Soul weekend to return after debut success

Soul Fest Blackpool 2015
Soul Fest Blackpool 2015
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Blackpool’s International Soul Festival is to become an annual event.

This year saw the first ever Blackpool International Soul Festival when a stellar line-up of North American and Modern soul artists delighted thousands of music fans at the town’s Winter Gardens during the three-day event.

And now organiser Richard Searling is working with the Winter Gardens team to organise next year’s instalment.

Speaking about the Festival Richard said: “It was just such a fantastic weekend and the response we’ve had from the fans has been incredible.

“I reunited with long lost friends I had not seen out anywhere since the glory days of the Blackpool Mecca and Wigan Casino. The artists, Winter Gardens team and everyone who got behind the event have helped to make it such a success, we couldn’t have asked for better support.

“The line-up was incredible with some of the tracks having never been performed since they were first recorded – I really don’t know how we’re going to top it, but rest assured we’re already hard at work planning for another spectacular year.”

More than 2,500 fans enjoyed live music from American soul icons Bettye Lavette, Gerri Granger, Harold ‘Bobby’ Hutton and Dee Dee Sharp in the Empress Ballroom which was transformed into the Festival’s main stage, while 200 scooters took part in a rally in St John’s Square and the Pavilion Theatre played host to a Q&A session with Motown’s first A+R man Mickey Stevenson.

Six rooms throughout the Winter Gardens complex gave festival goers the chance to immerse themselves in a plethora of different musical styles including Soulful Jazz and Dance, Northern Soul all-nighters, Mod and Ska and Luxury Soul. For shoppers a ‘Northern Department Store’ offered the chance to pick up some autographed commemorative 45s, vintage clothing, rare records, official patches and other merchandise in a wonderland of Soul memorabilia.

The second Blackpool International Soul Festival takes place Friday June 16 to Sunday June 18 and tickets are now on sale with a special early bird discount, subject to availability.

Winter Gardens Managing Director Michael Williams added: “We’re thrilled with the response to the first Blackpool International Soul Festival.

“The town has a long standing association with soul music and this Festival is keeping Blackpool firmly on the map, bringing some huge names to the town.

“Richard’s vision for the Festival has really shone through and we can’t wait to see what he has in store for 2017.” Go to or