This is a piece I have written especially dedicated to all the Suncebeat family or as I affectionately now call them ‘Children of the Sun’.
There are several stages of being when it comes to the Suncebeat festival simply put, before, during and after. I will now attempt to give a brief description; If you are discovering Suncebeat for the first time, read on this may just tip the balance in your favour to book up for next year. On the other hand if you have already sampled the delights, then join me as we relive the memories.
Before – Did you hear whispers amongst your friends about a festival somewhere in the Dalmatian coast that was more beautiful than you could have ever imagined? Not just aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but a festival full of like minded souls who had gathered together for the love of music. Such places exist and are your for the taking.
Once you have stepped into the realm, you will never view life in quite the same way again.
During – Were your mind and body prepared for the delights that lay in store for you? Having reached your destination, taken your first tentative steps in a country that was mainly unfamiliar to you. Did you look across Tisno, up to the mountains and along the calm blue sea in wonder?
On site there is a palpable rush of euphoria, this place is unlike anything you would have ever experienced before. Is this what togetherness feels like? You look from left to right, to faces turned towards the sun with an expression of sheer happiness on their faces. At that moment in time you surmise there is no better place than this and nowhere else you would rather be.
Hot summer days follow warm summer nights, this is hedonists groundhog day without the monotony. The world blossoms before you with the visions of boat parties, intimate gathering of DJs and music lovers, all thrust together out at sea. You may cry tears of joy, it happens to be true, for there are few greater experiences in life that evoke such deep emotion.
For me the Mindfluid boat, with Kev Beadle firmly at the helm and followed closely by Rich Medina, Rainer Truby, Lefto, took proceedings to a whole new level. Until you have experienced nearly an entire boat moving in unison directing energy from the ‘souls’ of their dancing feet towards the DJs, it is a feeling like no other. On the Yoruba Soul boat, Osunlade, Rainer Truby, Craig Smith and Eddie Ramich; gathered our spirits and invoked the gods and goddesses of dance. Such were the vibrations pulsating through the boat, that several dolphins joined the party and jumped with joy alongside us. Revellers flocked to side of the Argonaught to catch sight of these magestic creatures, all at once causing the boat to lean precariously to one side. Occurrences like these are rare, they are what I call a world appreciation moments and are to be cherished. Just when you think you can not take any more happiness, you discover how to dance on the beach stage! Wide wild steps, sweeping arms as you sassay across the dance floor. All is right with the world the DJ is spinning your favourite tune, whilst the disco ball showers in you in an iridescent glow. Where else could you experience a plethora of DJs from Osunlade, Andrew Ashong, Lay-Far, Floating Point, DJ Spen, Dean Sunshine Smith, Lil Stevie, Gavin Kendrick, all displaying a kaleidoscope of the finest soulful underground dance music around?!
I will take this opportunity to salute my dear friend Neil Pierce, who is one half of Rhemi, whose track ‘Diamond’, must be the winner of anthem of the week, not a day passed with out the lyrics ‘Just be the diamond that you know you are’, cascading across the beach stage. All who are in agreement with me say I!
But wait there is more Barbarellas! Here you become the mistress or the master of keeping the vibe alive as the coach takes you to your destination. Barbarellas is a world within itself, an out door arena, free from walls allowing you to be free. Time moves slowly we dance for hours to an assortment of; Disco edits, Deep South African House, Soulful and uplifting grooves, to the ancestral tribal Afro House. We dance until the first light creeps it’s way over head, the morning sun makes it way to greet us, (haven’t you gone to bed yet) it whispers.
I must not forget to mention the pleasure of seeing the live acts Roy Ayers and Brand New Heavies and how we swayed and sang along to the songs that have provided the soundtrack to our lives. Or the Soul stage with Terry Jones & Ronnie Herel, as it throbbed to the sound of happy singing voices.
Make way for the DJ Queens, Natasha Kitty Kat Probert, Simmone Black Fox and Blonde Flash, who displayed greatness behind the decks.
As the days progressed and with the greatest ease, you find you have became a member of Suncebeat family. Never has it been so easy to connect with people from the worldwide community in one small place. Facebook will light up with the clicks of new connections and shared experiences.
After – Is the stage of utter exhaustion but only as a result of having the best time of your life. Most of us at some point have lost our voices, some folk have temporary lost our minds, lack of sleep can do that to you. All forgiven and after a good nights sleep is forgotten.
The most profound realisation of what you have just experienced can not be found in words, it hits you between the 2nd and 4th day of being at home. When the slow trickle of Facebook statuses become a torrent of adoration and love. Video clips and photos topple across the screen, confirming that yes this is your life. The revelation hits you square in the heart and mind, that you now belong to something deeply powerful and moving. Suncebeat is more than a festival, it is a way of being with one another and a way in which we connect with our spiritual selves. Since the dawn of time our ancestors have joined together under the sun and moon, we have danced in unison sending our earthly bodies into the heavens. For those 7 days we have followed in the footsteps of ancestors celebrating lives bounty.
I end my review with a quote by Ptolemy an ancient Greek geographer and astronomer, I read this quote and thought of us.
‘I know that I am mortal by nature and ephemeral, but when I trace at my pleasure the windings to and fro of heavenly bodies, I know longer touch earth with my feet. I stand in the presence of Zeus and take my fill of ambrosia’.
I would like to take this opportunity to extend my heartfelt blessings and love to Alex Lowes, Dave Gardener, Nick Connelly, Gavin Kendrick, Kev Beadle, Ben Brophy Yasim, Ceri Ann and to all the people in front and behind the scenes who help this extraordinary festival possible.
Give thank the DJs, for their energy, for keeping us dancing and for being the conduit in which unifies us: Roy Ayers, Brand New Heavies, Louie Vega, Tony Humphries, Kerri Chandler, Osunlade, Sandy Riviera, Miguel Migs, Black Coffee, Dimitri From Paris, Floating Points, Andrew Ashong, Motor City Drum Emsemble, Marques Wyatt, Rich Medina, DJ Spen, Reverend P, Late Nite Tuff Guy, Lefto, Rainer Truby, Eddy Ramich, Lay-Far, Djeff Afrozilla, Craig Smith, Dean Sunshine Smith, Ronnie Herel, Souldynamic, Phil Asher, Kev Beadle, Gavin Kendrick, Mark Stone, David Fiorese, Luis Radio, Jonny Miller, Ben Brophy, Steve Butler, Lil Stevie, James Morgan, Natasha Kitty Kat Probert, Simmone Black Fox, Blonde Flash and Colin Williams.
To my roomies Jan and Karen, here’s to our nudist apartment, Benny Hill sketches, Prosecco and life long friendship.
My business partner Laila – welcome to the family we the world is our oyster.
To relive the whole experience tune into my Suncebeat 6 soundtrack, just follow the link below.