So its been a week or so since i got back from the SSW weekender. I considered not writing this for a host of reasons but have decided to jot a few words down.
So it was a bit of a trek and bad traffic and heavy rains didn’t help, what should have been a 5 hour drive to Cumbria took over 7 hours so I didn’t arrive in the best of moods. However I arrived on site pleasantly surprised I didn’t have to queue parked up and found reception. I was greeted by the lovely Caroline and checked in quickly, the staff where very friendly and Caroline informed me she had a room for me on my own. That was nice as I was expecting to share with others who I didn’t know. The room was nice, clean and functional. A quick shower and I headed out to find my bearings with excitement.
All 4 rooms where under the same roof and sign posted well so it didn’t take long to get orientated. However I felt a little lost as I had travelled on my own and didn’t see anyone I knew. It struck that no-one was about. OK its early people will be out soon enough, I always seem to arrive early as I like to watch things build. I wandered a little trying to catch a vibe and adjust to the surroundings. It wasn’t long before I met a familiar face in the form of Paul Lydon, we hadn’t seen each other in years so had a proper catch up. This was shortly followed by Bob Jones and Debs who I also had not seen in some time. Schools turned up too the family are in the house now. Thats it, starting to feel good now, good people and good music this is what I came for.
Great sets from Faze Action and Terry Francis in the Pressure Point (main room) and some good banter with Terry before I headed to the the Shrine room upstairs. the sound was a little harsh on the top end which surprised me as Yogi had mentioned how good the sound was. Saying that some great music was being played. so we found a spot and chatted some more. It was all very laid back and I didn’t really catch a buzz that night mostly through tiredness.
Saturday day I woke up stupid early so just lounged around for a few hours until things opened. The pool party was unfortunately cancelled due to the weather but i wasn’t that bothered. For once I didn’t pay too much attention to who was on we chatted and drank and soaked up some great music. I did find myself using shazam a fair bit throughout the day! It struck me once more how few people where around and some lads mentioned that Saturday night is always much busier. I thought what a shame the venue and music are great it just needed more people. I was determined to hear Fish Go Deep (for the first time live) so when the time arrived I felt gutted for them as unfortunately they played pretty much the entire set to a handful of people. Deep downtempo house grooves perfect for the time and building nicely throughout the set. Spoke to them both and am very excited for their debut at this years Vocal Booth Weekender. Although very quite I will say the people that attended where all brilliantly friendly! Big shout the the guy who shared his bottle of rum with me, I think we did the entire bottle while Fish Go Deep played!
Saturday night was spent in the Shrine room and thank god it was busy! Great sets from Soul Sam, Neil Rushton, Yogi, Bob Jones, Dave Thorley, John Morales and to top it all off Steve Arrington live! Now it felt like a proper weekender. I got word that Joey Negro was unable to get to the gig but to be honest I wasn’t fazed as John Morales held my attention and I felt no need to wander away from that room at any point in the night.
Sunday was more of the same but I feel I am rambling on somewhat. I did stay for the after party and the surprise guest was none other than Ricky (is he any good) Morrison, once again played to a packed room of dancers. I always loved Ricky’s DJ sets and he’s a proper nice guy too.
To cap it all off the SSW has a lot of potential the venue, staff and punters where all brilliant, it just needed more people. Promoting anything these days is hard and there is so much completion, people can’t go to everything all the time. Its easy for me to pick faults but what would that achieve, The work that goes into an event like this is immense and I have to respect anyone that gives it a go, my only hope is that it becomes a success as the hard work and passion deserves it. If you get a chance book up and go any lover of black music should.