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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 99

Date:- 17 May 2003

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32nd Southport Weekender Blinder
By Natasha Piscitelli BA(Hons)

THE 32nd Southport Weekender kicked off in true magical style at Pontins, Ainsdale on May 9-11, 2003 - yet again showcasing the cream of the crop of soulful house, garage, funk, urban soul, hip-hop and jazz.

The weekender was created in October 1987, brought to you by Alex Lowes and the UpNorth team and in the words of Blaze:- “knew house before it was even called house.”

It is arguably the most eagerly anticipated UK dance event and within its 16 year history has pulled in an eclectic mix of DJs, singers, MCs, musicians and dancers.

Last weekend’s event was no different. Among the vast line up was Masters at Work producer and DJ, Little Louis Vega, accompanied on the Powerhouse stage by the Spanish guitarist and human beat-box, Raul Midon. The 5,000 strong gathering of music heads were also treated to the masterful Gilles Peterson, a Banga house set of Indian beats by Simon Dunmore and a splattering of live PAs, including Kim English, Kenny Thomas and Michelle Weeks.

Friday’s room of choice was most certainly the Bacardi B-Bar, where the highlight of the night was DJ Spinna, playing a diverse mix of US house and timeless classics. As he ripped it up with ‘Change for me’ by Erro, Donna Summer’s classic ‘I feel love’ and Michael Jackson’s ‘Off the wall’ everybody in the room went nuts.

For those wanting to lose the plot, a veritable feast was waiting in the Connoisseurs Corner. Providing a quality selection of soulful garage, rare grooves and disco, this room is perhaps the epitome of what the soul weekender stands for. Friday’s high point was Norman Jay, while on Saturday night the energetic vocals of Kenny Thomas alongside DJ Colin Curtis was priceless and not to be missed.

 The Ice Bar, as luxurious as its name suggests was the chill out spot for the weekender’s fashionable crowd. Featuring a bar made completely of ice, filled with squidgy leather beanbags and decked out in luxurious white carpet, the room was perfect for anybody wanting to chill out or shake their hips to the smooth grooves of Sound Architecture DJs, Dan Lywood and Tim Soar.

If you had not partied yourself out, the Sunday wind-down was the ideal way to say goodbye to the weekender for another five months. Southport’s Old Bank provided a cosy spot to do that last bit of toe popping and ass shaking and pulled in the last of the hardcore.

Whatever you are looking for the whole shebang has something to offer everybody. Steve White has been playing at the weekender for four years. He said:- “It’s such a brilliant vibe here, because everybody is so happy and up for a party. People come here to enjoy themselves and they do just that. I’ve met so many people every time I play here, it’s just wicked.”

The weekender pulls in crowds from right across the UK. I caught up with a couple revellers to see what they thought. Lisa from Hull said:- “I’ve come down here on my friend’s recommendation and I think it’s fantastic. I really love the music and have been dancing all night. It’s really good value for money and there’s lots of gorgeous men here, which is a bonus.”

Steve Taylor from London said, “I love it here, especially all the beautiful women; they’re wicked, wicked, wicked. Norman Jay has been my favourite, he’s a top guy.”

 The next weekender kicks off in October, at £108 a ticket including accommodation – you would be rude to miss it.

Are you in our shots?

ONLY 46 Pages Long.... EEEK!   Patrick Trollope takes the shots, over 400 photographs.   Are you on?

A few more still by Nick Brown....

Still more....  The official Weekender Party at the Old Bank.      Photographs by Patrick Trollope.

More photographs Next WeeK!
Photo of Natasha by Nick Brown. Photographs of the set up by Patrick Trollope.

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