Witnessing crowds in their finest dapper daywear party the night away to DJs in the unlikely setting of the winners’ enclosure at Goodwood is quite some sight.
While on paper, mixing music with horse racing is not something you would necessarily imagine would be a match made in heaven, as last year’s Three Friday Nights events proved, it can – and does – work, with thousands making the most of appearances from Boy George, Mark Ronson and the BBC’s perennially chirpy Chris Evans.
In fact, it turned out everyone had such a good time that the covered over turf of the enclosure had to be re-laid after the series of events.
Thankfully, it’s now back in pristine condition as the course gears up for its renewed season of racing and new star music names lined up for June.
With a huge lack of major live venues within West Sussex, attracting such acts to the county has been no mean feat.
It’s expected to make a difference to Goodwood’s season and is something that looks set to become a firm fixture in its calendar.
As the venue’s team explained, the response to its events has not gone unnoticed by race courses across the country which have followed suit in staging summer music sessions.
This year’s series of nights at Goodwood is kicked off on June 8, by Andy Cato of chart-topping dance act Groove Armada. Their floor-fillers are sure to get everyone in party spirit and will engage with a younger audience of race-goers.
The second Friday sees X Factor’s Dermot O’Leary take to the winners’ enclosure DJ decks. While he’s carved out an enviable career with his presenting work for C4 and ITV, he has also gained quite a following on our airwaves with his BBC Radio 2 show.
He’s also broadened out his services with DJ appearances at major events such as last year’s Latitude Festival, playing some personal favourite indie and retro anthems.
The series concludes on Friday, June 22, with a performance from Mike Skinner, frontman from Brit-nominated The Streets, who has gained considerable praise for his live appearances.
From his hugely influential debut album, Original Pirate Material, he’s attracted considerable national press for his innovation.
While he may have been a little quiet of late, there’s no doubt of his pedigree after claiming several chart-topping albums, and he’s evolved his sound over the years while managing to retain a core loyal following. His set should prove a worthy finale.
Bradley Eccleshare, marketing manager of Goodwood Racecourse, believed the combination of quality racing backed with the music events would prove another success. He said: “We have a fantastic season of racing ahead starting on Saturday, May 5, with the EDF Daisy Warwick Fillies’ Stakes. This year there’s no specific theme, just a focus on providing a great day out racing for our visitors.
“With the Three Friday Nights we are appealing to younger audiences who will have the chance to enjoy the racing, then hooves will switch to heels as everyone has the chance to dance to music in the winners’ enclosure.
“Last year we weren’t quite sure whether people would in fact dance in the winners’ ring – but within a few minutes of it starting, it was completely full.
“We’ve gone for artists with different backgrounds and genres of music that we believe will have a broad audience – last year we sold out in advance and we advise doing so again this year as we are expecting to sell out these events.”