For over 25 years, Southport Weekender has been held in both Southport itself and Minehead but it finally reached London for a one magical day in June.
The line- up was a plethora of UK and USA soul, house, funk, garage, disco producers, artistes and DJs, over 50 in fact, who brought the live music experience to inspire us all.
DJ Andy Davies and Terry Jones kicked off the VIP area – a gentle mix of old soul which included some rare Marvin Gaye and with a packed schedule it made sense to get your bearings, locate as many arenas as possible to make sure you didn’t miss anthing.
In the Mi-Soul arena, Brian Power blasted out some uplifting house. David Bailey played some soulful house in Deep into Soul arena. Feelings DJs in Suncebeat arena had some deep electro funk sounds setting the pace. Barry Allen played some progressive house in The Sounds of Detroit Arena which set the soulful mood for Amp Fiddlers 1.5 hour set, who walked through the crowd like a boss. One of the artists of the day his set was refreshing and not only featured his original tracks but was in honour of artistes whom he has respect for. He even freestyled with a synth! His vocal range was impeccable, including an impressive comfortable falsetto that brought Prince to mind. Even though it was a risk singing a Luther Vandross vocal track, he sang Glow of Love by Change like he’d sang the original. His soulful sounds included So Sweet (Louie Vega mix), It’s Alright (Waajeed Remixes) and Superficial (soulful house remix).
Deep into Soul arena was at maximum capacity when Rhemi (DJs Neil Pierce and Ziggy Funk) and HanLei played their sets. The latter sang a funky house mix of soul classic – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Keep Dancing and their debut hit, Diamonds. Paul Trouble Anderson turned up the heat with a soulful, uplifting house set.
The Powerhouse arena had audio visual displays and was busy just before Tony Humphries set which included progressive and afro house. Roger Sanchez B2B with David Morales turned up the energy playing some New York deep vocal house, including ‘90s’s Ibiza classics like Sandy B – Make The World Go and Barbara Tucker – Most Precious Love.
Julie McKnight started her live PA with a perfect acapella as her backing recordings hadn’t been set up, thankfully Kerri Chandler was on hand to load up a mix of her soulful uplifting house tracks which included Diamond Life and Finally (with Kings of Tomorrow).
In the Funkbase Arena, DJ Jazzy Jeff played East Coast hip-hop classics like LL Cool J – Doing It; A Tribe Called Quest – Check The Rhime and Jacksons 5 – I Want You Back.
The Mi-Soul arena was overspilling from the outset and ended with a classic Mi-Soul party anthems such as; Astro Trax Team ft. Shola Phillips – The Energy; Shaun Escoffery – Days Like This; Dennis Ferrer – How Do I let Go?
Considering it was Southport Weekenders first festival in London, they did very well. The queues weren’t long, the security were mindful, bar staff were polite, the artistes were true music lovers and the attendees were full of love regardless of age. I am looking forward to another Southport Weekender Festival at Finsbury Park in London 2018!