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Prestatyn Northern and Modern Soul Weekender


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John Poole
   (2 reviews)

Prestatyn Northern and Modern Soul Weekender on     

Event Information







THURSDAY TO SUNDAY MARCH 3rd, 4, 5 6th 2016




plus MODERN ACT ( to be announced) and SNAKE DAVIS & THE SUSPICIONS

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   3 of 3 members say helpful 3 / 3 members

I'm having to write this quickly whilst the details are still clear in my head and I'm on my break, sorry for any repetition/major omissions, feel free to message me if you want to know any more details.

This was our visit number 2, in as many years, so there's not a great deal of personal history to compare it with so I accept my views may not hold much water, compared with the longer term attendees.

Profile I've been collecting soul records for nearly 30 years you probably know my type, verging on obsessive about soul music, always on the look out for new discoveries. My partner is only around 3 years into her own journey into our music and is therefore only just getting to grips with some of the 'Top 500' and the wider Motown circle outside of the label's chart hits. I mention our profile as a couple in that we have vastly different musical backgrounds here, as I think it's an important aspect, which will influence my comments on the 'music (and the different rooms)', below.

Attendance and fellow guests As the earlier reviewer, 'Winsford Soul' alluded to, it was quieter than last year in all of the rooms. Still there was more than enough people to ensure a great atmosphere each day, throughout the site, with that feeling of 'togetherness' definitely evident. We met a lot of friendly people who were there to have a good time and enjoy the music they love. We noticed a slightly higher percentage of people seemingly under 30 this year, it's good to see an event encouraging all ages to attend.

Venue(s) and accommodation Location is good, not too far off being mid way down the UK and just off the A55, the town centre is nearby (walking distance for most under 80s) and has decent shopping facilities etc. The site feels secure and safe. Much has been said on social media about the accommodation. However, we didn't see a problem and were happy with it: good size, clean, the chalet retained heat OKish all of the fittings worked perfectly. Having an oven, microwave and fridge, allowed us to store eat and drink what we wanted without any problems. The TV has a radio station playing soul music and related discussions throughout the weekend, it included Richard and Kev, so was a fine entertainment option in itself. Bedding and loose equipment: it's a case of bring/hire it. It's not too difficult to pack a quilt, pillows, hairdryer and iron in the car boot and if you're coming by train, then these items, can be borrowed/bought on site. The site has a good oval layout with lots of hard paved walkways and you never seem to be too far from where you want to be. Some of the walkways were flooded on the Thursday, but the weather was astonishingly bad on the first night and Pontins can't be blamed for not issuing a storm warning! There's an on site shop which seemed well-stocked with what you could reasonably expect. We opted for self catering and didn't use the dining area, but it  looked large and clean. The main building complex was clean and tidy, and well signed. There were a good number of staff, in all areas.

Music (and the different rooms) We spent time in all of the rooms and enjoyed them all immensely. The calibre of the DJs is world class. Obviously not all of the greatest soul DJs on the planet can be accommodated within the one weekender. For me, however those who were there, would qualify as being a collective of soul DJs equivalent to what the current Barcelona squad is to club football.

The sound systems, acoustics, lighting and interior decor of all rooms were very good. However, the tiered seating at the back of the main room has been altered for this year and it's now an unusual arrangement of painted ply screens with small tables and chairs behind them. I think that the new layout of that previously tiered seating area encourages people to stand behind occupied tables, within a space that's not really big enough. Pontins have to cater for family holidays of course and there'll always have to be some compromises I guess, when transforming their family holiday venue, into a mostly adult, weekender venue.

Due to the relatively advanced stage I'm at with my record listening and collecting, I tended towards Redemption (for us, as well as the incredible music to be heard in there, the interior decor and dim lighting combination is outstandingly good, in helping create mood) and House of Soul. I am certain those two rooms can't be bettered anywhere, ever. Every session I attended in both of them was unsurpassed, every DJ I listened to absolutely nailed it. To give you one example, Butch played both rooms, enough said.

I think one of the big pluses of the Prestatyn venue is that opportunity for Acts/DJs and guests to interact (if convenient) at times. We were delighted to be able to meet the star act, the Volcanos this year and they spoke with us and signed my 45s that I'd brought along, it's a bonus for those who wish to, to be able to talk with the act(s) and take photos, without being pressured along by staff. It was also possible to be able to chat with some of the DJs after their sets. It's of course important to some people, to say hello again to somebody they know and thank them / gain some further musical education from them. The main room and modern rooms are necessarily larger and therefore the DJs remote, therefore such conversations aren't  convenient. However it was good to see may of the DJs out and about over the weekend in the central complex. The overall approach by the organisers is to make the weekender as interactive as reasonably possible, which has to be highly praised - they're champions of our music and of course many people naturally like to express appreciation.

As my partner is still only a few years into soul music, I ensured that we spent time in all of the other rooms so that she could feel more connected, by virtue of hearing records that she knew. Outside of my own personal favourites of House of Soul and Redemption, I was also very satisfied with all of the music I heard in the main room, the Queen Vic (pub with small dance floor) and the modern room. For example, when we arrived on the Thursday, we were welcomed by a superb Eddy Edmondson set in the modern room, a great way to start our weekend. Throughout the weekend no room/no DJ was any less than excellent.

In summary We made a lot of good memories and have each heard a wealth of new records, the education side very important to both us, was fantastic. For example, one of Butch's plays, which although a 60s record, was brand new to me and it felt like the greatest 60s record I'd ever heard. Due to the interactive setting mentioned earlier, I had the opportunity to thank him for that during a brief conversation. Also, I was able to have a particularly great conversation with Sean and Kev at the end of a HoS session. To me, Improving my knowledge is equally important to hearing records I already love, Prestatyn delivered brilliantly on that score. It's evident that a great deal of consideration, planning and musical expertise goes into this weekender. We've booked for next year and once 2017 arrives, we'll be counting down the weeks again.

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Winsford Soul

   3 of 4 members say helpful 3 / 4 members

Has Prestatyn lost the magic ? Well with only attending Saturday night this year I can honestly say that the Volcanoes where up there with the best groups that I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. Simply Awesome. They played a Volcanoes set then disappeared only to return as the Tramps but with a twist, they sung a Philly based set. With the highlight being covering Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes. Get Out. Oh my god the hair on the back of my neck, what a buzz. You had to be there. 

Back to has it lost its magic. Numbers were considerably down, arriving at 8.30 pm not even a que at the gate to get in, very unusual. Even managed to park outside the queen Vic, again very unusual. Walking in the Vic, not challenged for wristbands and possibly 40 people in. Got a drink wondered through to the modern room I would say 3/4 empty was surprised. Went through the arcade area to be greeted by the record bar resembling a clothes market, with all the record dealers in a small square of tables in the middle part. I don't know either. Main room was busy ish. Said loads of hello,s to people. Went up to the redemption and house of soul room's where I spent most of the time. . It's brilliant having the two rooms together like that.

Myself and lots of people who I spoke to are questioning the life expectancy of Prestatyn after looking at the numbers in at the weekend. I've only missed two since the very first one by the way and apart from the first two have as I'm aware been sell outs.

What do people think on here ?


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