Fatboy Slim celebrates 20th anniversary Of Big Beach Boutique Festival

The legend Fatboy Slim joined Rebecca Judd on Apple Music 1 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his iconic Big Beach Boutique Festival on Brighton beach in 2002. In the interview at his Brighton house, he discusses the milestone date, his memories of the festival 20 years ago, his huge success in the ‘90s, inspiring the next generation of DJs, what makes him proud, and more. He also talks about the recent Big Beach Boutique anniversary show which took place on Brighton beach last month. The two-hour mix from the set is available today exclusively on Apple Music.

Listen to Fatboy Slim’s Big Beach Boutique (DJ Mix) exclusively on Apple Music here.

This month Apple Music is celebrating Dance and Electronic. Throughout August, a series of exclusive DJ Mixes including sets from Ibiza, radio specials, guest-curated playlists, Home Sessions  and more will be available here.

On the 20th anniversary of Big Beach Boutique Festival and his plans for the milestone date…

Because it’s the 20th anniversary of the really big one, we’re doing a reissued CD package and DVD of it, we’re making a documentary, like a 20 years on documentary. So, I’ve revisited it in my brain quite a few times. And just the idea of what’s happened to me and my life over the last 20 years, how the scene and music business has changed in the last 20 years. And yeah, it’s quite nice to take stock. So rather than counting down the days until doing this, I’ve been taking stock of what it means to come back and do it 20 years later.

His memories of Big Beach Boutique Festival…

It had been a really rotten summer until that weekend, and that weekend the sun came out. Everyone went, what should we do? Oh, Fatboy’s having a party in Brighton, let’s go. And an awful lot of people, about an estimated quarter of a million people, decided to descend on our town. And it was like Woodstock. There was a 20 mile traffic jam trying to get into the city. You couldn’t park. There wasn’t enough toilets. There wasn’t enough alcohol. Every off license sold out of alcohol. And we had an enormous party on the beach. Which we just about got away with. But we did cause an awful lot of mess. So it was good natured chaos. Just a gathering of everybody who decided to have a party with us in Brighton. Which is great, historic in the city where I live.

On his return to performing on Brighton beach…

This has taken 20 years for the council to let me actually back on the pebbles. Now we are not right smack in the middle of town where we were last time, because we learned that lesson. So we’re down the beach a bit. So yeah, we’re about half a mile from the town centre, just a little out of town on the beach.

On his huge success…

It’s not really what I signed up for. It just went that little bit higher. And what I really love, what I really love is to walk down the street and someone recognises me because they like me. And they go, I went to your show last year in Ibiza and it was great, had a great night. But when there’s a level of fame where everybody recognises you, whether or not they like you or not, and you walk past, people go, ‘Fatboy’, I wasn’t comfortable with that. But also just the pressure of already being in the business for 20 years and the pressure of coming up with hit after hit and traveling the whole time and everything. And around that time, when we did the one [Brighton gig] 20 years ago, I’d just had my first child. I just consciously thought, you know what? I’m going to just not work quite so hard. I’m not going to try quite so hard to please everybody in the whole world. And as the years have gone on, I’m pretty much lazy bones.

On inspiring the next generation of DJs…

I do feel very proud that I was part of that story. That I’ve contributed musically or culturally somewhere along the line and opened the door. I mean, the thing I’m most proud of really is the number of people who come up to me and go, you are the reason I started DJing. And from just the guy in the street to quite famous DJs say that. I’m quite proud to have been part of that story. And it is quite a success story if you look at how big dance music and DJ culture is compared to 25 years ago.

On what he’s most proud of…

Romantic notion, I’ve been a parent for those 20 years and I’m very proud of my kids. I think they’re two beautiful kids. So, that’s been a success story. The fact that I’m sober is probably the reason that I’m still alive and doing this. That had to be done for self-preservation. I don’t know. I mean, there’s things like the Olympic closing ceremony was pretty freaky. I had a tremendous pride because it felt like I was representing DJ culture in the Olympics. Like I was the only DJ representing England, we’ve got the NHS and Churchill being represented and I’m representing DJ culture. So, things like that I’m very proud of. And hopefully I have been a good ambassador.

On his pre-show ritual…

Then the final bit is I throw my shoes off if I’m wearing any, I put on the Hawaiian shirt. And then my tour manager slaps me really hard round the face. It’s part of our ritual. It’s how to turn Norman Cook, middle-aged responsible father of two, into Fatboy Slim. And it just gets me fired up. And then when I look down and I see the Hawaiian shirt and the bare feet, I realise I’m not Norman anymore, I now have to be Fatboy Slim. And that gets me into character. And then I lose all of my inhibitions, all my nerves and everything go away. And I go out there and just try and create mayhem and make people smile and dance.


About the Author

Loves long walks along the beach, holding hands and romantic 80's power ballads, partial to electronic music and likes to make the odd mix or two.