Weekender to bring some soul to resort

Dee Dee Sharp  to appear at Blackpool's 1st International Soul Festival
Dee Dee Sharp to appear at Blackpool's 1st International Soul Festival
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A new celebration of soul is being planned for Blackpool next year.

The First Blackpool International Soul Festival promises to be a weekend to remember, as DJ Richard Searling plans a six room, 6,000 capacity ‘amazing’ event.

Early bird £30 tickets are already on sale for the three-day event from Friday to Sunday, June 17 to 19, 2016 at the Winter Gardens, with prices rising to £40 in the new year.

Richard said: “It’s something we’ve always wanted to try at the Winter Gardens.

“They’ve established the successful punk festival there and we want to capitalise on that possibility.

“We think that there’s enough time and with the right DJs and live acts already on the bill, as well as the right price, that we can make this a sizable attendance and build it up into a major annual date.”

Hotel packages are being developed for the weekend too, with details to be 
confirmed.

Classic ‘commercial’ soul will take over the Empress Ballroom, and speciality DJs are pulling together the line-ups in the other venues – cutting edge in the Spanish Hall, Mod in the Baronial suite, ‘luxury modern soul’ in the Renaissance room and dance and jazz in the Arena, as well as 60s and 70s ‘connoisseurs’ line-up in the Theatre Bar.

“With all this planned, we really hope to celebrate the great Northern Soul venues that Blackpool, and beyond, has,” Richard added.

“The live acts, the iconic venue and the awesome DJ line ups make this pretty 
special.

“And more DJs will be announced as we get closer to the event.”

Appearing ‘live and direct from the States’ will be Bettye Lavette, Dee Dee Sharp, Bobby Hutton and Gerri Granger, with ‘musical accompaniment from Snake Davis and the Suspicions’.

Richard said: “There will be real North West Northern soul anthems, which we’ve specially requested from the acts.

“Bettye Lavette didn’t want to go back to her old material, she does real blues stuff now, but she will be rehearsing the old hits specially for this event, the likes of Holdin’ On and What Condition.

“And Gerri Granger who had a 1972 hit with I Go To Pieces can’t believe that there’s still a market for her songs – that 30,000 copies were sold in one week in the UK.

“She didn’t even know.”

For more information on the weekend and event updates, visit www.blackpoolsoulfestival.co.uk. Call 0844 856 1111 for tickets.