I’ve been to Southport Weekender once. I had heard all the magical stories about if as far back as 10 years before that, but I kept on putting it off. So in 2014 when they went on record as it being their last year, I packed my bags for London and made the adventure alone.

The world’s friendliest party did not disappoint. It was everything it claimed it to be and then some. I made instantaneous connections with people from the online forums to the buses that took us to the Butlins resort, all the way to the 20 plus dancefloors I hit that weekend. It was definitely an emotional high when you combine intoxicating vibes with such incredible soulful music.

Here are some collected quotes from a handful of people with indelible memories of falling in love at this festival, so much so that Southport returned. I can’t wait to return this year…

Photos by Colin W

“So many great memories, meeting so many friendly people, all the fantastic DJs. My favorite was Grand Master Flash and Rodigan in the Funkbase, all the fabulous artists and groups I have seen, Sounds of Blackness in the Powerhouse, dancing till the sun came up. But my special memory is meeting Colin Nisbet in the Inn on the Green in May 2013 who is now my husband, best friend and soulmate! 15 years going to Southport and I have loved every minute! ❤❤”
(Brenda Graciana Nisbet)

“Went to our first weekender in April ’97. Roger Sanchez did the Saturday night and me and my then girlfriend Leigh had a long conversation which ended with me on one knee on the Powerhouse dancefloor!! She said, ‘I’ll believe it if you ask again tomorrow’ which I surely did, and next week we celebrate 19 years of marriage!! Now thats HOUSE.”
(Adam Michael Jones)

“SP52 closing set when ” I Love Music”” was dropped in The Powerhouse and I got totes emosh and started bleeting like a little kid (I was 57 then). I turned around so nobody would see only to be faced by a group of about 5 or 6 50-year-old plus guys all hugging each other crying like babies. So I just went in for the group hug. It summed up perfectly the Southport family ethos. #welovemusic”
(Dene Battersby)

“Dancing to Jazzanova in the Beat bar with my now husband ❤️
AND Saturday afternoon Connoisseurs sessions dancing like nuts to ‘if you really love me….’ Terry Jones and Andy Davis, the best!”
(Samantha Parkin)

“Watching Chaka Khan and accidentally stumbling into Terry Hunter, who then placed his hand on my head & blessed me 😇”
(Penny Howlett)

“You want romance and good memories? How about the year that Jamal Papajgun proposed to me in a moment of shared music love. 😍❤️🎶🎵”
(Laura McCrum)

“Weekender 40.. meeting my Mr Margi 💋”
(Margi Monaghan: )

“Looking after them for the Weekender and then watching The Sounds of Blackness with Ann Nesby perform. Magical and so moving. Seeing grown people cry after being moved by their performance. Awesome 😁 ”
(Ian Schofield)

“Many a memory come to mind but I guess the one that sticks out (and happened on more than one occasion.) Nowhere has ever made me feel overwhelmed with happiness on the dancefloor as Southport Weekender has. For 24 years it was the only place where my husband I could be together and indulge in our one true passion. If it wasn’t for house music we would have never met and if it wasn’t for Southport we may not still be together 26 years later. “
(Patricia Jane McCormack)