We are all familiar with the names, such as Dave Pearce, Judge Jules and Luciano who helped to revolutionise dance music in legendary clubs, such as Pacha, Cafe Mambo and Eden. But these guys are just the latest edition of the pioneers who first bought soul, R&B, funk to the masses. Although because of social media the modern DJ’s are far more high profile, without their predecessors they would not have existed.
It is quite incredible to think that the guy standing behind his Technics Decks is actually more famous than the artist who made the song. Calvin Harris, a case in point. However, this has actually been the case ever since soul music evolved. The great pioneers of what is today classed as “Dance Music” have always been shunned by the mass media. Legends, such as James Brown, Clarence Carter, Wilson Pickett……never made the worldwide recognition that their talent deserved. The record producers, agents, managers, TV hosts were all deemed more important.
Back in 50’s America most of this was down to a racial divide, and the people with the money wanted to control the whole scene. Eventually, artists, like Stevie Wonder, Sam Cooke, The Four Tops etc. broke through into mainstream charts, and the world of music would never be the same again.
America Broke the Mold
At the time whilst America was busting out with new rhythms, arrangements, harmonies and coordinated dance routines, the rest of the world was stuck in the past. Traditional ballrooms were still offering up watered down big band music, and it was all a far cry from what was going on over the Atlantic.
But thank goodness, America wanted to spread the word to the whole world and in the 1960’s the music tours came about. Originally, this was not just one artist touring, but labels, such as Motown & Stax would send six or seven artists on a revue tour. It was a hard work, but eventually the masses took to this new craze of music and nightclubs started popping up all over Europe featuring rhythm & blues and soul music artists.
The Dance Music Festivals
In Britain, London and the Northwest embraced this new music phenomenon with open arms. Northern soul was born and chic new venues popped up all over London, Manchester, Wigan playing all the top American soul artists. The clubs and the DJs were innovators, creating a whole new scene that was purely based upon dance music. Punters craved for their newly found drug and the music was in great demand. To satisfy this demand the “Soul Weekender” was born, caravan and leisure parks were taken over for all whole weekend and soul pilgrims travelled all over the country to join in the fun.
One of the first was the Caister Soul Weekender, never before had three thousand likeminded people, from all walks of life, descended upon a resort to spend three days indulging in their passion for dance music.