Lying here the day after my 18 hour journey home from Croatia, I get the chance to think back to the last 8 days of madness.
It all started with a trip to Bosnia, where I was playing for a festival for up and coming bands, Demofest. The first night saw Khelis perform after the event with Ian Pooley doing the after party. I was left speechless by Khelis’ performance.. she sang non-descript uptempo numbers interlaced with the odd 30 second burst from another female DJ (could have even been Nicci Belluci without her baps out?) of the biggest dance hits around. It was, in my humble opinion, Wank ! I will come back to this a little later.
The after party began as Ian Pooley played his first record to an empty field next to the main stage. Within the first few minutes there were almost 2000 people grooving to some surprisingly mellow music and as the night continued he played a great set. I loved it, the atmosphere from the crowd (where I always like to be) was a nice one and I was very impressed with his selection. Some feedback the next day was that he was a bit flat and didn’t really take the crowd anywhere. Those people must have been in a different party ?
The next night saw Tricky take to the stage, not really knowing anything about his music I had no idea what to expect. He was different. I didn’t really know any of the songs but when he covered “Ace of Spades” and invited about 75 of the crowd up to the stage, it went off ! It was no where near as busy as Khelis the night before, so I was a little concerned as to how the after party would go. I started to an empty field again and it was slower building, meaning I didn’t have the luxury of the atmosphere to allow me to be so chilled when I started. I proceeded to do what I love doing, playing music I want to people who are prepared to follow me as I try out a few things. Reports are that it worked and I had a great time up there for 3 hours in front of over 1500 people until my last track in front of the 400 or so that remained with me to the death.
Thank you Banja Luka, Srjdan, Dragan and the one or two people that come to see me play every time I’m there.
Two brief hours of sleep and we had to drive the 6 hours across the border to Croatia. As we began I was in a bad way, lack of sleep and vodka where to blame but after a little kip in the back of the car, the jokes were flowing again and the trip was nowhere near as bad as I expected. Once I was checked into my hotel it was time to hit the venue and get ready for my first set of the weekend.
Suncebeat 2 is held in the AMAZING surroundings of the Garden Festival site in Petracane (pronounced Petra – charnay.) The venue is actually owned by very good friends of ours who relocated from Birmingham so I had been keen to check it out for many years now. Outdoor bars, stages, sun beds under massive trees, a DJ booth and dancefloor inches from the crashing waves.. it would be hard to find a better location anywhere in the world.
For a full insight into the event, take a look at the e-flyer.
There isn’t one photo that does the whole thing justice, so click the image to take a look through this great album.
There is just way too much detail to go thru, there were many many highlights throughout the entire 5 days I was there, so I’ll throw down some things that immediately spring to mind.
There was a very apparent mixed bag of people there, of all ages and nationalities. This meant that the event had to cater for all tastes which was always going to be hard. I was amazed to hear so many different opinions on DJ sets which just cemented the fact that music is so very subjective. I was thrilled by one or two of the DJs and also surprised by the easy choices some of the bigger names made. Far from being a DJ that lacks confidence, it gave me even more reassurance that what I do is just right for what I attempt to do and it also made me realise that even the best in the business can’t please everyone. Across my five (more like four and a bit) sets I had the chance to totally blow the crowd away on the boat party, the next day play an extended 3 hour set on the main stage and set the scene for the night ahead in a totally different way to the night before. I played one set with no one in front of me at all yet people chilling and listening ‘in the wings’, I threw down a few big ones to finish off another boat party and finally, my last set of the week as attached to the podcast/embedded below. This was an amazing night from where I was stood !
I met so many great new people, many of whom talked about the Vocal Booth Weekender and how they’d heard so much about it as well as catching up with so many good friends and getting to connect with a lot of my colleagues on a more personal basis.
There are many things that I may have missed out of this very brief summary, so all I will say is this. If you want Southport Weekender by the sea, then this is the event for you. Be warned, it is not for the faint hearted… it is relentless raving of the highest order. Even if you want to chill out, there is too much going on for you to be able to abstain.
Here are a couple of the many videos that will surface over time
It goes without saying, I spent the whole time drawing contrast to the Vocal Booth Weekender.. but you really can’t. That and Suncebeat are two totally different beasts. With so many different groups of people to really get to know it was nowhere near as intimate as the VBW, but then at over twice the size of people attending that’s kind of obvious.
I might have to come back and do another blog about this in a day or so, I spent the whole time people watching and DJ listening that I have loads of things to discuss !
If you have bothered reading this far let me dissect the mix you are about to hear.
The setting is Barbarella’s club at the event, obviously. It is the final night of an extended weekend, put on for the few remaining people left on site heading home the following day. There were a lot of lifeless people in the club. Phil Asher did a great job warming up, as you would expect, although because I knew a lot of the people in the place, and they knew I was playing, everyone made no secret of the fact they were ready for one last party and told me in no uncertain terms to sort it out. Of course, I was respectful of the way Phil had began the night and also had to be careful not to go too heavy, too soon and scare the many people away in there that were enjoying Phil’s vibes… and that’s where we begin the mix.
There are moments where I attempt to see if the crowd wants it harder… they didn’t. For most of this set the whole floor was packed and the vibe electric. I hope that comes through in the mix.