My Suncebeat 4 Report

Their fourth event, my third time attending. One of the highlights of my year and a party I had been looking forward to for ages.

As always, this review could quite easily have been cut and pasted from my Suncebeat 3 report last year. But I’ll chuck a few words down while I sit here mentally and physically exhausted. I’ll be skipping people’s names so as not to miss anyone out. I purposely left my camera and phone in the hotel room so I could concentrate on enjoying the moments instead of trying to capture them, so have no photos to back this up.

I arrived to my hotel on the Wednesday afternoon and took a leisurely walk into Tisno town, to get some supplies for the room and to delay the impending carnage for as long as possible before heading on site.
I had dinner with a few of the crew I bumped into, got back to the hotel and proceeded out for the evening.

I arrived for the first night at the amazing beach stage to hear Gavin Kendrick and Ronnie Herel play, and to enjoy a few beers and catch up with a lot of familiar faces and VB Family. I am struggling to remember any of that first night it seems so long ago.

I had made a promise to myself not to drink any spirits the whole time I was there, especially after the state I was in at SPW, so despite the memory lapse I do know I had an early night after a few cheeky beers and was fresh as a daisy on the Thursday when I woke up ready for some scuba diving.

I headed over to the town of Vodice for two dives with H2O Diving, respect to Ante for his company and two great dive sites where I saw lobster for the first time down at 43 metres and could hear dolphins but didn’t see any.

That’s about it for the blow-by-blow account as every day/night seems to have blurred into one from here on in.. here are a few of the important bits.

HIGHLIGHTS

Once again I have to give credit to the location and facilities on offer at the Garden Tisno. After being left high and dry last year and having to find the venue at short notice, my good friends from Birmingham and all their staff continue to provide one of the best settings you could ever wish to party in.

Not drinking so heavily this year meant I felt a whole lot brighter most of the time, it’s surprising how many people commented on how ‘normal/well behaved’ I was. Glad the effort didn’t go unnoticed ! Don’t get me wrong, there were still some pretty loose moments across the seven days (the last day being particularly big).

I was scheduled for 3 sets and ended up doing 4 (one extra boat party). I was happy with all of them and got great feedback as always.
My first set on Thursday was after Ronnie Herel and before Mad Mats. I can’t remember that one at all, ha ha. Not through over-indulgence, I just can’t picture it. My boat party set went exactly as I had hoped, I got to set the pace of the day and even went back to back with Kerri Chander for a while. The Monday Beach Stage set was maybe my personal favourite to play, even the spots of rain and power cut mid-way through couldn’t dampen the vibe. I want to specifically thank every person who made the effort to come out to see my set on the Monday, I know how difficult it was to get ready for that so respect is due ! The Farewell Boat Party set was a nice surprise to have to fill in for Terry Jones, and it’s fair to say, as always, we went out with a bang !

I have recordings of all my own sets so once I get clarification of what the promoters want to do with them, I will let you know.

I particularly enjoyed a couple of lovely afternoons sitting in the sun (more so sitting in the shade) just talking about random things. It gets a bit much chatting about music or the Vocal Booth Weekender at times and thinking about some of the topics of conversations we had puts a smile on my face. I purposely made a conscious effort not to talk too much music, seeing as I personally am in a bit of a weird place mentally around it all at the moment. I didn’t want to be negative in such an amazing setting. I think I managed to stay upbeat most of the time.

I also met some lovely new people as well as getting to know others a little better. The people made the event special this year for me as opposed to the music. Personally speaking I didn’t hear enough diversity of sets. That doesn’t mean there WASN’T a massive range on offer… you just had to put the effort in and from where I was sitting it was mainly house music for 7 days.

I danced, I danced and I danced some more. I had some great moments on my own on the floor, highlight of the whole event for me was Saturday night dancing to Mad Mats. I’m not sure if it was the red wine buzz or the weird tasting cigarette someone passed me (I only inhaled for about 4 seconds before realising and handing it back) but his music was PROPER. Respect to that man, I cannot wait to see the damage he is going to do in September. That Beach Stage dance floor is a magical place and I miss it already.

Talking of DJs, credits go to (in no particular order) Ronnie Herel, Terry Jones, Frank Roger, Mark Stone, Atjazz and Osunlade. They played sets I immediately think of as some of my favourites. Lil’ Stevie and Dekky also played killer sets on the Farewell Boat Party. Phil Asher played a brilliant diverse set Sunday afternoon and provided the backdrop for a much needed recovery session in the shade. Martin Lodge also knows how to play a sunshine set.
Other DJs I heard played great sets but nothing that I feel I need to shout about (of course it’s all personal taste) and a couple of the ‘big boys’ played just OK. Joe Claussell’s diva strop (his equipment wouldn’t work directly after Mad Mats’ set so he walked away without playing) worked in my favour as he isn’t my favourite DJ to listen to. Instead Atjazz, Frank Roger and Luis Radio all did a sterling job in standing in for Joe (**edit – and Karizma as well). Someone started a vicious rumour that I’d called Joe Claussell ” A knob” on the mic. Definitely not true. I was nowhere near the mic.
Moodyman was good, not as amazing as I’d hoped and I definitely didn’t get the whole “Grapes and Watermelon in the DJ Booth” and “Wearing a hair net like a pirate eyepatch” but I guess it all adds to the mystique. I was disappointed to not have my attention held long enough to hear if he got on the mic, but at least I got to enjoy some great vibes with Terry Jones on the Main Stage to end the night… which reminds me, Gregory Porter was brilliant !

I only went to Barbarella’s once.. I had so much fun there with so many groups of people that was enough for me and it also meant I didn’t have too many late nights (after 6am). I am also happy to know there are no photos of me with DJs on my shoulders this year. I was actually very well behaved the whole time. Kind of.

There was an increase of numbers this year and I was curious to see the quality of the new people attending, there is always the concern that ‘the wrong’ type of people will be there to put a spanner in the works. Happily, the new people all seemed to be Southport regulars and one or two younger clubbers, bringing nothing but positivity to the event. I heard of literally one or two issues from friends who had ‘a few words’ with people who seemed to have an attitude and there was a tiny moment where Mad Mats’ set got some people a little excited on the dance floor (lucky enough some knight in shining armour was there to diffuse the situation immediately). Other than that the people were all wonderful and I am really happy that the event continues to go in the right direction, both for the promoters and the venue owners.

In fact, the only complaints I have for the whole week I was away is that the hotel I stayed in is ridiculously, uncomfortably hot and did put a downer on my night every time I had to go home (Yes it’s the same hotel as last year but it’s not my decision and I only knew where I was staying the day before). So trying to sleep in a sauna and the stones on the beach are too hot. Sort them stones on the beach out guys… stop pissing about ! Oh, and it rained a few spots of water once for about 15 minutes. Sort the fucking rain out !

Respect to Alex and Dave for another of the finest memories of my career, Suncebeat 4 couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Of course, shout to everyone behind the scenes (too many to mention) and finally, again, a special thank you to every person I met that helped put this big smile on my face as my review comes to a close.

I literally had a few tears roll down my cheek yesterday as I wrote a farewell note on Facebook from Split airport.

Love, Wardy.

photo courtesy of Colin Williams

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2 comments

  1. great to write it all down – keeps the memories strong – another great year – beach stage set the standard – Kaos with the sun setting you kerri n jimpster excellent and the farewell rounded it all up nicely – suncebeat is a great vibe met some fantastic people – i know that not everything works perfectly first time (DJ’s included 😉 but keep on keepin on – brought the fam this year and they loved it – I’m sure well be back for more

  2. What can I say about you that hasn’t been said Mr Ward. I love hearing you play, it’s always with such enthusiasm and ‘care’ for your punters, I always feel ‘up’ after. Knew you’d rock the boat, no brainer! Off stage you light up every place you go with that smile and sharp soh, it’s a pleasure to be a part of that world with you. Smart review, on the button and left me smiling again. Thnx for the sipport as always. When I grow up I wanna be like you ha ha Bless u kiddo. TJ

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