.
Returning to London, Paul became one of the UK's leading authorities on hip-hop. During his stint as an A&R man for Champion he signed the as-then unknowns Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, and Salt N'Pepa. Oh yeah, and he appeared on Blue Peter with a breakdancing crew who he was looking after at the time.
In 1985 young Paul spent the summer on a beautiful Balearic island called Ibiza. Ever heard of it? Oakey is as much responsible as anyone for making it the clubber's paradise it is today, as two years after that first trip he, alongside mates Trevor Fung, Nicky Holloway, Ian St Paul, Danny Rampling and Johnny Walker, went there for a week to celebrate his birthday. If the first visit had been good, this one changed their lives forever. Dancing in the warm night air beneath stars at the then open-air Amnesia to the oddest mix of music any of them had ever heard, courtesy of island legend Alfredo, Paul's urge to import this incredible experience - and the Balearic sound - back to England became too great to resist.