From the late 80's and well into the 1990's the Tudor Oaks Country Club in Stotfold earned a loyal following as a venue at the cutting edge of the UK's burgeoning rave scene. Playing host to the cream of the UK's DJ talent the club was host to several hugely popular nights that saw the transition from early house to happy hardcore and jungle.
Having closed it's doors for many years the Tudor Oaks reopened on February the 15th following a major refurbishment to the club space, restaurant/bar and accommodation. The venue's opening night was marked by an ambitious "Tudor Oaks Reunion" event promoted by the always reliable Milwaukees.
When I say "ambitious" that's not just because the original Tudor Oaks crowd are now in their 40's/50's and may have hung up their raving shoes, but mostly due to the spectacular line-up. With a DJ roster consisting of Brandon Block, Jumpin Jack Frost, Alex P, Billy "Daniel" Bunter, 2 Bad Mice, Cosmo & Dibs, Barrington and Fat Controller it doesn't get much better for an inaugural event. That's where the venue's rich history and loyal following comes into play; Tudor Oaks is a venue that has earned it's stripes many times over and has secured it's place in the rave scene's hall of fame - it's no surprise that tickets sold out months in advance.
The event was smoothly run and the dancefloor bounced from beginning to end. Hundreds of happy faces gave the night that true "old skool" quality and just like the "good old days" it was oh so easy to strike up conversation with strangers. Not being from the area it soon became clear that Tudor Oaks held a special place in the hearts of so many of the gathered crowd.
The music was top notch - a good blend of rave classics and lesser heard early house - and the atmosphere moved quickly from buzzing anticipation to all-out party. Jumpin Jack Frost went right back to roots with a set of early warehouse favourites while Brandon Block and Alex P (who also spent a sizeable chunk of the evening on the dancefloor soaking up the vibes) both delivered sets tinged with Balearic beats.
As a venue the Tudor Oaks is quite an intimate affair with it's dancefloor overseen by a lengthy balcony complete with a second bar area and spacious outdoor space. Although there were times when the second bar could have done with an extra pair of hands (this was the opening night so there were sure to be a few kinks to iron out) the space was otherwise a perfect fit and offered punters a change of scenery if they needed to take a break from the excellent sound system of the main room.
Without a doubt the Tudor Oaks Reunion was a huge success and testament to the excellent production, first class line-up and more than up-for-it crowd. Thankfully it seems this wasn't a one-off event and tentative plans for a Reunion 2 have already been announced.
With tickets for this event selling out way in advance this could hopefully mark the start of a longer running night - long may those famous Tudor Oaks doors remain open!