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.
In fact even the dance rooms at Pontins lost a certain degree of superiority from what I remembered and obviously the accommodation bared no comparison, however the Powerhouse at the Heritage Weekender looked fabulous and the sound epic. All the sets on Friday from Phil Asher, to legend Graeme Park, great tunes from CJ Mackintosh, awesome performance from Byron Stingley and once DJ Spen hit the stage to set alight the weekender for Kerri Chandler to bring it all back home. You wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else in the world at that moment if you love house music! It was truly lucky to experience that again!
Friday had some real treats in the house. It was great to see Norman Jay, Giles Peterson and other legends such as Ltj Bukem, Ashley Beadle, Paul 'Trouble' Anderson back at Pontins. There's no doubt the Funkbase was going off with live performances from Angela Johnson and the Dreem Teem, also DJ's Fitzroy Da Buzzboy, Schooly & Diggz, Steve Wren and the amazing DJ Spinna performing there as well as in the Connoisseur's Corner. Not forgetting residents Kev Beadle, Andy Davies, Bob Jeffries, Terry Jones, as well as Mike Stephens, Gary Dennis and Patrick Forge all appearing on Friday night. Standard Southport Weekender quality no doubt!
We were really lucky with the weather this year and astonishingly the Heritage Weekender felt more & more like a May Weekender than an Autumn addition! For me personally I did indeed feel lucky to experience Pontins again. I'll never forget the 40th event and being a Northerner it's nice not to have to travel too far, however it's best to swim with the tide and accept the change. A final note to Southport Pontins: Thanks for the good times and onwards to the next stage of one love soul, may it forever continue. Southport Weekender, we salute you!