TODAY marks 20 years since Fatboy Slim played to more then a quarter of a million ravers on Brighton seafront.

Little did anyone realise, the DJ’s huge show on July 13, 2002, would go on to gain almost legendary status and become a key moment in Sussex’s history.

The Argus: The huge crows along Brighton's beach. PA Photo: Yui MokThe huge crows along Brighton's beach. PA Photo: Yui Mok

Just 60,000 people were expected to attend Big Beach Boutique 2, after the previous year’s event proved popular but not overwhelming.

But with just 50 police officers scheduled to work on the night, it soon became clear that far more people were arriving – unlike anything Brighton had seen before, or would see again.

The Argus: The DJ was forced to cut his set short by 30 minutes. PA Photo: Yui MokThe DJ was forced to cut his set short by 30 minutes. PA Photo: Yui Mok

The place was packed to the point of bursting as crowds surged through the streets – with people lining every inch of free space at the non-ticketed event.

It is said that police became so helpless that one saw a theft from six metres away, but was unable to reach the incident, instead having his baton and handcuffs stolen by the people around him.

The Argus: Streets were packed long in to the night. Picture: Aaron St ClairStreets were packed long in to the night. Picture: Aaron St Clair

At the time, the event drew criticism from the media with some describing it as “chaos” - but this has since been rubbished, and Fatboy Slim’s second instalment of the Big Beach Boutique has gone down as his best.

“I think I was too stressed on the day about crowd safety to really take it all in, to fully enjoy the experience,” said Fatboy Slim, whose real name is Norman Cook.

The Argus: Picture by Aaron St Clair from the roof of The Grand HotelPicture by Aaron St Clair from the roof of The Grand Hotel

“Now I feel I can look back at the footage, remember the tunes, that sunset, my home seafront looking like a carnival in Brazil, so many beautiful people having the time of their lives.

“I have never seen such joyous madness, such good-natured abandon.

The Argus: PA Photo: Yui MokPA Photo: Yui Mok

“A wise man once described me as ‘a shepherd of moments'.”

Police reportedly considered cancelling Norman’s set but, fearing a riot, allowed it to go ahead with the proviso he finished 30 minutes early.

The Argus: Fans having a great time at the front. PA Photo: Yui MokFans having a great time at the front. PA Photo: Yui Mok

And while some may choose to remember the negatives, most will savour the glorious day for what it was – one of the great comings together of the people for a dance music event, one that will, unfortunately, never be repeated.

Or will it?