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Summer, Soul & Stax

by - Saturday, July 22, 2017

So last weekend was a great one - crammed full of wonderful soul music, barbecue food, a whole lotta dancing and my favourite thing; getting to don my retro finest!

Saturday's event was Souled Out Summer - a 3 year old charity event organised by some friends and Paul to raise money for Addenbrooke's Breast Cancer Appeal.

The weather could have been a bit better for the 15th July but given it rained in the morning, we were pretty grateful for a dry afternoon! A fair few Lambrettas and Vespas tipped up (including a classic Mini!), the records started turning, the barbecue was fired up and the retro festival vibes began to flow.

I got a bit busy having fun and forgot to take many pictures, so borrowed a few of Mart's Arts photos from the Souled Out Summer facebook page - check out the links for more great snaps & videos from the day!

That's my boy! Paul played 2 sets, a laidback lounge set in the afternoon with his band The Adaptones, then their bigger, dancier affair in the evening, which was followed by a Jam tribute band, the Mod Cons.

I fitted in about 2 minutes of helping on the barbecue too but my wonderful Mumma had it all in hand and didn't really need my gettingintheway help! So I went back to watching the bands as the sun began to set.

It was such a fabulous day, the sun came out just in time for it to set - but hey ho, that's the Great British summer for you! But it did mean we had a gorgeous sun set creating a warm glow as the Mod Cons started their set.

All in all we had about 260 people come, which isn't too bad for a quaint little village pub garden! Also raised over £3,000 for Addenbrooke's Breast Cancer Appeal so it really was a smashing day.

Then came Sunday.

After such a busy day before, we had a lazy brunch and curled up under a blanket to watch Star Wars while the rain hammered the windows all afternoon. It was such a stroke of luck that the weather had held off until this point as Souled Out Summer would have been a very different day if it hadn't!

Paul's lovely friend and guitarist in the band had managed to grab us some tickets to a Stax soul night in Hitchin - that literally was all I knew, as I'd been too busy at SOS to ask any questions about what Sunday might involve!

We finally peeled ourselves from the sofa, got ready and headed back out not knowing what to expect of the night.

I still hadn't got round to asking any questions about the gig yet, so stood with butterflies in my stomach waiting to find out.

And find out, I did.

It honestly was the most epic gig I have ever been to in my life. The band were a group of teens that were training at the Stax Music Academy in Memphis, doing a European tour to commemorate the 50 year anniversary of the original Stax European tour in 1967.

Not knowing what to expect was possibly the best way to go to a gig - no expectations, no hopes, no set ideas already implanted in my mind.

The whole band were just unbelieveable - all aged between 15 and 17 years, it was impossible to believe that they were only teenagers at school. Their voices were better than most hit singers, their dancing was absolutely on point to the era and their energy and sense of fun was captivating to say the least. At one point they even picked Paul and Ewan out of the crowd to join them on stage for a dance!

I was hooked on every single word, every hammond solo, every harmony. I didn't ever want the gig to end; we couldn't stop dancing, smiling and being completely gobsmacked at the whole performance. 

Above Image © Hitchin TV

We've been wanting to spend some time with Paul's Dad in Hunstville, Alabama before visiting Memphis for a while now, and this has made us all the more desperate to go. I've been kicking myself  ever since for not buying a t-shirt at the end of the night - think I was too stunned by the band to concentrate on anything other than saying 'WOW!' about a hundred times!

Hitchin TV filmed the entire evening so the videos should hopefully be appearing soon on their website or Facebook page and do check out Stax Music Academy's website as well to read all about the wonderful work that they do.

This was one of those gigs that you try to tell someone about, but you just get stuck mid sentence because it's impossible to explain just how amazing the night was. We had a chat with the band and Paul McKinney, the director, at the end of the night to discover that not only were they all wonderfully talented, they were also absolutely lovely, passionate musicians and so appreciative for the support.

What a way to spend a weekend - floating around on a total high from being in the presence of brilliant musicians both at Souled Out Summer and the Stax Music Academy gig. It couldn't have been a better couple of days!

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