Goodwood's Three Friday Nights - the racing and DJ events that have proved doubters wrong

Disciples light up Goodwood / Picture by Clive Bennett
Disciples light up Goodwood / Picture by Clive Bennett

Plenty were a little sceptical when Goodwood first introduced its post-racing Friday night DJ sets back in 2011.

Some feared it didn’t seem a very Goodwood-like type of event and wondered whether the mixture of racing and dance music would catch on.

De Vegas Kid wins in the Goodwood sunshine / Picture by Clive Bennett

De Vegas Kid wins in the Goodwood sunshine / Picture by Clive Bennett

Eight years on, Three Friday Nights are still going strong – and the novelty is showing no signs at all of wearing off.

They’re not everyone’s cup of tea – there are still those who go for the evening racing and go home well before the night’s DJ has played their first tune.

But what you can’t deny is that they have attracted a whole new audience to the racecourse and continue to do so, in great numbers.

All three events this year attracted sell-out 12,000-strong crowds, that despite a delay in naming the headline acts after a problem with one of this year’s fxitures.

Packed in for the 3FN DJ sets / Picture by Clive Bennett

Packed in for the 3FN DJ sets / Picture by Clive Bennett

MK, Gorgon City and Disciples – the latter also featuring R3wire and Varski – all drew the crowds who lapped up the chance to dance and enjoy the music at what must rank as one of the most unusual outdoor nightclubs around.

What seems fairly certain is that Three Friday Nights will continue to play their part in the Goodwood racecourse calendar – as important in their own way as other groups of fixtures, like the May Festival and August Festival.

Alex Eade, general manager at the racecourse, said: “Our Three Friday Night fixtures are going from strength to strength, it’s so lovely to see lots of people enjoying the top-class racing and music acts we have to offer.”

Last Friday brought down the curtain on this year’s series, with Disciples delivering an upbeat send-off to the trio of big nights out.

The sell-out crowd were also treated to a performance by R3wire and Varski, who set the tone for the night with their trademark adrenaline-fuelled drum and bass set.

US superstar Marc Kinchen (MK) got Three Friday Nights started in style on June 7 playing some of his biggest hits to a sell-out crowd.

The atmosphere was one of elation throughout his hour-and-a-half set as lasers lit up the night sky above the parade ring.

See Goodwood's winners' enclosure turned into a dancefloor
Gorgon City didn’t disappoint at the second event, performing for another sell-out crowd on June 14.

Best known for their platinum single Ready For Your Love, their unique blend of base-driven house music and addictive vocals went down a treat.

Last Friday’s racing was enjoyable too.

It began with Darragh Keenan winning the Now TV Apprentice Handicap for trainer Tony Carroll on De Vegas Kid (9/2) before Hector Crouch and Clive Cox teamed up for success in the Disciples Novice Auction Stakes with 6/1 chance Sovereign Beauty.

Royal Ascot in pictures
Disciples at Goodwood - picture special
The Kennels Handicap went to Andrew Balding’s Never Do Nothing (10/1) under David Probert while Wannie Mae took the Wellbeing Of Women Fillies’ Handicap at 7/1 for Nicola Currie, riding for William Haggas.

Charles Bishop rode 10/1 shot Sophosc to victory in the Now TV Handicap for Joseph Tuite.

And the last, the Levin Down Maiden Stakes, went to the John Gosden-trained Make My Day (7/2), with Kieran O’Neill on board.

Eade added: “We now look forward to the Qatar Goodwood Festival (July 30 to August 3), which is one of the highlights of the flat race season.

“Alongside superb racing, there are some exciting new additions including the Earl’s Lawn in the Gordon Enclosure to eat, relax and party with friends.

“And Glorious by Tom Kerridge is an exclusive VIP opportunity, offering lunch in the ballroom at Goodwood House before afternoon tea with Tom at the races.”