My VB2013 Experience

I literally just spent an hour writing a load of words about VB2013, only to delete them. It’s nothing I haven’t said before about the event really, so I’m going to start again and list a few of my highlights (and low moments) whilst I listen to the lovely poolside set from DJ 2Tall.
*Edit – in the end this whole blog took me through his set and those from Snoopy and Sean Quinn… awesome !!
It all kicked off for me on Thursday night when I finally felt all was in place for me to have my first beer and play my first tune. Taking over from some great vibes from Jeff, 2Tall, Snoopy and Sean Quinn, I felt the weight of the event fall from my shoulders as my first tune played. Eventually going live on Pressure after 30 seconds panicking my computer wasn’t working, the Kaysee opening jingle was met with a cheer from the crowd which really made me beam inside… this, indeed, was a shout out to my people, only this time they were all with me and it felt really good. I get emotional just thinking about it. Anyway, you can hear what happened next from the recording of the night… the vibe was nothing short of electric and I went to bed a happy man.
The next morning I woke bright and early to find out where my bastard programmes were. Basically, the hotel’s new website had the incorrect postcode on it (nothing to do with WardsWebsites), which I in turn passed on to the couriers which meant they were delivered to an entirely different part of Spain. I was ASSURED they would be delivered first thing on Saturday, something I wasn’t happy about but I thought would HAVE to do.
I continued to welcome the Family, old and new to the event and the Friday went exactly as I expected. I was a little disappointed that not one of the Spanish DJs had done as I suggested and made an effort to dress up the pool area with some Spanish colours, seeing as it was their takeover day. Of course, I let it be known but didn’t dwell on the fact.. you can only do so much for people !
Registration went as well as could be expected, the late rush on tickets meant that we were closer to 600 people physically being present and there were one or two mistakes on my part, sorry to anyone who missed out on a card and a massive thanks to Dave Tait and Drew for being so cool under pressure. Finally, after a rather stressful day it was time for me to get a bite to eat, shower and hit the club.
I had been so excited for so long about the new LED screen we brought in this year for the event as well as the new poolside decor and lighting. On the grand scheme of things it’s just a screen and some lights, but they gave a new dimension to the venue and I was really happy everyone loved them.
I started the opening set in Xairo and loved every second of it. It was great to see so many people in the club so early, whooping and whistling as the bass filtered out. During my set I had a few tears of joy/relief that I thought I got away with until the cameraman stuck his light on me. Tosser.
The rest of the night is somewhat a blur, one of the highlights of course being Atjazz and Ross on bass guitar mashing up the place. I can’t wait to hear the recording. Friday was the busiest it has ever been for us in Xairo, we couldn’t have got more in and it definitely confirms the fact that 600 is a good cut-off point from here on in.
Saturday morning, wow, seems so long ago now. Another early rise in the hope of finding programmes in reception, when we finally got through to the delivery plant my heart-felt like it had been ripped out when I was told the programmes wouldn’t arrive until Monday. I was really upset, especially as there was a lot of important information I didn’t want people to miss out on.. it also meant I found myself introducing all the DJs on the mic over the course of the event, one of the things I explicitly did not want to be doing this year. Anyway, Saturday was a great day and went exactly as I had expected although I was surprised there were not more people poolside throughout the day.
Quick change, into Xairo to set the lighting up for the Pressure boys. Having Gillman in charge of recording all the audio was one less thing for me to worry about this year and definitely helped with my stress levels. I was always curious as to what the turnout in the club would be on the Saturday night, seeing as the Pressure DJs aren’t necessarily household names to a lot of the new-comers (plus the missing programmes fiasco) but I was relieved to see a packed dance floor and everyone getting to down to some amazing sets from the lads… they definitely represented themselves well. Two great performances from Nathan Adams and Dawn Tallman made the night a great one for all concerned, I’m not ashamed to say I ducked out not long after DJP took to the decks… I needed some sleep.
Sunday morning I woke feeling rather sick, sick with nerves. Opening up was Kev Beadle who did exactly what I knew he would, setting the stage for young Mikey Ward to do his thing. I cannot start to tell you how nervous Mikey was, especially as he had prepared the final 20 minutes of the hour-long set to be beat matched. People made an effort to come see him perform and I watched with pride as he once again shared all his own selections with the crowd who lapped it up, singing and dancing to every track. I genuinely had zero input in his song choices, something which makes me even more proud of him. As he was about to start his first mix into a house track I could see he had a problem. I popped into the booth, told him to just let the track finish and to try again on the next one. He nailed the final three mixes. It was a big set, even if I am a little biased !
The rest of the day was a little too hectic for me to enjoy, lots of things to co-ordinate to make sure the balloon release went well, the live PA from Dawn, collating the scores from the missing judges for the Titans etc.. obviously all appeared to go smoothly but I need to watch/listen back to it myself to really appreciate the day for what it was. I got a lot of great feedback for Sunday though so I know people loved it.
Sunday night, another white night, was tremendous and all the music was on point. It was great to see Spoony again after so long and to hear his brilliant set. I think Schooly and I did a good set.. I can’t remember a thing, again something to catch up on when listening back to the podcasts. I don’t remember getting back to my hotel, then again it was 10 days ago so that’s to be expected !
Monday morning is a blur, again too much time wasted on the phone chasing programmes. A recovery session around the pool saw great music and as the sun set and people moved downstairs, the vibe of the event changed to the mid-week atmosphere I really love. Dave Storm was a little nervous about playing but he nailed it in the basement and really enjoyed his set. Thanks to more tweaking from Phil and a little sound insulation, the sound in the basement this year was a lot better and we think next year we’ll have it even better still.
Tuesday I disappeared over to Murcia with Blackwax, Brother C and Miloe as they spent a few hours in the studio with Deep Josh to get some much appreciated information on mixing and studio tips. On the night I came home and gave Michelle a night out while I slept in my own bed and rested my brain. It was just what I needed.
Wednesday, the programmes finally turned up, better late than never and as explained previously, I will be bringing them across to the reunion in November and Birmingham in December for anyone that wants a souvenir. You can view the 2013 Programme, in the meantime, on-line (thanks to DeanJay at Fly Creative for this).
Thursday’s meal over in Los Alcazares was great and the coach journey coordinated well, it gives me more of an incentive to try other things in the future on the final days. The farewell party was another beautiful thing and sent most people home happy as we partied under the stars for the final time.
As you can tell, I started rushing over points towards the back-end of the week, I just wanted to get my thoughts down now before I forgot.
On the whole, VB2013 was the most successful yet although I don’t think I will fully appreciate that until I have heard all the sets and watched back some of the key moments on the video rebroadcasts. I am the most happy with the DJs and 99% of them “followed the script” and provided the soundtrack exactly as I envisaged it.
A couple of gripes.. People were a lot better with their smoking habits this year with more and people respecting my request to hold it down, but a note to the few people I saw hiding their ‘tings from me as I walked past.. I personally don’t give a damn, but if you are ignorant enough to think hiding it from me is going to stop everyone within a 10 metre radius smelling what you’re up to, then you’re more stupid than I thought and deserve to get carted away by the man ! I also can’t believe a few people can’t organise something as simple as a table tennis match, when all the hard work has been done for them.
KMT…. but that’s just me being grumpy old me… allow me.
There are a whole host of people to thank for making VB2013 happen, I have thanked everyone already face to face but in no particular order respect to:
Paul Griff, Tony Poole, Paul Baxter, Gareth Wiseman, Barry Neaves, Sharon Dobinson, Dave Tait, Drew and Mikey, Michelle Ward of course, Gillman Audio, Paul Groove, all the staff at all the hotels we used, Julie at Flamenca Holidays, Club Xairo, DJP and Pressure, San Antonio restaurant, Howells Transport, DB audio, Diego and Elena, BB Balloons, Snoopy, Pilar, all the DJs and of course YOU for attending ! Sincere apologies to anyone I may have missed,
Would you believe, plans are already under way for VB2014 with one or two ideas sure to put a smile on your face and some of the proposed DJs definitely getting two big thumbs up.
Remember, subscribe to the podcasts here and check out the brand new website here, with the all-new VBW app available in Android and Apple stores now, simply search VBW App
I know you have all left untold messages on Facebook and via email, but please leave a few words here so we can look back on them all in one place and reminisce with a smile.
Love Ya.
*Edit – It’s probably a bit late now but a couple of my other highlights were:

  • Mikey’s set
  • Thursday night with Timmy
  • Sunday with Schooly
  • Seeing Lloyd Bevan’s face when I gave him a little gift
  • Seeing how happy Doobie J was after his set and everyone going crazy for him
  • (in hindsight) Knowing that Tilly Floss was enjoying watching and listening to Doctor J’s set on the webcam, days before she passed away, moments after she received her lanyard and wristband in the post. Sweet dreams. x

3 Comments

  1. Andy, hats off to you and backroom staff for another great VB in the sun. I had great reservations if my ankle could take the 10 days but it did! The poolside system was great, same goes for the club and basement
    Was good to meet old and new faces, the virgins slotted in seamlessly like they were old hands! I totally enjoyed myTitan runout, something for me to cherish! Well done to Karen
    So looking forward to next year. As the VB slogan says
    For. With. Of. The Family! 100%

  2. Great review Andy, I can only imagine how much work you put into this event, for my comment I’m simply going to re-post what I wrote the day I came back…plus a bit…..
    Words cannot do justice to how I feel about this event, it is so special, right from the Thursday night you could feel the love and see everyone, smiling, laughing & dancing. I met old friends & made new ones, the music was amazing, an education in fact, and then there’s the sound system, I said it last year and I’ll say it again, it is INCREDIBLE, Phil….you do such an amazing job and your attention to detail and genuine passion for what you do blows me away!
    I can’t mention (or tag everyone) but a few special mentions are definitely in order, firstly my adopted Bournemouth/Cambridge family who I loved spending so much time with.
    Secondly, the WMRU…..jeez! How good are these guys, seriously! Proper talent from start to finish!
    Soul Renegades…..Wowsa!
    Neil Pierce in the club on Sunday…..smashed it!
    Mad Matts!….just ridiculous!
    A Deeper Groove….beautiful selection!
    I’m scratching the surface here, the music from everyone was brilliant, and the tempo was bang on for nearly every session I heard.
    I also loved the laughs I had with everyone, especially Schooly….you’re a legend mate and it was really nice to have some down time with you too
    I could go on & on (and on) about all the wonderful people I talked to, danced with & laughed with but you all know who you are and I can’t wait to see you again next year, if not before.
    Almost lastly, thank you so much for those that came and supported me when I played in the Pressure Cooker on Tuesday night, I was bricking it beforehand, loved it all and felt exhausted afterwards, having Dawn Tallman in the room dancing away and singing was just amazing!
    And really lastly, thank you thank you thank you Andy Ward for making this all possible…..you are a genius for what you’ve created, I love it SO SO MUCH!
    It’s the….
    Best event I’ve EVER been to.
    Best sound system I’ve EVER heard.
    Best session of music (Saturday) I’ve EVER heard.
    Best people.
    Best music.
    Best weather.
    Can’t wait to do it all again next year 🙂 x

  3. The vocal booth has become a pilgrimage for me n the mrs (3yrs n counting) is without doubt the best thing that has happened to me from a music perspective in the last 20years and is truly a spiritual thang.
    I have to say that Andy is probably the most generous person I have met on the music scene and am blown away by how real he keeps it. Giving djs the opportunity to contribute in what is notoriously a cold industry, im sure there are plenty of djs that ha e experienced the cold shoulder or clicks that are hard to break into, but with Andy its about sharing in the music we love so much and allowing people to share in this. Vb = no vip, no attitudes no judgment just like minded souls that with out this event would seldom meet. I brought a virgin along this year you all probably met claire white and rember trying to explain the family vibe I guess its something you have to feel for yourself. Claire did and is of course family for life, its just what vb does to you. I have had the privilege of dancing, chatting, and rubbing shoulder s with some of the most genuine , inspirational and wonderful people I have met in life and thats all down to vbw. ANDY AND CREW THANK YOU FOR WHAT YOU DO AND PLEASE KEEP ON KEEPING ON GOD BLESS YOU xx

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