The Guardian’s Review of the 21st Birthday

Silks and incense still uplift clubbers’ senses as Whirl-y-gig celebrates its 21st anniversary As giant balloons fill the air, a parachute falls gently over the heads of several hundred hot, happy dancers, who sink to the ground beneath its huge canopy. And so ends another successful Whirl-Y-Gig. One of the longest-running club nights in the … Read more

WOMAD 2001 – Monkey Pilot Radio 3 Interview

Pete Fruin checks out the WOMAD festival and talks to DJ Monkey Pilot, the man behind the Whirl-Y-Gig…

Compared to Glastonbury, Reading and newcomer the Phoenix Festival, WOMAD has always been pretty small (which is very much part of the appeal for its regular audience). The three-day event at Reading Rivermead has consistently attracted crowds of around 9,000 in recent times, up until last year, when it was a 12,000 sell-out. This year (the festival runs from July 21-23) looks like being the same, in fact there may not be any tickets available on the door: at the time of writing, the weekend before the festival, Saturday had already sold out.

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ABBG meets co-promoters of Whirl-Y-Gig Mary and Richard who live in a quiet rural-looking corner of Harrow in a small house, which, despite the occasional tripped-out wall painting, has decoration reminiscent of a country farmhouse. Outside is a small church window embedded in their garden wall, which overlooks a large field. This is the base from which they run Whirl-Y-Gig, one of London’s longest-running regular parties, and a pioneering club for showcasing world dance music in London. They also run a record label called Whirl-Y-Music.

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Whirl-y-Gig is a magical club, in London, where global vibes collide with uplifting trance, drum ‘n bass, breakbeat and ambient dance, all fused together by DJ Monkey Pilot. Under the comfort of the giant pink parachute in the roof, the whole environment is adorned by beautiful saris and wall hangings, all of which are bathed in a radiant spectral delight by Zeeman Zap light show. Visually the Whirl-y-Gig nights are spectacular adding a carnival atmosphere and complemented by a broad range of musical delights.


Muzik Magazine

“The man in the Viking helmet is smiling as the two pre-school nymphets encircle him in a paganesque dance. Another case of some sleaze ball sicko corrupting young innocents or perhaps something even more sinister, more sordid ? No, no, no ! Mr Viking, it transpires, is bopping with his daughters. Everything is not as it seems at one of the most influential events in club history.

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Time Out Magazine

There’s nowhere quite like the Whirl-Y-Gig…It’s the nightclub cum festival where whole families have been regulars for years, where every surface except the floor is draped and wrapped in psychedelic style that’s part souk, part circus, with a huge canopy rising high above the dance-floor. The parachute dance, the climax to the evening, has to … Read more

Baboon! Shake the Room!

Babbon Shake the Room

Finding someone who’s actually named after a Comsat Angels song is rare enough – but discovering that Britain’s most forward-thinking and mind-bendingly diverse DJ is prepared to admit that his chief inspiration was a scratchy post-punk Sheffield band is another revelation entirely.

But that’s MONKEY PILOT, host to what was, until recently, one of clubland’s best-kept secrets. A night at East London’s Whirl-Y-Gig, where the Pilot steers the entire four hours, is a collage of inspirational sounds collected from every corner of the known universe.

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