DJ Yogi Haughton presents Scottish Soulful Weekender
Dumfries event features Todd Terry, Kerri Chandler, Joey Negro and more
A weekend of soul music held at a hotel in Dumfries & Galloway sounds almost like a niche market event, a retro get-together for old school Northern Soul junkies to relive the glory days. Yet Yogi Haughton, the promoter of the first Scottish Soulful Weekender, has a wide-ranging definition of the word ‘soul’ – that’s why this incredible-looking three-day weekender includes house legends like Todd Terry, Kerri Chandler, Lil Louis and Joey Negro alongside more traditionally soulful DJs and artists including Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King, Greg Wilson and Craig Charles.
‘It’s inspired by the Southport Weekender,’ says Haughton, a familiar face on Edinburgh’s club scene for many years, ‘which started off as a soul weekender and then grew towards the dance end of the spectrum – they didn’t quite turn their back on soul, but it became less important. I used to DJ at Southport and I also used to DJ at the Prestatyn Weekender, which did the soul thing very well but didn’t have a lot of good house, so I figured there was a niche for an event that was musically right in the middle.’
How well does he think the two audiences will complement one another, though? ‘A lot of people in one genre can’t understand the other, but this will be for people who find every emotion in their body stirred by both. Even in jazz music, soul is soul is soul.’ In Haughton’s eyes both audiences are the same audience, separated only by generations.
Although Dumfries & Galloway has a rich local art scene, it’s perhaps not the most urban location for something like this. That suits Haughton just fine, as he points out ‘the Midlands of the north’ is actually quite central if you want to draw an audience (by train to either Dumfries or Lockerbie) from Manchester, Aberdeen or London. ‘The soul scene also has a history of all-night licences, until 7 or 8am in the morning,’ he continues, ‘and you’re not going to get those licenses in antiquated Edinburgh.’
Interest seems to have been strong, with half of the planned-for 1000 tickets sold with six weeks to go until the event. Of the venue, Haughton says ‘I think it has more function rooms than any hotel I’ve ever seen,’ including a reproduction art deco main ballroom and various smaller spaces, including one which will be given over to young and emerging talent.
Contained within that will be a line-up which could easily grace a venue like the Arches. ‘I think I’m most excited about Todd Terry,’ says Haughton. ‘He’s one of the world’s biggest DJs, I think I’m right in saying he’s only played in Scotland once before. Nobody can quite believe we’ve managed to book him. Kerri Chandler’s been a huge success at Southport before, Greg Wilson’s a big name on the funk and disco edits scene and I know Lil Louis has played the Sub Club a couple of times recently, where people said he smashed it.
‘On the Northern Soul side, we’ve got Brad Wilson from Detroit and Honky from New York, who supposedly has the biggest soul collection in the world, he was the guy who bought Frank Wilson’s ‘Do I Love You?’, the most expensive record ever.’ There are plans, says Haughton, to make this an annual event and move towards using the venue’s full three thousand plus capacity, although it’s hard to see how this debut line-up can be beaten.
Cairndale Hotel & Leisure Club, Dumfries, Fri 4–Sun 6 Nov.