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Vocal Booth Weekender 2019 – My Review

It’s Thursday 5th September and I’m in a relatively happy and calm state of mind. The incessant barrage of lazy questions has slowed down for a while (people replying to emails I sent them, telling them why they couldn’t download tickets with “Hey, I can’t download my ticket, any idea why?”)

I recently had the programmes delivered and realised that I’d positioned the timetable on the wrong pages AGAIN (wouldn’t matter to many but it annoyed the fuck out of me, especially as I did it last year too). I then noticed that a couple of pages were blurred on every copy… a little quick thinking, a revised PDF file and I was getting a full refund and another 750 programmes re-printed. Here’s hoping they turn up in time.

The run up to this year’s event has been a smooth one and the last few weeks have caught me off guard, with tickets selling on a daily basis so that now we are likely to be over the 700 mark of people attending and I only ordered 700 wristbands and lanyards as there was no way I thought we’d have that many coming… BALLS! Oh well, I can think of bigger troubles to have.

There’s so much to look forward to this year. I am not worried at all in the increase in numbers, I reckon we’ll barely notice but I do think it’s going to be a tad crammed in the Pressure Cooker at times as well as over the road in Shanctuary. The excitement on the Facebook page is evident and I have to stop myself from posting comments or memes every 5 minutes because I piss myself off, let alone anyone else but there’s just so much to say.

I wanted to begin this blog before the event to document my thoughts and the preparation but in hindsight I should have done this once a month, saved it as draft and then I would have lots more content. As it is, I’ve sat at my desk and my mind has gone blank. Anyway… People start arriving on Sunday and we start dressing the hotel on Tuesday, I may have a few more words before I write my review… let’s see.

Monday 9th September

Today was a big day for several reasons. First of all, it was the day Mikey left home; He and I made the 40 minute drive to his new student flat in Murcia Centre. He is studying Pharmacy for the next five years so I enjoyed the day with him, getting him all his basics and hearing about his plans and dreams. It was also the day I had to stop ticket sales, with us finally hitting 700 people attending. It would be all too easy to keep selling and I’m sure we’ve got the space… but we’ve ran out of wristbands and lanyards and the two smaller ‘venues’ (Pressure Cooker and Shanctuary) are already going to have way too many people wanting to get in, so it’s best not to get greedy and to stick with what we’ve got. Time will tell if 700 is just right or a handful too many.

Having too many people is the last of our concerns at the moment as I look at the weather reports for the next 7 days. There is a huge storm set to hit this part of Spain which is a right pain in the ass for us, as far as planning goes. We’re not sure how to decorate the pool area now due to high winds and are even considering re-locating the DJ booth altogether. There are a couple of contingency plans we can call into effect but as the weather changes like… well, like the weather here it’s impossible to really know what the plan is from one hour to the next. I’m upset for the people who were looking forward to a few glorious days in the sunshine but, as I’ve said before many times, the weather is the one thing I definitely have zero control over. We’ll deal with it.

Tuesday 10th

Waking up between 4 and 5am every day, the week of the event, is not the best for my health and sanity but it’s just the way it’s always been. First thing I did was check the weather and whilst I really don’t want to jinx anything I can’t help but think we may have dodged a bullet with the severe weather warnings. Despite it looking suspect for the rest of this week, depending on which forecast you look at the bad weather is only happening through the early hours of the night and with the measures we have in place to protect the equipment from the elements we SHOULD be ok. Let’s see. I think the weather issue has already made me realise that the DJ Booth poolside could have been a little better the last few years anyway by being further back under the pergola and the speakers underneath as well… we’ll see how that pans out. We have many options.

Myself and Michelle spent over 4 hours putting the membership cards into envelopes, making sure they were all in correct alphabetical order and stickers on the front of each one. Joking aside I have sprained my hand doing it. I needed just the one small beer by the end of the day, it was a long one!

Wednesday 11th

The speakers arrive today along with their ‘Daddy’, The Gillman. My plans are to start taking up all the free gifts from home, the programmes, the Pressure Cooker Sound System, the banners and lights etc etc. Then off to Alicante to pick up a MiniBus I’ve hired before heading home to save my voice and sanity. I’ve mentioned sanity twice now because it’s around this time I have the most mood swings. Sheer joy at the amount of tickets we’ve sold, overwhelmed with excitement at the prospect of catching up with so many of my friends. All that changes in an instant when I get a Whatsapp from someone asking if they can “Just get a ticket for their best friend who’s forgot to get one and already has their flight booked” or “Just a quick one, know anywhere I can buy hair straighteners” or “Sorry, do you know anyone arriving on Friday morning I can share a cab with?” I totally get that it’s my job to be as helpful as possible but spending 5 months reminding people of things regularly really doesn’t seem to work for some people. As I type this though I am reminded of how many people DO read and pay attention and there goes another change in emotion, from angry to grateful, lol. I am sure I covered these mood swings in the book and I know that, mostly when I do my reviews of the event, I am writing them afterwards and generally tend to delete this whole section of my complaining. Not this time, you bastards 🙂 Anyway, writing this at precisely 4:09am. Time to sit here for 3 hours scrolling FB for absolutely no reason and stare at the DJ pick up times again for the 1000th time.

Thursday 12th

Yesterday was spent moving all my kit from home and meeting one or two of the Fam who get here early. Wow Deco arrived and started prep for hanging their amazing artworks, as did the speakers all safe and sound. Too much happens throughout the day to go through it all but there were no hiccups and a few spots of rain was all we saw. On the evening I collected a MiniBus I’d hired with Suella and was in bed for 10.30pm. Waking up at 5.45am feels like a Sunday lie in today. Heaven! Looking at the weather reports and by the relatively mild flooding by my house, I guess that the predicted awful storms (in this area at least) were not as bad as feared so we more than likely dodged a bullet. That said, the weather still looks intermittent for the rest of the day so we are kicking off the pre-party downstairs in Shanctuary instead today. And so it begins… a world of people arrive this morning and we’ve got speakers to connect.

Thursday 19th Sept

It’s taken a week for me to get back to this and I’m sure that by now most will understand why. VB2019 came and went in the blink of an eye and has been one of the most challenging ever, which in turn has made it the best ever for many.

After finishing my early morning Blog on the Thursday, I headed to The Monte and spent the morning trying to rectify a useless job that the hotel had done in waterproofing the pergolas (wooden area where the DJ usually goes). I was absolutely furious with management, seeing as I had forewarned them months ago to make sure the thing was done, CORRECTLY and ON TIME. Steady rain through the night had pooled on top and looked like pulling the whole structure down. In hindsight it’s actually comical how much time, money and effort many of us wasted that morning, running around sourcing materials for a fix. I then had an airport run before getting back in time for registration and the opening DJs at the pre-party. The rest of the evening is a bit of a blur as I rushed around greeting people, checking how the sound and decor instal was going inside the big club (Shairo) and making sure Pressure Cooker was all set to go on Friday. Bad weather reports meant we were on hold with doing anything round the pool and had to think long and hard about our options should the rain still be bad for Friday daytime. No one was really prepared for what happened next.

VB2019 – FULL SUMMARY

So much has happened over the course of the last ten days that I really don’t want to revisit it here. This is a lot shorter than it usually would be.

The same as always, the outpouring of emotions and love for the event are taking over FB and VB Family are already making plans to be together again ASAP. Some of the world’s most loved and respected DJs have expressed how blown away they are by the whole event and the people that attended, high praise indeed. The video I rushed together is a small part of a much bigger story surrounding this year’s event, there is so much that had to go on in the background that people still have no idea about and one of the reasons that I really didn’t get to enjoy the biggest week of my year the way I normally do. There were some great moments for myself, yes, however I can’t help but feel disappointed at how many of the amazing sets I missed that I was really looking forward to hearing. I am happy that I had pre-booked dinner most nights and got to spend a little quality time with many of the headliners but I also neglected a lot of VB regulars due to everything going on around me.

A whole heap of positives have been taken from this year’s experience and given food for thought on how we proceed for VB2020. I’m pissed off that this is all I can muster for now by means of a review… I think I definitely need to write more, possibly in the next newsletter.

Thanks for reading.

Enjoy that ?

2 Comments

  1. Incredible Andy, I missed most of this as I am not on Facebook anymore. Amazing work and glad everyone was safe. VB!!!!!! xxxxx

  2. Andy & Michelle – I’ve been watching all of this from afar in the UK and I’m absolutely astounded at what has happened. But, what’s more astonishing is the way everyone has united in supporting the whole event. There was no way that VB wasn’t going to take place and despite rain, wind, floods and someone up there turning the other cheek, the magic won. ‘Well done’ and ‘thanks’ are small words to express the emotion and love that shone through. What a week to remember!
    Jan

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