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6 arenas, tremendous DJ line up, incredible venue

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   1 of 1 member say helpful 1 / 1 member

This was my first visit to the Blackpool Soul Festival and to my surprise I was most impressed. The Winter Gardens has had a facelift since my last visit several years ago. The staff including security were polite and helpful, what you expect but don't always get.

There were rooms for almost all tastes in soul music and to my shame I must admit I didn't go into all of them. I missed out on the Modern Soul rooms, must correct that next year. As usual I did spend quite a lot of time in the Olympia room where rarer Northern sounds were played. Some superb sets: Butch, Mick H, Keith Money, you get the picture.

On arrival our first calling point was the Gillows Bar where Crossover was played. We did pop back in there from time to time over the weekend but it was hard to get a seat.

We did spend time in the Pavilion where there was a Twisted Wheel set on Saturday afternoon.

The Empress Ballroom was the arena for classic Northern Soul and the live acts. We saw Patti Austin on Saturday night. She was good, still had her voice and did quite a long show. I'd forgotten some of the songs she sang, nice to be reminded of them. Last thing Sunday we went in there to see friends. I watched an extremely busy dance floor, I didn't dare venture out there.

There were a lot of stalls selling memorabilia and clothes. One guy asked my opinion of his new baggy trousers he was trying on in the gents toilet. I admitted I wasn't keen on them but each to their own.

I was told that 5,000 attended but the number of rooms dispersed the crowds and I never felt at all claustrophobic.

The music was very enjoyable but perhaps the nicest part of the weekend was seeing people I'd not seen for years: Eddy and Shirley Edmondson, Tony and Sheena Patchett, Kev and Olwen Dempsey, Dave and Sue, Chris and Steve, and many more, plus meeting some of Sandy's Twisted Wheel friends who made me most welcome.

To be honest I was a bit tired after Cleethorpes and need time to get over it, you don't recover so quick these days but hopefully will be going back next year.

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