Now in its sixth year, SSW has leap frogged from being described in the press three years ago as “the new kid on the weekender block” to being hailed recently as ‘the natural successor to Southport‘ by Scotland’s influential music and arts bible, The List. Conceived as a far flung idea for “much further down the line” by long time promoter and renowned House and rare Soul and Funk DJ Yogi Haughton, the weekender was shelved for fifteen years or so “until it was time” said Yogi.
“I had DJed at the first fourteen Southport weekenders but left after deciding that I had to walk away for one reason or another. I sat back and watched what was going on in the weekender scene and in some circles there was a lack of imagination line up wise. I noticed the same line ups appearing year in year out at some weekenders or just local DJ’s playing at the smaller events, which is fine but I really wanted to join the dots from the weekenders of old to what was happening on the dance floors today.
I then decided to start SSW and attempted to bring the ever faithful Modern Soul and Soulful House crowd together, with the intention of moving the event into the future musically also with the most cutting edge House possible. I have always been a firm believer in looking forward intensely but glancing back over the shoulder from time to time to see where we and this scene came from. I really wanted younger folk to be exposed to Northern Soul, Deep Funk, Modern Soul and rare Disco and I wanted guys from those scenes I mention to be challenged by what they heard in the House room.” – Yogi Haughton
The line ups at SSW reflect this musical grazing. From one end of the field there have been classic artistes such as Gwen McCrae, Jocelyn Brown, Todd Terry, Keb Darge, Pierre, Lil’ Louis and Tony Humphries who played SSW. At the other end there are the dynamic freshers that have graced the decks or played live at SSW such as Red Greg, Motor City Drum Ensemble, M.A.N.D.Y., JD73, Prins Thomas, Yam Who, Late Nite Tuff Guy and Pig&Dan, whilst the evergreens such as Joey Negro and Kerri Chandler have all played SSW too. So it’s about musical diversity, the past, the present and the future.
SSW is an acronym of Scottish Soulful Weekender but this was dropped after the event outgrew its original home, the border town of Dumfries in Scotland. You literally could not get a bed in the town when the event rolled in like some sort of musical religious road show. The ‘soulful’ tag shackled the event a lil’ also, people thought SSW was just a Soul weekender, even though the largest room was in fact a House room. By moving South of the border and by introducing a more diverse musical policy the name Scottish Soulful Weekender became redundant and SSW was born, giving the event a more ambiguous heading.
A move to Preston was a temporary fix until SSW could find a permanent home but Yogi and Caroline Jessop, his partner, did not count on one of its competitors waging all out war on them by putting on an event in SSW’s new temporary home just two weeks before the SSW event took place in attempt to scupper its success, as well as booking many of the same DJ’s to detract from SSW’s great line ups. Whilst at Preston Yogi and Caroline found an incredible site in Silloth near Carlisle called Stanwix Holiday Park. The owners assured the promoters that they would not be gazumped by any other weekenders and that the site was SSW’s EXCLUSIVELY! Last year the move to Stanwix was hailed as a total success and SSW’s best venue to date by its patrons, with incredible 5 star accommodation and brilliant arenas that are turned into imaginative rooms within rooms and rounded off with 30K of Void Incubus sound in the main arena and 15K in the smaller rooms.
SSW is not a huge outfit, much of the backroom work is done by folk that actually attend the event and have grown to love it. All the finance and admin, bookings, travel, accommodation and passes allocation is carried out by Yogi’s partner in life of 14 years and business Caroline Jessop, whilst much of the new media campaigns are put together by David Elders who like so many was initially a patron of the event. SSW’s TV studio is manned by SSW enthusiasts and the official radio station (Pure 107) that broadcasts Goldmine DJ’s shows leading up to the events and then 24/7 from the event is run by Billy Kerr, another guy that attended SSW and just wanted to help the event grow.
“It’s literally a year round job…but the comradeship that has evolved from people coming together and growing to love the event is worth its weight in gold. SSW is an ever growing family and it’s my job to keep that family together” – Caroline Jessop (SSW)
Room 1 – The Pressure Point
Our largest room, where all the latest House tunes are dropped, this year the line up includes DJ Sneak, Pig&Dan, Opolopo, Ultra Nate (Live and DJ set) Terry Francis from Fabric, M.A.N.D.Y., Faze Action (Live) David Glass from Hot Creations, Bobby And Steve, Steal Vybe (Live) Fish Go Deep plus many more.
Room 2 – The Shrine
SSW’s Edits, Modern Soul, Boogie, Jazz and rare Disco hub. DJ’s this year include John Morales, Fingerman, Reverend P, Dave Thorley, Steve Arrington of Slave (Live), Yam Who, Dr Bob Jones and the 75 year old Soul Sam who has built up an amazing following at SSW with the younger crowd because of his one off exclusives tunes selection, Plus many, many more.
Room 3 – Made in (Glasgow)
A new room at SSW that will feature the talent from a particular city each year, kicking off with Glasgow this year and Funk D’Void, Pistols At Dawn, Rebeca Vasmant, Al Kent and Ryan Kerr is just a small selection of the Glasgow talent on offer in this unique room. There is a special Let’s Go Back Wayback session featuring resident DJ’s Rob Mason and Bosco with none other than Chicago legend Mike Dunn appearing as an honouree Scotsman for one night only.
Room 4 – The Goldmine
The surprise success of SSW, originally started as a small room to accommodate the huge amount of great local level, hardworking DJ’s that gig week in and week out in bars and clubs around the world who kept asking to play at SSW. SSW took a huge risk and threw the doors open to these guys with an open decks policy (you book a slot in advance) and stood back and watched. We supplied a kick ass Void Incubus sound system, dressed the joint from top to bottom in gold and to our surprise we literally struck gold.
The room has become one of the most musically diverse rooms at any weekender and the level of un discovered talent has been ridiculous. The slots at The Goldmine have given many an unknown DJ that essential leg up and the comradery between the guys has been inspiring, swapping gigs up and down the country and together they have made The Goldmine one of the weekenders busiest rooms.
The Outdoor pool party
What it says on the tin, weather permitting we move out to the amazing heated pool outdoors with Steve Paradise from Italy, Chris Thomas the rising star discovered in The Goldmine that now plays all over Scotland, Yam Who from Midnight Riot and Essex lad and Caister veteran Frostie playing his underplayed classics. If it pisses down, we move into the Pressure point and save the day. We also host an after party on Sunday night from 23:00 until 04:30 with a surprise guest, these parties are always packed and the atmosphere carries on in the apartments even after 04:30 bells strike.
SSW defines underground music, it’s where Soul, Funk and Boogie DJ’s are encouraged to steer clear of the classics and dig deep, it’s where House DJ’s can lose their musical minds and play the latest tunes and genres and it’s where those in the know go!