It has pained me to write this review knowing that it is my last ever Southport Weekender. The fusion of soul, house music, jazz, funk and great vocals, truly gave the event something different, something special and timeless. All about soul, diversity and good vibrations, Southport Weekender was a community of friends who liked to dance and listen to quality, cutting edge tunes.
Thus, it was nice to see familiar faces at Southport Weekender 52. Like always, the Southport family were up for a party, a slice of soul and good times, despite knowing this was the last ever show. Previous years had always sold out in record time - astonishing, really, considering how long this event has been going - but now was the time to call it a day. Of course, this wasn't going to dampen anyone's spirits. With many great live acts and DJs returning for the last one, as well as up and coming acts, it was always going to live up to that premier aspect of what makes soul music, and what gave Southport Weekender is reputation. The sound-systems were on point, the Powerhouse looking the best ever, the Suncebeat Dome on heat as usual, Inn On The Green firing, the Funkbase always booming, the Beat Bar banging and Connoisseurs Corner all delivering great memories once again with some fantastic live performances. Tortured Soul and Lala Hathaway hit Friday night in stylish fashion, with legends Kerri Chandler, John Morales, Nightmares On Wax, to mention a few, also performing. In force, the brilliant Southport Weekender residents cranked up some classic tracks as usual; they will be truly missed.
So many treats such as Kings Of House: Tony Humphries, Louie Vega and David Morales featuring live pa Michael Watford, to enjoy in the Powerhouse, as well as Masters At Work playing Sunday afternoon, it was hard to find anything to complain about. Great acts throughout the weekend such as Jarrod Lawson, Shaun Escoffery, worked perfect with the Southport crowd and The Rebirth had a superb gig on Saturday afternoon.
Continue reading: Southport Weekender - May 8-10 2015 - Butlins, Minehead Live Review
Southport Weekender 52 follows one the best ever event in its prolific 28 year history. Everything about last year's SPW 50, the amazing artists like Chaka Khan with Incognito, the fantastic DJs like Carl Cox and Derrick Carter and the amazing Southport veterans, mixed with the brilliant Southport Weekender crowd, just took the event to another level. So it's with regret that we have to convey that news that SPW 52 will be the last ever Southport Weekender.
It was always a possibility that many veterans who so loyally booked a place at SPW (the friendliest dance festival in the world) may move on after the 50th event and this seems to be the reality, however the line-up is not at fault this year. SPW 52 still delivers the customary legendary line up, for example Masters at Work, Louie Vega and Kenny Dope playing in the Powerhouse, Kerri Chandler and Chez Damier (back to back) and the grand finale on Sunday including David Morales, Tony Humphries and another set from legendary Louie Vega. Other great innovators and upcoming artists, such as Dennis Ferrer, Richy Ahmed, Black Coffee, Culoe de Song, Sean McCabe and Jonny Miller, will also be playing in the Powerhouse, certainly ending this amazing space in style! The fabulous sound quality, amazing visuals and, most importantly the atmosphere, will produce quite a few tears on Sunday May 10th. It's going to be emotional.
Southport Weekender has always mastered the delivery of soul and true heart connection to its attendees and SPW 52 is no exception, with Grammy award winning Lalah Hathaway, super cool Peven Everett, the legend that is Jocelyn Brown, Tony Remy and Reel People Music Sound System featuring Tony Momrelle and Portia Monique, Swindle, the fantastic Tortured Soul, Southport legend Shaun Escoffery, The Rebrith, Michael Watford, and rising superstar Jarrod Lawson; truly expect nothing but the best and prepare to be dazzled.
Continue reading: Southport Weekender 52 - Butlins, Minehead - 8th-10th May 2015 Preview
As 2014 draws to an end it's staggering to think how many Southport Weekender events I've been to this year! After going to Camelot, it seemed just a wink away and remarkably back to the awesome sound system of the Powerhouse at Pontins! I had to go back for one final fling and my decision to return was made all the more easier by the immense line-up.
It's a bit frustrating for me writing this review as I only attended Friday night and didn't get the full juice of the Weekender. I missed so many amazing opportunities but - even though my time was cut short - I still captured a dose of soul.
There's no doubt it was great to go back to Pontins. Seeing the layout, the Powerhouse room again and going to the beach in the morning was a real welcome return. Standing in the Funkbase remembering Guru's gig there was a beautiful reminder of great times and how much we've grown. It was fortunate to remember all that have contributed to this evolution of music, unity and dance and to shed a tear for those that are no longer here with us. It was a welcome relief to be able to get some sleep in the chalets, a clear progression accepted from Minehead, as at previous Southport Weekender events at Pontins, sleep would certainly be a challenge! In fact comparing the Pontins to Minehead it was pretty obvious who was the winner, proving the gamble paid off.
As 2014 approaches the end of what has been a truly dramatic and tumultuous year we can look back with fond memories of some great events. However there's still another quality event in the diary with Southport Weekender's amazing return back to Pontins in the town of Southport! Indeed Southport Weekender have contributed to some great events this year such as the amazing 50th celebration at Minehead, a sizzling Suncebeat 5 and a great start to Camelot, however many never could have imagined the possibility of another party at Pontins, reminiscing where there has truly been some amazing parties in the past. There's no doubt there's an appetite for a final fling of 2014 and Southport Heritage Weekender could be the perfect place.
Many of the acts performing have played at Pontins before and it's clear to see that the artists really want to play this one. The venue at Pontins has always been an excellent environment to create epic parties and who wouldn't want to be there if you've experienced it before. It's fortunate to see that there are still tickets available so the opportunity to attend might attract some Southport virgins to the party that could add a welcomed new energy to the mix. Whatever happens I'm truly curious to return to see how the old venue still fairs. Personally I missed the flow of moving from room to room when SPW switched from Pontins to Butlins in the Minehead, so I'm going to have another look.
Certainly the line would bring any discerning music lover to Southport Heritage Weekender this year. With such an amazing array of soul live acts that span from legend to classic and DJ's that have defined modern music it's clear the quality of the music will be exceptional. Byron Stingley kicking off Friday in the Powerhouse doesn't get any more positive, with the amazing Sounds of Blackness Saturday afternoon, Adeva Saturday night and The Fatback Band to finish off on Sunday afternoon. Other live acts such as Angela Johnson, Keni Burke, Leroy Hutson, Kindred and the Soul Family, Rachelle Ferrel and not forgetting the Dreem Team live will create a lot of memories for sure. To watch these quality acts in the great rooms to dance at Southport Weekender; The Connoisseurs Corner, The Funkbase, The Beat Bar and a Brand New H20 Zone Bar, is something I'm certainly looking forward to.
2014 has been a stand-out year for Southport Weekender. I'm sure any long standing promoter can empathise that dealing with the changing economic climate has been challenging, therefore it's a real achievement to create 4 events in one year. There was a historic Southport Weekender 50th at Butlins in Minehead, followed by a brilliant Suncebeat 5 establishing this event as one of the best parties in wonderful Croatia, on to new addition Camelot in Chorley Lancashire, and later ending with a final fling back at Pontins in Southport for the Southport Heritage Weekender.
The quality music, the line up and passion of the resident DJs continues Southport Weekender's notable reputation and attracts so many outstanding artists, DJs and musicians each year; not forgetting the faithful Southport Weekender punters, whose devotion and love for soulful music keeps this pulse alive and continues a desire to create more events. So how did the first Camelot fare against the stand out moments of 2014?
It was surreal, but felt like good timing to be going to a party still feeling the rays of the summer sunshine, while still noticing the dip change of seasons. In fact, there were a few moments during Camelot that brought flashbacks of being back in Croatia and at Pontins! For some reason, dancing to DJ Bigger at 7pm at Camelot felt like it was 5am on a Saturday at a Pontins Weekender and the Powerhouse reminded me of being in Barbarellas in Petrachane at Suncebeat. It was, unsurprisingly, all very familiar; it's always a family affair with any Southport Weekender event and Camelot was no exception.
There's no doubt 2014 is turning into an epic year for Southport Weekender. The 50th Weekender at Butlins in Minehead in May was truly legendary and all the comments regarding the 5th Suncebeat in Croatia this year have been reported as the best so far. Seemingly, Southport Weekender can't do any wrong with their unique blend of good vibrations and serious love for soul, jazz/funk fusion, hip hop and house music that keeps a loyal crowd of punters eager for another dose each year. Fortunately for both those who haven't experienced the magic yet this year and for the Southport Weekender family, there are two more instalments left on the calendar. While October brings Heritage Weekender, the next event coming up on the 30th August presents CAMELOT in Chorley, Lancashire.
There's no doubt CAMELOT sounds like a lot of fun. The event occurs at Park Hall situated in a stunning woodland setting with accommodation on site, starting at 1pm on Saturday until 6am the following day. There's a Jamaican BBQ continuing the Carnival vibes throughout the day and great soundsystems, plus quality decor to the get atmosphere right, but ultimately it's the music that is the most important ingredient in the mix at Southport Weekender events.
We've got the essentials all featuring at CAMELOT with the Connoisseur's Corner hosting legendary Southport Weekender residents Terry Jones, Bob Jeffries, Colin Curtis and Richard Searling who always know how to rock the crowd, plus the soulful sounds of The Unabombers and an exclusive disco set from DJ Spen. In the Funkbase, playing urban flavours who really know how to mix classics with bangers, are Bigger, JP, Ronnie Herel and the fantastic Trevor Nelson. Meanwhile in the Powerhouse fuelling the UK-Chicago connection are London titan Grant Nelson and deep house maestro Ron Trent; expect an awesome display of DJ magic and house music. Later on in the the evening, folk will be heading down to the on-site nightclub to get down to the sounds of Dimitri From Paris before The Basement Boys (Karizma, DJ Spen and Teddy Douglass) take us to church with a full live performance from Jasper Street Company who were amazing at the 50th.
Southport 50th was always going to be special. Every year Southport Weekender comes around again and with so many mind blowing gigs and sets we've seen throughout its history, it would be fair to assume Alex, Dave and the rest of the Southport Weekender family couldn't top it off again, but my gosh they did! It was an epic weekender.
The history of Southport Weekender has been inspirational to many lovers of soul and unity. That's why so many American artists, who have influenced dance music, always return back to get a slice of this unique melting pot. David Morales, Derrick Carter, Kerri Chandler, Kenny Dope, Jazzy Jeff, as well as legendary UK pioneers such as Carl Cox, David Rodigan, Trevor Nelson, Giles Peterson, Norman Jay and Mr Scruff were all in the house. Amazing live acts such as Faith Evans, Omar, Marcos Valle and Snarky Puppy added to the magic of what was a fantastic weekend.
Arriving on Friday, it was hard not to get swept away with the excitement but with the After Parties and so much to see, it was best not to burn out too soon. Brand New Heavies in The Connoisseur's Corner was a perfect way to start the weekender. They always know how to win the Southport Weekender crowd with their great display of funk musicianship immediately getting the dance floor moving. With Suncebeat and now two more events this year - one at Camelot and a special nostalgia gig back at the original Pontins in Southport - there were plenty more opportunities to experience the good vibrations of the festival. There's no doubt anyone who's been to Suncebeat knows how good that event is, and that I'm sure will be even more prolific this year due to the tragic death of Frankie Knuckles, who was going to headline Suncebeat this year.
Continue reading: Southport Weekender 50th - 9th - 11th May 2014, UK Live Review
As the pace of 2014 quickens, only one thing is on our mind - and that's the great party that occurs every year at Southport Weekender. The 50th celebration of this sensational event is just weeks away and we are about to experience what SPW does so well in what looks to be the best so far. The thought of heading down to Minehead again so soon is truly thrilling.
The world continues to spin, seemingly faster than ever these days, so we have to be sure to allow space for good times and that is always guaranteed at this epic weekender. No matter what inspires you from your time there, you always take home that much appreciated and very special slice of soul each year. There's nowhere else in the world quite like it and that's why we see so many cutting edge international artists eager to play at Southport Weekender and continuing to return with another tune to drop. Obviously the 50th is going to be particularly special with so many soul stars and real legends such as Chakka Khan performing, and a remarkable DJ line-up setting the scene for a fantastic summer.
Reflecting on the 40th anniversary event in Pontins 8 years ago, it's crazy to think how much has changed in the world of music. Alas, it's only right to mention those who are no longer with us and who have added so much to the Weekender - I refer, of course, to the shocking news of the passing of Godfather of House Music Frankie Knuckles. In this cycle of 10, the events of Southport Weekender went from 2 to 1. The circumstances have been challenging and dramatically changing for sure. Southport Weekender has now settled at Butlins and, despite the changes, the commitment and loyalty for this world-acclaimed event remains unabated and respected by all.
Continue reading: Southport Weekender 2014 - Preview
The brilliant Southport Weekender release Volume 10 and anyone who's been to a Weekender or have heard the previous mixes will be truly thrilled! Indeed, with a history of great DJ/producers such as Kerri Chandler, DJ Spinna, Mr Scruff, Jazzanova, King Brit and Ashley Beadle who have all contributed to the Volume series, it makes taking the mantle of a mix on this brand as an honour as well as a challenge! Californian Miguel Stewart, aka Miguel Migs, returns back having already featured on the 2003 release, alongside one of the UK's brightest stars of the dance community, Atjazz. The spirit of Southport Weekender is all about black soul music and all the progressions created from this source, as well as one love unity. Previous Southport Weekender Volumes have always delivered quality and brought a flavour reminiscent of being at the event itself.
Miguel Migs starts off by bringing house music and the energy of The Powerhouse into your stereo! This DJ is renowned for his remixes and has three brand new remixes first on the playlist by Kyodai feat. Gabriela Smith; a brilliant Migs Deep Deluxe Dub mix of Tortured Soul's 'Can't Keep Rhythm' and Zoo Look feat. Amy Lyon 'Over Me'. There are some great tracks from the man himself like 'Create A Mood' and 'Heartbeat' featuring Lisa Shaw as well as bangers from Husky 'So Crazy' and deep house from Hot Toddy 'Mutha Sucka'. There's no denying there's some flawless mixing going on and great tempo with original cuts that take you on a soulful journey. For me it was great to hear such a quality mix that I absolutely appreciated.
Martin 'Atjazz' Iveson truly is a sought after man, whether as a DJ, producer or for remixes. This mix brings the depth of sound Southport Weekender promotes straight from the Connoisseurs Corner or Beat Bar. Starting off with artist Leon Ware blending to the classic sounds of 4Hero 'Naima', as well as Incognito later on in the mix and highlighting broken beat, deep house and progressive soul to precision, proving the hype surrounding Atjazz. Amazing tracks from Elsie with 'Poseidon', The Layabouts feat. Shea Soul on 'Perfectly' and, my favourite of the whole album, Dozie 'Sensuality' (Aybee's Midnite Creep)! It was great to hear such musicality throughout this mix and Kerri Chandler 'Rain' (Atjazz Remix) brought a touch of continuity from Vol. 9. An excellent mix no doubt!
Southport Weekender 49 came and went in a flash and it was quite simply MAGNIFICENT!! Three years in the bag at Butlins and Southport Weekender is officially settled at its location in Minehead. Dealing with a new venue and trying to maintain the same atmosphere, standard and quality cannot have been an easy task for the Southport promoters and team. The Southport family can happily pat themselves on the back and say WELL DONE! Now we can reflect on SPW49, that absolutely delivered, and prepare as the countdown begins for the BIG 50!
There's no doubt the vibe this year was really reminiscent of many epic weekenders of the past. The environment at Butlins is far more luxurious than Southport's previous home and with the compliance of a stricter music policy on site ensures punters can actually get some sleep throughout the weekend if they want to. It was great to see so many Southport 'virgins' this year of all ages, as well as, of course, the veterans in force who still can't get enough of the unique magic you receive at a weekender. It was pretty obvious that the SunceBeat dome was probably one of the best places to be throughout SPW49 with great performances from Kerri Chandler, Exist (AtJazz & Karizma) and many others who really transported the sound of the beautiful Dalmatian coast to the UK. Of course, one can't always be there and there were an obvious few missing this year; particularly Gerry Calderhead, whose contribution to the weekender received a special mention in the brochure. The spirit of Southport Weekdender lives on and the anticipation this year has been unprecedented and Southport Weekender 49 sold out in record time!
Due to Southport Weekender having upgraded to a better venue it certainly creates a more relaxed feel. The promoters certainly improved the experience by focusing on reducing queuing issues and introducing the MixCloud Dome. Also the lighting, sound and aesthetics were certainly back on par with how Southport has always rolled, QUALITY! There's no doubt the last three years have been a great test of getting everything right for allowing the promise of SPW 50! There was no Skyline gig this year but there's no doubt something will be lined up special for that space next year. New artists on the bill at SPW49 certainly brought a refreshing element to the mix; for example, Black Coffee warming up the Powerhouse on Friday night, whose contribution this year was very much appreciated. Other notable debut performances were from Sadar Bahar, The Mighty Zaf, Move D and Andres, who provided some great gigs over the weekend and it's fair to say there were others who may have found it difficult to capture the spirit of SPW with their sets on this occasion. Most notably Yasiin Bey aka Mos Def surprisingly didn't win the Funkbase crowd, although I have heard from a few other punters that they did enjoy the gig. However, bringing Arrested Development to SPW49 was a great move and absolutely captured the one love, unity spirit that is the heart of the weekender.
Would you believe it! Here we are again about to go to Southport Weekender!! Time is zooming past these days and with the crazy weather, changing world and pressures of society there's one thing we can rely on to be good and that is Southport Weekender! SPW 49 truly shows that the spirit and desire for the continuation of this fantastic event is as strong as ever. Selling out in record time again despite the sirens of austerity and uncertainty that we constantly hear, the Southport crowd are still hungry to party and I'm sure everyone can agree with me right now that it's time PLAY!! Thank goodness!
What's guaranteed at Southport Weekender is QUALITY and TRUE professionalism. Every time I've attended the event I've always learnt something, gained inspiration and have the opportunity to let go of life's pressures. The whole vibe is set to get you dancing to the best music in the world delivered by the most prolific and popular DJ's/artists in the world. Expect a brilliant venue, great sound systems, excellent lighting and of the course the people.
Once again Southport Weekender has created a premier line up and are showcasing some fantastic upcoming and well established musicians to bring the party to us. Butlins, Minehead is now firmly established as the home to Southport Weekender and after the transition from the previous home in the town of Southport a couple of years ago, I noticed the considerable adjustments made to maintain the superior trademark quality SPW is known for last year.
Southport Weekender celebrated their 25th anniversary as a soul music, dance weekender at Butlin's in Minehead, Somerset, UK. This a phenomenal achievement for a group of like minded soul music lovers, who caught the spirit of soul and unity consciousness, to create a premier event that still cuts it in our modern day. The organisers should really be proud of themselves for this great achievement and credit to all of the people connected with this leading event. Obviously Southport Weekender wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the music and the quality was evident as soon as the line-up was announced. With amazing acts such as Jill Scott, Patrice Rushen, Soul II Soul to name but a few and a host of outstanding DJ's, there was no way the 25th anniversary wasn't going to improve the quality standard. It must be incredibly hard to continue raise the bar each year but SPW48 certainly did!
SOUTHPORT WEEKENDER IS BACK! A year on from its first party at Butlin's in Minehead, Southport Weekender celebrates its 25th anniversary as a soul music dance event! What a fantastic achievement for Alex Lowes and Dave Gardener, who's vision 25 years ago, seeing a shift in fashion with a new emerging 'soul' scene, that has become a guaranteed sell out event in our current time! It's amazing to think that people at the first Southport Weekender event will be attending Butlin's, Minehead this May and that artists who have shaped the course of modern music continue to return back to this premier music haven! What's clear to me in this modern time of change and uncertainty is that Southport Weekender is fixed firmly in the hearts and minds of 6500 people who LOVE this event, whose support and loyalty has kept Southport Weekender established as a permanent yearly fixture in the UK, ensuring the best quality in the world!
Continue reading: Southport Weekender, 2012 Preview
Southport Weekender release Vol. 9 to their already respected back catalogue of quality mixes. The SPW family celebrate their 25th Anniversary in May 2012 held at Butlins Holiday Resort in Minehead. It's a great achievement for any promotion, but what makes this event so relevant and popular 25 years on is its original passion and love for soul music that has progressed and evolved. The history of soul music and synergy between the UK and the US is certainly instrumental to what we hear in the mainstream charts these days and Southport Weekender has supported that journey for the last 25 years. It's no wonder the best DJ's and producers in the world are a part of the SPW family and always ready to drop a mix on the Southport Weekender Vol. series. With star DJ's such as Kerri Chandler, Gilles Peterson and Jazzie B having played previous mixes, we see the welcome return of UK underground legend Mr Scruff and Brooklyn's creative and world recognised talent DJ Spinna, playing his first mix on this collection.
Continue reading: Southport Weekender, Vol. 9 Mixed by Mr Scruff & DJ Spinna Album Review
Some might say it's a miracle to be writing this review, as Southport Weekender continues on into its 24th year as a sold out event, even in a new venue and even despite the economic and changing times. Indeed it is a remarkable achievement and since the humble beginnings at Berwick in 1987 Southport Weekender has endured to become a worldwide leading event and that for many is a 'must be at' event, not only for the supporters, but also for the artists as well. It was great for me to see David Morales at this one who wasn't on the line up this year but came anyway just to be part of the party! It shows how important the event is to many of the pioneers of this scene as there's nowhere quite like Southport Weekender in the entire world!
3rd August, 1985
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