Welcome to PrestatynSoulWeekender.com - For Current Information On This Great Soul Weekend

Historic Highlights

The Prestatyn soul weekender was born in March 2002, when around 1,000 devoted soul fans attended the North Wales venue. With live performances from Ray Pollard and Tony Middleton, and impressed with the site, the location, and with what they saw and heard musically, the reports were extremely positive and the new venture soon began to gather pace and, funded and organised  by owners Pontins  (working with a small team of advisors) it wasn't long before the event became a highlight on the Northern Soul calendar.

By the time of the second event in 2003 , bookings had soared and as a result the organisers were able to attract more top soul names including Lou Pride (RIP), Gwen Owens and Don "Cheatin' Kind" Gardner, plus, to help establish a "Modern" room, the contemporary soul star Ann Nesby. 

Don Gardner 

Ann Nesby

Melvin Davis  

Bobby Hutton

Baby Washington

By now attendances had grown dramatically, attracted by the great value accommodation deals, the live acts and the unique Prestatyn "vibe".

In 2004, over 2,000 soul fans from all around the UK witnessed a sensational show from Phil Perry, ably supported by Bobby Hutton, Baby Washington, Cody Black and Detroit legend, Melvin Davis in the Northern arena.

In addition to this glittering array of American soul performers, it should not go unnoticed that Prestatyn has always been very much the "people's" soul weekender. Yes, many top DJs played there but there was always a place to showcase the up-and-coming DJs, and the various venues from all around the UK that they represented. For example, the collectors sets in the Queen Vic pub have become legendary over the years, as have the rare 60s, Crossover and soulful house sets in the "House of Soul" venue, one of five rooms that were developed at the event between 2001 and 2011.

By 2005 Prestatyn was firmly established as the leading event of its kind, and the roster of American acts attracted to appear there reflected this: Adriana Evans, Lorraine Chandler, Eddie Parker, Troy Keyes, James Bell and the return of Melvin Davis.

Additionally, there was now even more entertainment on offer as the 24-hour on-site radio station was set up to enable the DJs and collectors to host their own programmes throughout the weekend, leading to quirky, educational and absorbing listening!

In 2006, the array of live acts was as impressive as ever with Detroit supergroup The Precisions complemented by Lou Ragland, Dean Courtney, Doni Burdick, Nolan (NF) Porter and Temptation, Barrington Henderson, followed in March 2007 with Prince Phillip Mitchell, Pat Lewis, Morris Chestnut, Roy Roberts, Melisa Morgan and the legendary Dee Dee Sharp.

Lou Ragland

Swamp Dogg

Prince Phillip Mitchell

Adriana Evans

Sam Hutchins / The Masqueraders

By now Prestatyn had reached international acclaim, to the point where artists were asking to appear at the new "home of the Northern Soul" weekender. In 2008, soul fans were treated to Gloria Jones, The Del-Larks, Jerry Williams and encore performances from both Gwen Owens and The Precisions.

These artist line ups were pretty unbeatable, and it should not be forgotten that by 2006 Pontins had then, due to demand, started a second annual Prestatyn weekender in October of each year, entitled "The Legends of Motown and Soul" with class acts appearing including The Contours , Brenda Holloway, Bobby Taylor, The original Vandellas with Pat Lewis, The Spinners, Dean Parrish, The Masqueraders and Tavares appearing at the autumn event between 2006-2010.

2009 saw visits from Detroit legends, The Volumes ably supported by Bobby Patterson, Lenis Guess, Benny Troy and in the Modern Room, Marcel and the Truth.

2010 saw more terrific stage performances from The Hesitations, Kenny Hamber, Sidney Barnes and Mary Love, while in the Modern Room we were treated to Kenny Bobien, Stephanie Cooke, and Tortured Soul.

The 10th anniversary in March 2011 was, however a bitter-sweet celebration.....10 fantastic years had seen the event become pivotal for the scene, and attendances had risen from under one thousand to over three times that figure. However, Pontins as a company had by then been forced into administration, and for a variety of reasons, it was too late for the new owners Britannia to continue the event into its 11th year.

Prestatyn returned in March 2013 bigger and better than ever with triumphant live performances from Audio, The Vibrations and Ronnie McNeir. Most of the UKs to record dealers attended and all five venues were busy throughout, with over 50 top DJs entertaining the crowd of over 3000 who had travelled to North Wales from all parts of the world! Then in March 2014 we were proud to present one of the greatest live shows ever seen from the iconic soul group The Impressions, supported by Detroit legend Spyder Turner, plus in the Modern Room, a superb nu-soul showcase from Natasha Watts. We are now really looking forward to March 2015 when our 4-day event is headlined by 60s soul superstar MITCH RYDER, making his first-ever appearance here in the UK and THE NEW YORK NORTHERN SOUL REVUE featuring original members of both THE SPELLBINDERS and THE INVITATIONS!!

Mitch Ryder

Mitch is a true Detroit musical legend. A native of Hamtrack, Michigan he had music in his genes due to his father being a musician and saw his first performances as a backing singer with local group the Peps. At high school he formed a band and called them Tempest. They made regular appearances at Detroit soul club “The Village”. Mitch then became the front man for Billy Lee and the Rivieras. They were spotted by legendary producer Bob Crewe who signed them and changed their name to Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. Recognised as the primary exponents of the Frat-Rock and Blue Eyed Soul genres they had plenty of success. Numerous releases were made on Crewe’s Dyno Voice and New Voice labels throughout the mid-sixties. In 1965 they had a top ten US hit with “Jenny Take A Ride” and this was followed up with four more chart successes during 1966. The biggest hit being the thumping “Devil With A Blue Dress On” which peaked at number four on the US chart. This period also saw the release of Mitch’s two Northern Soul anthems, “Break Out” and “You Get Your Kicks”. 1967 saw more chart action with “Sock It To Me Baby” making number six and Motown cover “Too Many Fish In The Sea” hitting the number twenty four spot.

In the early seventies Mitch had a hit with a cover of the classic “What Now My Love” but his rasping vocal style took its toll on his voice and Mitch chose to step back from music and moved to Colorado to focus on writing and painting. By 1983 he was ready to return to the music business and he released the “Never Kick A Sleeping Dog” album which featured the hit single “When You Were Mine”. Mitch continues to tour in the US and Europe with 2012 seeing the release of his first US album in thirty years “The Promise”. March 2015 will see his first ever UK appearance at The Prestatyn Soul Weekender. For this Detroit music veteran it will give him the opportunity to re-visit his classic sixties catalogue and witness the warmth and passion of the UK fans.

Invitations & Spellbinders

In 1963 a talented group of vocalists from New York were calling themselves the Tip-Toppers, but after signing with Dyno-Voice records they changed their name and found chart success. They were now to be called The Invitiations and their hit record was entitled “What’s Wrong With Me Baby”. Having found its way to the UK via the enterprising DJs on the fledgling Northern Soul scene the track was released on Mojo records and saw plenty of UK sales. The follow up was the infectious “Ski-ing In The Snow” another major hit that cemented The Invitations place in the Northern Soul Hall Of Fame. A label change to MGM saw the singles “The Skate” and “You’re Like A Mystery” but they didn’t repeat the success of the Dyno-Voice outings. However, as is often the case with Northern Soul, a hit was to materialise unexpectedly when around 2012 their MGM track “Watch Out Little Girl” started to gain popularity and rocketed in value.

In 1973 the group signed with Silver Blue Records and hit big in the US with “They Say The Girl’s Crazy”. Over time, the group, led by long term member Gary Gant saw numerous personnel changes due to retirements and members passing away. Two notable members, with Northern Soul credentials, being Lew Kirton and Richie Pitts.

Another addition to the group was Bobby Shivers, former lead singer with The Spellbinders.

Formed in 1962, they auditioned for top producer Van McCoy in 1963 and were signed to the major Columbia label. An album was quickly released entitled “The Magic Of The Spellbinders” and this garnered the hit tracks, “We’re Acting Like Lovers”, “Chain Reaction” and the massive Northern Soul hit “Help Me”.

The group disbanded in 1968 and the members went their separate ways. Shivers still had the passion to perform and in 1978 re-formed the group with them performing at the world famous Apollo Theatre in New York and in several of the popular “oldies shows” for a few years.

A chance meeting at a concert in 2007 with Gary Gant of The Invitations led to Bobby joining the group and providing access to The Spellbinders catalogue, great news for Northern Soul fans!

At the 2015 Prestatyn Weekender we will get the chance to witness “The New York Northern Soul Review” courtesy of two of the Big Apple’s finest soul vocal groups.