Insider tips: Norman Jays guide to European dance festivals

Insider tips: Norman Jays guide to European dance festivals

Norman Jay MBE is one of the world’s most respected DJs. Born in Notting Hill, London, he was a founding DJ of (the then pirate) radio station Kiss FM in the 1980s, and later launched the Talkin Loud record label in 1989, together with his friend Gilles Peterson. Since the mid 1990s he has been a truly international DJ, playing around the world and in every major European city. This year he kicks off the European dance festival season with an appearance at SunSplash Antalya in Turkey, May 22 – 29.

What piece of advice would you give to someone going to a boutique dance festival for the first time?

Always go with an open mind and don’t have massive expectations then in most cases you will be very pleasantly surprised by the intimacy of the event, the friendliness of people you meet and the welcoming warmth of the organizers.

Where is the favourite place in Europe you’ve stayed while performing a DJ set?

Without a doubt I think it has to be the Hillside Su Hotel Antalya (Turkey). It’s one of the most amazing venues ever to host a boutique music festival.

Where is your favourite restaurant in the Med?

It has to be the Astoux et BRUN in Cannes (France). After being taken there a couple years ago, I was totally converted to eating fish.

How have dance festivals around Europe changed in the past decade?

They have become bigger, more electronic music based and have now begun in recent years to embrace more DJ/dance culture (which is great for me personally)

You’re performing at Sunsplash Antalya in Turkey in May – is Turkey becoming the new Ibiza?

It’s quite possible, it’s hard to say. So as long as the flights to Turkey remain relatively affordable, there is no reason why not.

For someone who hasn’t been to a dance festival abroad before, what can they expect at Sunsplash Antalya?

Quality, quality, quality! The choice of venue location, the mix of people from all over Europe and above all the choice of music on offer is second to none. The event itself will definitely appeal to the more discerning music lover and happening in a very good resort with beautiful beaches, spectacular views of the mountains and almost always guaranteed sunshine.

What’s your favourite summer dance anthem EVER and why?

I have loved and played many ‘summer anthems’ over the years but one that immediately spring’s to mind is Ultra Nate’s 90’s anthem ‘Free’ – it summed up then and still sums up now a euphoric feeling of celebration.

It’s still early, but do you have any insider information on what might be a big hit this year?

It’s far too early to say yet, but whatever it turns out to be, you can be sure it will definitely be played by myself at this year’s Sunsplash!

Where do you go on holiday to get away from the music scene – or is it always part of your breaks?

I don’t have a holiday in the traditional sense. I enjoy long breaks instead. And given the amount of fantastic places I get to play in around the world in a year, I am well aware and therefore truly grateful for the fact that I have one of the best jobs in the world.

For information about tickets and accommodation for Sunsplash Antalya Turkey, May 22 – 29, visit Artists already confirmed include: Jose James, Theo Parrish, Gilles Peterson (BBC Radio 1), Norman Jay MBE, Mad Professor, Kon and Amir, Benji B (BBC Radio 1), Phil Asher, Simbad, Lefto, Tim Sweeney, DJ Cliffy, Ahu, DearHead.

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