Southport Weekender – The End of an Era. My Report

I got back home late last night after 4 long days in the UK.

I got to see my 3 brothers and my mom Thursday night before visiting my dad’s grave on Friday and heading down to Minehead with 3 of my good buddies early afternoon.

We arrived, got to our chalet (the first time I’d stayed on site since I can remember !) and got straight down to business by going to see Schooly playing in the pub, catching his last 30 minutes.

From the moment I reached to the moment I left, I danced, laughed, chatted and enjoyed great company. This event wasn’t so much about the music for me. I had a few moments where I was lost in song but really it was all about the company I kept.

I met so many close friends and many people I’ve rubbed shoulders with on a floor at some point or another. Scores of people told me how much they were excited about the forthcoming Vocal Booth Weekender as well as many saying some rather nice words about my productions, my DJing and quite a few giving me praise for the words I share here from time to time. Believe it or not as much as everyone loves their egos being stroked, I find it uncomfortable taking compliments. I’m better at taking chips off people ! If you are one of the many I met this weekend, I give, as always, heartfelt thanks for the inspiration. “This thing” is a two-way street and we all take benefit from being with like-minded people who want the best for ourselves and those around us.

So my review is really less of a review but more of a summary.

Mainly because the weekend blended into one big binge. I lived on a diet of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, beer, vodka shots (because it took so f*cking long to get served by the time I got someone’s attention I need a ‘livener’ to get me back into the swing of things). Oh, and Rennie. I did try to push a few Rennie on people. I may have found a sideline.

Music was on point all weekend. I’d be lying if I said any one DJ blew me away. That’s not meant to be as miserable as it sounds, I’m just being honest. The music was great, there’s no questioning that !

*edit – After reading this back, I almost deleted those words. I did hear some great sets, I just don’t like singling people out, mainly because I’m a raging alcoholic and can only remember 20% of them.

Again, not taking anything away from the incredible times I saw 99% of the people having around me, I wouldn’t be doing myself a justice if I didn’t comment on how ‘thin on the ground’ it seemed at times over the weekend. You probably won’t get that from the photos and videos. Maybe you can ? I can’t even start to imagine the stress and financial woes an event of that scale must put on one’s shoulders so to see the guys go out with their heads held high is very reassuring. Every DJ and live artist was there to represent as promised.

I didn’t have a AAA (access all areas) pass so didn’t get a chance to speak to a lot of the Transatlantic DJs but the UK contingent that totally delivered this weekend were in full force, as always, with their crews on the floor enjoying the times with the rest of us paupers.

I’m trying to piece together some other things of note…

I was shocked, embarrassed even, when a few people introduced themselves to me as VB Family that I didn’t remember meeting before, I truly hate it when that happens but I was happy to get to know a few more of you a little better this time around and also proud of just how many people went out their way to make the effort to express their excitement for September.

I enjoyed some hysterical moments with one or two various crews and my wing-man (who shall remain nameless for obvious reasons) was the prize Jester as always. I love that man.

3pm, walking to the action:

Me: I’m starving, you having some breakfast with me ?
Him: I’ve already eaten
Me: What ?
Him: A Pill.

Sunday afternoon saw a very emotional Finale in the Powerhouse followed by some catching up with my Dutch friends (thanks for the pizza). I had a quick ‘fresh’ before heading out again for the after-parties but I really was exhausted so bailed early and was asleep by midnight. I’m glad of that although I heard Black Coffee played one of the sets of the weekend, typical ! By the way, Johnny Miller played some bad ass tunes to open that South Africa Sessions.

A few beers Monday afternoon before leaving the site and I flew back from Bristol and was home, sweet home by 10.30pm. There’s no place like it.

I am so happy that I was there to send the old girl off with a bang. I hadn’t intended on going until I heard it was the last one. I HAD to be there.

I did a couple of live radio mixes from Southport Weekender long before I could have ever imagined gracing the stage as a guest DJ.

I was eventually fortunate enough to play SPW 5 times officially.

The first time I was booked to play was in 2003. I almost threw up with nerves as I warmed up for MAW on the Powerhouse stage. An all-vinyl set playing on decks supported on bungee ropes. I was shitting myself. I got through it. The next time I was a lot more relaxed, warming up for Joe Clausell, again on the Powerhouse stage. The first time they introduced the Suncebeat Dome to the new Minehead site I got to play in there. It was a different vibe that first year. I then did a couple of sets again the following year. Every set I remember with pride. Just daydreaming about it… how honoured I am !

You can find two of the live recordings here: (right click to save on PC or ctrl click to save on Macs)

Andy Ward – Southport Weekender 33. Warm up set for MAW.

Andy Ward – Southport Weekender 46  Warm up set for Joe Clausell.

Too many of us have so much to thank SPW for. Words will never come close to expressing my gratitude and most of it has already been said time and time again on Facebook, so I’ll just have a giggle and neck this Rennie in Dave & Alex’s honour.

It’s been emotional.

Enjoy that ?

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