DJ and Grandma's chief groover, Jacob Powell (JaPow) Jacob Powell with permission for Varsity

If you follow the sound of knitting needles and a trail of sherbet lemons during term time, it may surprisingly lead you to Revs or Mash - there you will find the most wholesome club night in Cambridge. Established in 2017, Grandma Groove has cemented itself with a funk-based permanence in the nightlife culture of Cambridge.

The persona of Grandma herself is a little mysterious, however after some investigation (a quick google) I sat down with founder Oscar Bell-Ogilby and his “groovy partner in crime”, Jacob Powell, to discuss why a grandma has taken Cambridge by storm. Adorned in a Grandma Groove t-shirt, it was clear from the outset Rob takes his mission of providing a club night “for the students, by the students” with the utmost sincerity.

Is it unsurprising that this Cambridge club night was born out of a conversation on a Ski trip with the Officer Training Corps? Perhaps not. However, when pressed on the genesis of Grandma Groove, Rob stressed that he was tired of Cambridge nightlife “being a bit sleazy and cheap”. Thus Grandma, ironically, was born.

Intrigued by the naming convention and musing on whether my grandmother would be considered particularly groovy, Oscar responded that there is a “groovy grandma in all of us, everyone on a night out can act as groovy as they like and then in the morning feel like a bit of Grandma.” Despite this being a little cringe worthy, the sentiment behind Oscar’s intention does seem pure as he provides value to those who buy tickets and to ultimately ensure that students have a good time. Oscar was keen to also stress the importance and centrality of the Cambridge based musical talent to the nights themselves. On founding the night, he understood that there was a gap in the market to support and nurture Cambridge based talent, especially DJs such as Swarbz and JaPow.

JaPow aka Jacob, as well as being a core part of Grandma Groove and DJing across Cambridge, in his spare time is a fourth-year Engineer at Jesus. He perhaps alluded to his strength as an Engineer with his creation of the impressive club night rep network he has knitted together across 75% of colleges. With this network entrenched across Cambridge, it is clear that Oscar and Jacob know how to leverage their so-called “groovers” as the nights themselves sell out within a matter of hours.

When approaching the awkward question around the cancellation of The Boat that Boogied Oscar offered a strong defence of why the night had been cancelled: the Queen lying in state only mere metres away from the scheduled venue. Oscar noted that Grandma Groove has “never been about making money” and that perhaps blasting disco and funk music such as Staying Alive by the Bee Gees to those in the queue may have caused some reputational risk.

The failed foray in bringing Grandma from Cambridge to London perhaps does suggest that Grandma Groove is better suited to a CB2 postcode. Jacob noted that whilst Cambridge is incredibly intense, the night is an escape from the workload and a night where you can come together as a community. A community “united in disco, boogie and funk.”

I think we’ve all procrastinated by flicking through Ticketbridge and seen listings that pop up both for the purchasing and selling of Grandma Groove tickets. Oscar appreciated the fact that there was a platform for people to resell tickets however also noted the perilous tale of a ticket reseller who, due to making a £300 profit on reselling tickets, now has a lifetime ban from grooving with Grandma. The wholesome nature of the evening again was brought up when in response to ticket reselling, it was also mentioned that people have offered to knit jumpers and bake cakes in lieu of payment of a ticket, perhaps reaffirming Oscar’s sentiment that there is a grandma within all of us.

The unity and warmth that this club night creates was aptly reiterated by Oscar as Grandma Groove provides a “united family on the dance floor, it’s a cult and it’s a family.” While you may have to take belonging to the cult of a grandma with a pinch of salt and find it as sickly sweet as the twelve kilos of sweets they provide on the night, it is clear that the wholesome nature of Grandma Groove is here to stay.