After 12 years of parties, the guys behind one of Cardiff’s most popular house music nights announce their final event. Francesca Gardner speaks with Lee Graves, Ben Heffernan, Matt Owen and Marc Parsons from Delete about their highlights of the last decade and what the future holds for south Wales’ club scene.
Delete is synonymous with Cardiff’s house music scene, but how did you start out?
Ben Heffernan: At the time, Backroom was the only night in Cardiff booking the kind of artists we liked. We were going to parties in London and to festivals like Freerotation at Baskerville Hall. Matt, Lee and Marc were all DJing and it just made sense to put on our own events.
Lee Graves: Club nights like Cool House first gave us the opportunity to DJ in Cardiff. Had they not when we were starting out, Delete might not be what it is now.
Delete has attracted an impressive following since it started, selling out events year on year. What’s the secret to your success?
Matt Owen: Honestly, it’s the people who’ve come to our parties for the last 12 years. They’ve supported us through the whole journey. I think everyone appreciated not having to travel to Bristol or Birmingham or London to see the artists we’ve booked. We created a hub for people in Cardiff. And when we started doing garden parties, there was nothing like that happening here. It’s always such a good atmosphere.
We get really great feedback from our headlining artists. These DJs play half a dozen times a week, all over the world, but they always go out of their way to say what a wicked vibe the party is and how much energy the crowd has.
Ben: And we’ve always pushed for the best headliners we could afford. It’s never been about making money. Delete hasn’t been tied down to one venue either, we’ve used different spaces in Cardiff and south Wales wherever we could. That’s a key factor; it keeps things interesting.
You’ve been putting on parties for over a decade. Do you have any stand-out highlights from that time?
Matt: The dome at Jacob’s is probably our best venue in terms of what it brings to Cardiff, but the Gwdihw parties… they were the ones!
Ben: On paper, it shouldn’t have worked. We put a lot of artists in a small pub car park on a Sunday, not always a bank holiday. That was something you could get away with in Bristol or London, but people did raise their eyebrows about us doing it in Cardiff. No one else was doing that.
Lee: People were saying at the start, this will never go anywhere. But we saw the potential and the Gwdihw garden parties turned out to be some of the best.
So why stop now?
Matt: A lot of people have said it doesn’t make sense that we’re finishing now, when the parties are still busy and selling out.
Lee: We never wanted to taper down or fizzle out though. We want to go out on a high.
Ben: The milestone was always to get to 10 years. Our 10th birthday party was planned but that’s when Covid hit – it stalled our last one or two summers. Our Last Dance lineup is residents only; Delete started as a party between friends and we want to celebrate that as we say goodbye.
Now that they’re hanging up their gloves, what do Delete see for the future of south Wales’ club scene?
Marc Parsons: Fam Jam and Haŵs are throwing really good parties in Cardiff. We’ve worked with other local promoters in the past, like Dogruff in Swansea and Perc in Newport, who continue to put on great events.
We always try to include as many different promoters and DJs as possible from across south Wales. We’ve done that at our summer parties and at Big Love Festival. Both are a great platform for new club nights and local DJs to gain experience and reach a wider audience. Although we’re stopping our parties, we’ll continue to curate house music line-ups for Big Love – so it’s not the last you’ll see of us.
Delete presents The Last Dance, Jacob’s Market, Cardiff, Sun 28 Aug. Tickets: £15 day party (sold out) / £5 afterparty only. Info: here
Delete are also programming a stage at Big Love Goes Wild, Monmouthshire, Fri 15-Sun 17 July. Tickets: £125 weekend. Info: here
words FRANCESCA GARDNER
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