Prestatyn Weekender, March 2004
Another year has
passed, and the Weekender season has started, so off to a cold
and windy Welsh coast we went for the Prestatyn weekender. As
usual, we arrived on the Thursday afternoon just after four, to
bump into Rob Wigley whose first words were “The pub’s open at
Eight Dave”, I think he must have the wrong idea about a good
church going man like myself.
Fast forward four
hours, and I’m in the pub with Margie, sitting with Roger and
Jenny Banks. I’m convinced it was colder in the chalet than it
was outside. The Thursday is a great idea because it gives all
the record dealers and DJs a chance to socialise that we don’t
always get when at venues. It’s also a great chance to meet the
artists for the first time, and although I didn’t see Baby
Washington, I was privileged enough to be introduced to Melvin
Davies, Cody Black, and James Bell before I even got to the pub.
Highlight of the evening had to be for Eddy Edmundson who
managed to play Cody Black’s ‘I’m Slowly Molding’ on the stroke
of midnight, which heralded Cody Black’s 65th
Birthday. How nice for the guy, to be that far from home on your
Birthday, and have a crowd of people who you’ve never met before
singing Happy Birthday to you. The Kidson’s, already famous for
being late everywhere they go, excelled themselves by arriving
after 11 pm, having one drink and then going to bed.
little subtle rearrangement of tables meant that I ended up with
a decent sized sales table, rather than the minute one that had
originally been set up for me. Then it was back to the pub where
the Soul-Seek internet group set up home and tried to demolish
the dartboard all in one fell swoop. Various Text messages
between John Mills and myself eventually worked out that he was
sitting on one service station on the motorway waiting for John
Weston, who was sitting on another service station waiting for
him ! Several pints later and the sales stuff arrived courtesy
of Sarah and Mark from Bilston. Once I’d got this sorted it was
back to the shed, sorry chalet, for something to eat.
knew that the numbers booked in were around the 2,800 mark for
the Friday and rising to 3,200 for the Saturday, but it really
is amazing how much this venue lends itself to a weekender.
There were five rooms on the go all weekend, (six if you include
the 31 record dealers who had booked stalls) and although each
room was very busy (The Oldies allnighters were absolutely
rammed both nights), nowhere was overly full. The music from the
DJs though was a lot better this year and my only complaint is
that some tracks, despite being rare records, were repeated
several times, The Vondells being a particular example (and no,
I didn’t play it again !).
despite being rather drunk, as usual on the Friday at
weekenders, John Weston was remarkably well behaved which was
most disappointing because it’s now become a tradition that his
drunken escapades are part of the entertainment at weekenders. I
DJ’ed at 5.30 am, and went to bed shortly after 6.30 am, poor
Mick H, who jokingly asked “What did you do to upset Kev Thomas
then” about the DJ times, had to continue until 8.00 am.
Started the day with the Banks and Bicknell radio show, and was
amused by Roger Banks finally managing to tape Rob Messer, the
next DJ, to his chair at the end of their show. The same as last
year, the Saturday afternoon was given over to a series of DJs
from various local Soul clubs. I know the first one was Junction
11 from the Midlands, but after that I lost track. Not that I’m
being critical, the music was probably more varied during the
afternoon than during the previous allnighter.
I also heard one
of the funniest stories of the weekender on the Saturday though.
Someone who shall remain nameless, being a little worried about
taking his credit card and bank cards out with him on the Friday
night decided to hide them in his chalet. After a quick look
round for the best place to hide them he decided to slide them
underneath the wardrobe in the living room. Both his and his
wife’s cards disappeared from site, safely hidden away. Saturday
morning arrived, and it was time to retrieve the cards.
Unfortunately, the lightweight wardrobe which would have been
easily tipped to one side to get the cards back, was bolted to
the wall, and wouldn’t move an inch ! Three quarters of an hour
later, spent on hands and knees with a straightened out
coathanger, eventually all the cards were reclaimed, along with
a large amount of dust, fluff, and several unrecognisable, but
nasty, things !!!!
Scheduled for a 7.30 start, the soundcheck for the live artists
continued until at least 8.30, so whilst I managed to get in
early as a record dealer, and see and hear the soundcheck, the
bar wasn’t open, so when it did open there was a rush like
you’ve never seen before. You’d think it was an alcoholic’s
weekender rather than a Soul weekender ! Sales were steady
throughout the weekend this year, far better than last year in
fact, and the extra people who could only make it for the
Saturday had increased the numbers considerably. This was the
big night, with the live show scheduled to start at 11.30 pm.
Compared by Rob
Moss of Haley Records, almost on time, Melvin Davies took to the
stage. Now Melvin had been out and about, mingling with people
all weekend, and he had a good idea of what was expected, and he
didn’t disappoint either. A showman to the end, he hit the stage
running and for my money took the entire show. Singing, dancing,
singing with his son, dancing, thoroughly enjoying himself right
through the whole twenty minutes or so of his act. Awesome.
Cody Black next.
Although not as energetic as Melvin, Cody Black proved that he
can still cut it as a sixty five year old. Who would have ever
thought that I would have heard ‘I’m Slowly Molding’ live !
despite having already been over to perform at Cleethorpes, was
the least successful act. Perhaps a lack of material, (let’s
face it after ‘Come See, and ‘Lend a Hand’ what has he got left)
or even a lack of rehearsal time, but although he was good, he
was nowhere near the standard of Melvin and Cody.
Finally, it was
time for Justine ‘Baby’ Washington. I, like many others, felt
that she was a little overawed by the sheer size and enthusiasm
of the crowd. It must have been a little bit of a shock to find
that many people singing along with all her songs. That said,
she went from strength to strength, and showed what a truly
amazing repertoire of songs that she can draw on. A great show,
that proved she can still sing with Soul along with the best of
As a finale, all
the artists came back on stage and sang together, and it was a
fitting end to a spectacular show. I must also add my
congratulations to the band at this point. Throughout the hour
and a half they played behind each artist they were superb.
Tight and professional all they way.
I have to admit
that Prestatyn, with the idea of all the artists following each
other straight on stage, harking back to the old idea of package
tours have got it just right. Each artist does enough to hold
everyone’s attention, and to be able to give their best, and
then it moves onto the next artist thus holding your interest
for the whole show. Well done to everyone involved.
Usually, by this
time on a Saturday night things start to become a bit of a blur,
this year was no exception so I headed off to the chalet around
Time to chill and chat, have a few beers and relax as people
spend what money they have got left. And that’s basically how it
went. A little different this year because the music was
scheduled to go right through from lunchtime to the night
without a break. In honesty I couldn’t tell you who the DJs were
because I paid very little attention.
early start for me this year, because I was doing an R & B spot
in the Redemption room between 6 pm and 7 pm. Always a bit of a
challenge for me because although I love good R & B, I’m not
strictly an R & B DJ. So, taking to the decks following the
Hideaway guys was a little intimidating……….Being the shy
introvert that I am, I soon got the hang of it, and ended up
with a full dancefloor. From there it was into the pub for an
hour of the Connoisseurs night from Mick H and Tim Brown. I left
as Carl Willingham came on to go through to the main hall with
As we wandered in
we bumped into Sarh and Mark, so managed to find a table and sit
for an hour or so. Then at10 pm, chaos loomed, I was paired up
with Roger Banks for an hour of mayhem behind the decks. Last
year Roger and I did a similar spot and decided an hour’s R & B
would fit nicely into the Sunday night party. It was a bit of a
gamble, but it worked well. So well in fact that this year we
were told to “play what you want, there will be enough people
playing oldies after you’ve been on.”
So we did. Within
minutes of us starting Dave Leedham had abandoned ship after
taking a few photos muttering “I’ve had enough of this
madhouse”. Perhaps the reference to ships needs a little
explaining…….Steve C and Disco Dave Abbott, within minutes of us
arriving presented us both with a pirate Skull and Crossbones
bandana, so we could join their Pirates party. John Mills kindly
brought more beer, and on it went. We did the full range of
sounds, rarities, R & B, uptempo, midtempo, and finished off
with some soulful Beat Ballads. All of which were received with
a full dancefloor. I really enjoyed doing this spot because it
was one where both Roger and I were given free reign to play
what we wanted, and it’s so pleasing when the people on the
dancefloor also like the songs we were playing.
I’m afraid the
evening just descended into drunken mayhem after this due to the
now traditional introduction of Pontin’s pounds meaning free
beer. By 1.30am though, I’d had enough, I’d also totally lost my
voice (Again) so it was off to bed, another weekender over.
I have to say,
this was another example of superb organisation that led to a
well run, extremely successful weekender. Before we left the
site on the Monday morning, ALL the Club class accommodation had
gone for next year, and the queue to book for next year was
almost to the door. Get your bookings in now folks, or you’ll
miss out next year, because by the end of March there were
almost 2000 bookings.