Those of you around 35 plus will have seen and experienced the dramatic transformation of club culture in Cardiff. Gone are the days of iconic city centre dance venues such as; The Hippo Club, Emporium and Astoria of the nineties and early noughties, where the masses would travel from all over the UK to watch renowned and legendary DJ’s spin into the (really) wee hours.

From 1998 when I was the tender age of 19, I went out (nearly) every weekend, it was somewhat regimental. However, there was one night that both I and my party gang would never miss- and that was Lamerica.

Before smart phones were a “thing” we would enthusiastically take our hard earned cash (well in advance) to buy a shiny paper ticket at vendors such as world famous record stores in the city such as; Catapult Records or Spillers. Mine would then sit proudly on my cork notice board along with flyers, pictures from my disposable Kodak and other clubbing memorabilia.

Lamerica brain child Craig Bartlett

The events were glitzy and glamorous and the crowd definitely dressed to impress, new dresses, glitter and high heels were the order of the day. We also made lasting friendships in the midst of a bustling dance floor. A number of my said dancing buddies attended my recent post nuptial party where we reminisced and pranced around as if time had frozen us on a Lamerica dance floor in the late 90s.

Lamerica saw some of the world’s most prolific DJ’s from every corner of the globe, such as; CJ Mackintosh, David Morales, Roger Sanchez, Frankie Knuckles and Louie Vega jet in to spin and participate in the soulful garage Lamerica vibe. It’s first ever event took place, ironically on 4th July 1998 (ironic as the nights signature genre was US garage) which featured CJ mackintosh well-known for his collaborations with the likes of Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson and London favourite DJ Paul Trouble Anderson.

Lamerica crowd

Thus, the night’s famed promoter and brain child Craig Bartlett has found it fitting to stage a 20 year reunion which is appropriately entitled “One last dance”, the reunion will take place the weekend of 6th and 7th July in Jacobs Market, Cardiff.

I probed Craig about the realism of absolutely “One Last Dance”, is this really the end? “I think so realistically it’s been one hell of a ride –we didn’t think we would do one party let alone 20 years worth so one last dance to celebrate 20 years seems a fitting end, however, I suppose you can never say never again”. He went on to state “Hopefully in July we will have a riot and people might convince me to do another one in a few years”.

As mentioned, Cardiff has developed over the years from somewhat of a clubbing Mecca (for the younger audiences I suggest you watch Justin Kerrigan’s 1999 movie Human Traffic) to more of a weekend stag or hen or live music destination. Craig attributed to this “the scene has changed massively to be fair, musically  first and foremost, also costs of putting on shows  and more events with increasing choice and lastly, lack of  venues. He went on to state “The original Lamerica crowd are getting older and have more responsibilities, therefore are not going out as much, there has also been a focus change to a more deeper sound”.

So glad rags at the ready and dust off those rusty heels, its time to reminisce and get down.

Lamerica- One Last Dance will be held at Jacobs Antique Market, Cardiff on Friday 6th and Saturday 7th July.

For ticket enquiries please contact cbartlett1968@gmail.com

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