AN iconic Basildon development which became synonymous with the town’s clubbing scene is raising a glass to 25 years.

Basildon’s Festival Leisure Park - affectionately known as Bas Vegas – welcomes more than 3.2 million visitors a year.

While the site has changed a lot in the last three decades many will remember it for being the life and soul of the town’s nightlife scene.

Basildon’s nightclub scene was famous, with people coming to the area from all over the county.

While home to just one nightclub now – Unit 7 – the area was home to a superclub.

The demolition of nightspots Liquid, Envy, New York New York and JJs in 2015 signalled the end of an era for a generation of south Essex clubbers.

Luminar Leisure, which owned the former superclub, wasted no time in razing the nightspot just two weeks after it closed for the last time.

Echo: Half of the front of club complex as it was torn downHalf of the front of club complex as it was torn down

The club complex has been there in a number of guises since the park opened in 1997.

Now it is home to a number of businesses including a cinema, bowling alley and restaurants.

There have been many highlights over the years too including setting the Guinness World Record for Most Princesses Gathered as well as an annual superhero and villains’ event every Easter Sunday.

Echo: One of the live industrial fire displays at the club complexOne of the live industrial fire displays at the club complex

Matthew Chambers, centre manager at Festival Leisure Park, said: “Festival Leisure – or I probably should say Bas Vegas – is an institution in Essex and we are naturally feeling reflective on how much it has contributed to local life.

“A lot has changed here over 25 years and we are proud to continue providing a safe, fun place for locals to spend quality time together.

“We take great pride in supporting the community - whether by providing space to organisations to promote themselves at the park, making charitable donations to their cause or teaming up to deliver an event.

“Together with the array of activities everyone can enjoy here, we are looking forward to the next 25 years being even better.”


This week, the leisure park has launched the Community Awards 2023, an annual scheme which recognises and rewards individuals and organisations who make a difference in the community.

Nominations for the awards are open until Wednesday, June 28, when voting will commence online.

Andrew Baggott, leader of Basildon Council, said: “It is very good news as it shows the level of longevity to it.

“At one point it was very much famous for its nightlife and clubbing but the scene has changed in regard to the nighttime economy over the years.

“And that is one thing in that the Festival Leisure Park has adapted very well to those changing circumstances and the way people go out to enjoy themselves.”