Vocal Booth Weekender 2014 – A Huge Success

VB2014 is over. Long Live VB2014.

A contender for the best one yet in many people’s eyes. I tend to agree.

Here are a few ‘unofficial’ thoughts from myself regarding the event.

The amount of emotion pouring out on the Facebook Group is testament to what an amazing social event this has become. Built solely around the solid foundations of unbeatable soul music (house, funk, soul, boogie etc), it has now evolved (in my eyes at least) into something much more. It has become a life-enriching opportunity to share laughter on another level in near exotic surroundings with some of the nicest people you could ever wish to cross paths with.

I lost count of the amount of people who took time out over the week to come and thank me personally for helping to change their lives. I know this sounds a little over the top but to quote a friend that I’ve known for 15+ years (one of the original Vocal Booth sisters from back in 1999)

Previous VBs have passed me by and the comments by everyone after each VB have always made me think – “Ah, come on it cant be that good !!” but after being there this year, I can truthfully say, hand on heart, IT REALLY IS THAT GOOD!!!! I had an awesome time with some great people I already knew and made some new friends along the way !!! Already looking forward to next year when I might have learned to pace myself (who am I kidding) Pass us a bottle of 43 will ya!!!! xxx

Bev Brown

Read more reviews here.

The planning of every event starts as soon as the last one finishes, with a strong idea in my mind of which DJs will return and which new talent I want to introduce to the Family. This year’s line up was the biggest yet in terms of new names, every artist hand-picked for their sound which would work perfectly in the surroundings. Not one DJ gets booked for their “pulling power”. The event sells itself. I’ll put my residents against many headliners and know they’d do just as good a job.

The start of the year, from February, when tickets went on sale, was as hectic as ever. The main hotel was getting booked up at rapid speed for people staying a week or more and tickets were flying out. Then they started to slow down towards the middle of the year and I started to get a little concerned. Regulars were contacting me to give me reasons why they couldn’t attend and I was worried that the many, many other events happening around the UK and abroad were indeed going to have a big impact on the VB. As the months came and went and tickets limped along, I stuck true to my philosophy of full transparency regarding ticket sales and let it be known we were slightly down on numbers. One of my pet hates is promoters falsifying their figures only to be left with egg on their faces when the time of the event comes.

I wondered if it was a wrong move to take so many people to Ibiza with us in the summer, many of whom didn’t come to the main event. It was a very tough run up to VB2014. I had committed myself to a massive budget and it looked doubtful I would be covering costs. No one wants that ! Still, no compromises were made, either in line up, production costs or free gifts. Michelle and I had a long chat and we decided we’d take one on the chin this year. To be honest, there was no other option.

As it turned out, a late flurry of ticket sales meant that, although I’d worked the entire year for next-to-no financial rewards, it all came good in the end with just short of 500 people attending. Normally, I’d be over the moon about that number and as it turns out, it feels like it’s the optimum number attending to maintain that intimate vibe but still be busy enough of a night in the club. Weirdly, despite some MASSIVE artists appearing in the day, the poolside still never seemed THAT busy at any one time !?

One phrase that sprung to mind earlier in the summer at one event I attended was “Quality over Quantity”. Give me a ‘small’ group of people, all with the same vested interest in maintaining a positive vibe for the collective benefit, any day ! A few years ago if you had told me I would be able to bring 500 people to a relatively unknown part of Spain to have the best time of their lives I would have jumped at that chance. On reflection, this year’s event was as close to perfect as it could be and my faith/belief/inspiration for all things VB is right back up there.

The VBW has never been about profit for me but typically the one year I thought I could see something of substance at the end for all the stress I put in turned out to be the biggest emotional reward I could have wished for. That’s more than good enough for me !

Too many highlights to pick one out, too many fantastic DJ sets to mention.

I’m still physically exhausted from over 10 days of chatting, pacing up and down, late nights and early mornings. I didn’t drink so much during the days this year due to having to deal with lots of things but when I did drink, then I DRANK. Sunday Lockdown saw me let off steam in a big way and I paid the price for the rest of the week. I didn’t touch a drop again until Wednesday. My memory of the main weekend is somewhat of a blur, I know I had a good time and enjoyed some downtime with friends and DJs alike, I just don’t recall much of it.

There was a lot of drama in the background with the local authority this year and sound complaints. Although people had said I seemed the most relaxed this year, really I had more nonsense to deal with than ever. I definitely couldn’t have coped if it wasn’t for the help of Phil Gill and his amazing dedication to the sound, last one to turn off at night, first one to fire up the DJ to begin the day. Also, Dave Tait handled the registration perfectly alongside José helping to keep an eye on the door. As well, of course, as the staff of both the Montepiedra and Club Xairo for their friendly nature and attitude-free service. A new decoration company pulled out ALL the stops to transform all areas, including a lovely new Pressure Cooker. I had a lot more help this year from Michelle, Drew and Mikey which made it feel even MORE like a Family affair. The majority of DJ pick-ups were handled by Julie & Warwick at Flamenca this year making life A LOT easier, alongside Paul Groove who got to enjoy much more of the event this year with less of a workload.

Everything just came together to make it close to perfect for almost everyone. People are already booking time off work for next year and I know that many of those that couldn’t make it this year will be back in 2015.

As new events come and go around the world, then of course people want to try new things. I rest easy in the fact, now, that TRUE VB Family remain so for life and will always be here with us every September. That is why the event began and that’s why it will continue, of this I have no doubts ! Every year is a learning curve and I am already way too excited for next year as there are a couple of new elements to throw into the mix. I should be resting… no chance of that !

Take a look at my own photos from the event here.

The Catamaran Party on the final day went just as I had planned, with 96 people enjoying a very civilised stroll around the narrow streets of Cartagena before boarding a fantastic vessel for 5 hours. BIG plans are already under way for VB2015 which will incorporate… actually, I’ll leave it at that for now.

I have a debrief with the Hotel & Club this week and will be releasing an official “Thank You” newsletter afterwards.

I still feel very muddy as I finish this, the grey clouds and thunderstorms building above me as I type bring on, finally, some respite from one of the hottest summers I recall here. These are the rains we expected before VB. They won’t last long.

*Edit – By the time I have finished this, the rains have passed and the sun is burning through the clouds once more*

Normal life resumes. Well, as normal as my life ever is.

Please remember if you aren’t already, subscribe to the VB Mailing list. I have a feeling next year I might not have to be worried about the numbers attending !

Vocal Booth Weekender 2015 takes place from Friday 11th until Monday 14th September, with un-missable ‘add ons’ right through until Friday 18th September.

Enjoy that ?

2 Comments

  1. Nice summary. It can’t be easy to organise this kind of event but it seems that everyone really appreciates your dedication to the cause. Keep up the good work my friend x

  2. Yet another fantastic weekend, the minute we open the doors of the Monte, the fun begins. Loved the music on Thursday night, a wee bit different and got me dancing sober ! Love spending time with old friends and new and always feel so welcome. I’m under no illusion that putting this weekender together is easy so huge thanks to the Ward Family. Roll on 2015. X

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