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Issue Date:- 12 May 2008

42nd Southport Weekender, Part 1...

Written by Dionne Ankrah & Photographs by Patrick Trollope

THE Southport Weekender, also known as the Southport Soul Weekender, attracts well over 5000 people, twice a year, once in May and once in November, to Pontins, sited in Ainsdale, just outside Southport. This pilgrimage of music fans has been taking place now for over 20 years and the show has emerged as one of the most musically diverse Weekenders in the UK, if not the world. The Weekender has, over its long run, developed a huge reputation within the music world, for having the best and friendliest atmosphere of any of the music event. That was confirmed by MTV; and the title, "The friendliest music event in the World", has stuck ever since it was awarded in 2006. The Southport Weekender, over the years has become a melting pot of past and future, R'n'B, Soul, Jazz and House music and one of the best places to meet legendary acts in person as well as up and coming acts. As one of the many DJ's at the event, Kerri Chandler from New Jersey, USA, puts it, "A coming together of like minded people to hear fantastic music, from all the ages and styles. This is an event like no other on Earth."

This was my second time to the event. Each time I have been I have found the atmosphere to be electric with the passion everyone had for the music. To me it is quite clear why most people come back to it, year after year and why it is one the longest standing music events. People are so friendly and so are the staff. All of them, from the security to the cleaning staff and the bar staff, none of them could be faulted.

In the Funkbase Room, the atmosphere created by the bass beat was heightened by the dark surroundings and the beams of light shooting around the room, a perfect recipe for success. One of the highlights for me on the Saturday Night was when one lad started to dance in a sequence of steps, the next minute whole room started to join in with hundreds of people dancing in unison.

Stephanie from Burscough told me that:- "The line-up is great and I love meeting up with people I have met at previous Weekenders". The Live acts in the Funkbase Room included Jay Sean, Monique Bingham and The Blackbyrds, who all had the crowd screaming for more. Jay Sean, for example, has had a history of success with not one, but many top 10 hits.

The Powerhouse had a mix of live vocal and bands performing. One of the vocal artists to take to that stage was the legendary Barbara Tucker. Also taking to the stage and finishing the Weekender's live acts on the Sunday was the amazing band The Sunburst Band. Sadly, I missed it, as I was ill, but our editor, Patrick, said:- They were amazing. Well worth hanging around for in the boiling hot room… The set seemed to just go on and on, and at the end the audience could not get enough, so they got called back on stage for yet another number!"   When the live acts weren't on, DJ's took to the decks, as in the other rooms, adding to the mix: A fantastic show!

On a whole, the Southport Weekender was a huge success, but that is no surprise to all who go. The only thing that got to me was the heat, but heck, it is May and the area is experiencing a mini heat wave!

Sophie from London said:- "I have been four times and I come back because the atmosphere is great the people are friendly and the music is excellent."

It shocks me, however, as to how little local people on Merseyside know about this culturally and musically diverse event, which attracts people from all over the world. Yet locals seem to think it is just another rave…

This event is one of the safest events and one of the most relaxed, I have ever been to. A fact echoed by all who go year on year. It is about time the local people wake up and as one of the punters put it, "Smell the Coffee!" This is one event to be extremely proud of and ought to be embraced by the people of Merseyside, like they do Creamfields!

If people are looking forward to the next Southport Weekender in November, they had better book early, as a lot of people were disappointed last year and this year already, as the tickets are, again, nearly sold out.

Interview with Real Player Media Player
Kerri Chandler Real Player v9 or above. Windows Media Player...
Joey Negro Real Player v9 or above. Windows Media Player...

If you are not in this weeks issue, more photographs and audio will be online in next weeks edition in Part 2...

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