Hardcore Heaven Presents:
The Hardcore Heaven Weekender 08
Pontins
Southport
Friday 16th – Sunday 18th May 2008

The Hardcore Heaven Weekender has firmly established itself as one of the main events in the raving calendar, as this is one of the event definitely not worth missing. The weekender is now its 4th year and has grown a fantastic reputation, as it has won the best hardcore event at the past 3 official Hardcore Awards.

Being no stranger to the weekender I knew exactly what to expect as I had last attended back in 2006. This was when it was rather chilly and the whole Pontins complex was covered in snow!! Having missed last years event I thought it was about time that I made the mission up north to reacquaint myself with Southport .The Weekender’s lineup once as always featured the best talent from the UK Hardcore scene that was spread across 2 nights added with some outdoor daytime raving too.

We headed up the M6 towards the northwest and were bombarded with numerous tailbacks and diversions, a typical Friday afternoon along the M6! Finally we arrived in Southport and having stocked up at the local Tesco’s we headed down to the Pontins holiday complex thank god for our trusty sat nav as the holiday camp is poorly sign posted.

Outside of the main entrance leading down to the beach front was a large convey of cars. I had noticed that there was a large security presence which meant the time getting into the complex was delayed, as they where performing numerous random searches at the main entrance of peoples cars as belongings.

Once inside the holiday camp we parked up and headed over to the reception inside the main complex to obtain our keys, passes and lanyards for the weekend. The lanyards came in rather handy as they featured the set times throughout the weekend so we could plan our 48hours of hardcore madness! Loaded with our wristbands, lanyards and chalet keys we made room 319 our base for the weekend.

Our chalet was only a brief walk to the main complex, with us booking quite last minute we were only able to get a standard room which contained 2 single beds and a sofa bed / double bed. The complex wasn’t due to open till 8 and with our long journey we decided to have a short rest and get ourselves ready before heading over to the main complex.

Friday night was hosted by Uproar, having got ready and a few pre party drinks we made our way over to the complex. The production inside the main arena was 2nd to none with no expenses sparred. The sound system was loud and clear, at the front of the arena was a large stage where the dj box was situated with plenty of space for the mc’s and dancers to perform.

Either side of the dj stand there where two large projector screens added with an enormous LCD display. Dotted around the ceiling there were plenty of inflatables, I was impressed with the lighting in here particular the oldskool green lasers that illuminated the arenas ceiling

I managed to catch the tail end of the Essex duo Vibes and Livelee, the oldskool legends where playing an upfront set tonight. Livelee had the crowd reciting his lyrics by both the older and younger ravers who were enjoying his infamous lyrics. Vibes’s set featured plenty of new material including ‘Hardcore miracle’, ‘Twisted’ before he closed the set with an updated remix of the hardcore classic ‘Autumn dayz’.

Next up was the Uproars very own Seduction and MC Rude. The Uproar pair kept the crowd on their toes with stomping set with seduction dropping a number of bangers from his Maximum Impact label including ‘Get down’, ‘Check out the sound’ and ‘Sunlight’

All the way from Italy was the all mighty Tommy knocker, Tommy Knocker came fourth with the toughest, nastiest and heaviest beats he had to offer. Tommy Knocker was playing a very hard set, this was definitely not for the faint hearted!! The temperate was raised with him dropping his infamous classic ‘Twist’ amongst many other tracks. Ribbz was doing what he does best complimenting the music and chatting when needed.

The heat started to take its toll midway through this set so I decided to head outside to cool myself down. Back to the main arena and Raver Baby head honcho aka the Boss Hixxy was on.

There was a surprised addition to this set as this saw the return of MC2. Hixxy rolled out with the hardcore slammers from his raver baby as he dropped ‘Heavens above’, ‘Overlode’ and ‘Perfect world’. I was quite surprised to see the MC2 duo of Storm and Whizzkid on stage once again, the magic that these two possess is unbelievable especially as they where both on fire tonight bouncing off each others lyrics!

Hixxy flipped the switch and dropped Jonny L’s monster drum and bass anthem ‘Back to your roots’ which had the crowd brocking out momentarily. Hixxy continued to roll out with ‘Wii go crazy’, ‘The pills’ before closing with ‘I’m hardcore and this is what I do’.

Following on from the Raver Baby supremo was the turn of Joey Riot and Kurt. The Lethal Theory pair where performing a live PA, MC Enemy was hosting whilst performing a few vocals. Joey Riot also joined Enemy on the mic as he did a spot of mcing along with some singing too. The Lethal theory crew really know how to entertain the ravers with their live stage show as they attacked the crowd with a pair of angle grinders along with various other characters too.

After the Lethal Theory PA we decided to go back to the chalet for a while to rest up and have a few drinks. We returned just in time for the final set of the evening from DJ Re-Con. Re-Con ensured the final 60 minutes of the Friday night went off with a bang playing slammer after slammer. Re-Con was playing lots of his own material including ‘Sure feels good’ and ‘Need your loving’ remix

Storm was on the mic and hyped up the crowd using the stage to his advantage whilst complementing Re-Con’s tune selection and ensuring no-one was standing for the final hour on the opening night. Re-Con continued to rock the crowd as he dropped ‘It doesn’t matter’, ‘Wii go crazy’ and ‘Magic Touch’ remix before closing off with a remix of the hardcore classic ‘Paradise and Dreams’.

The main arena began to slowly empty but this didn’t mean the party had come to an end as there where numerous after parties happening at various chalets dotted in and around Pontins holiday camp. After receiving a few text messages I found myself at one of these numerous parties for a few hours, before finally I ran out of stamina and headed back to the chalet for some much needed sleep to recharge my batteries.

After a few hours of sleep I was ready to take on what Saturday had to throw at me. Once I’d freshen up we decided to have a wander around the holiday camp, I noticed that there where a couple of after parties that where still running strong into the daytime. With various people brining their own home studio setups, they where putting on their own mini parties throughout the daytime to keep themselves occupied till later on.

For those who couldn’t locate a chalet party which wasn’t that hard to be fair, there was the main outdoor party which was located outside the main complex. Located out here was a mixture of the freshest new talent alongside a number of firm crowd favourites. I had arrived here quite late into the afternoon too find the Fusion duo of Ramos and Marley where on.

With there being no oldskool or classics last night I was looking forward to hearing a hardcore classic set from Ramos and Marley, unfortunately this was not the case as the pair where playing an upfront set. Quite understandable as since Ramos has returned back to the hardcore circuit he has been pottering away inside his studio making plenty of new material.

It looked like Nicky Blackmarket was not going to show as Ramos had been playing for over 90 minutes out here. We decided to grab some lunch back at the chalet whilst sat in our chalet we could her in the distant background the superman tune aka ‘Vinyl Syndicate‘s - Man of Steel’. That could only mean one thing Nicky Blackmarket was in the building!

Running like a speeding train I left our chalet to the outside complex and caught the remainder of the jungle legend. Nicky was playing a classic drum and bass set littered with timeless classics from the various jungle drum and bass eras including ‘Helicopter’, ‘Dual voltage’ and ‘ Ready or Not’, before closing up with the current drum and bass dancefloor slammer ‘Machete’. Nicky tried to play for an extra 10 minutes before being told by the security to play his last record as they closed off the outdoor complex.

Back to the chalet for a much needed power nap after a few pre party drinks to set the mood, we headed over to the complex for the final night the remaining hours of the Hardcore Heaven Weekender and caught the tail end of Adam Harris.

After Adam Harris it was the turn of Ultrabeat I was quite eager to see them play to be honest, quite mad considering over the years I’ve been following hardcore and have seen them play a DJ set, but of course under there different aliases.

Ultrabeat where playing a scouse house set the tempo was ideally considering the madness of the previous 24 hours. The set was the perfect pace with down tempo hardcore remixes with track such as ‘Hold me tonight’, ‘Take me away’ and Paradise and Dreams’. Midway through this set there was a special live PA from N-force as they performed ‘Right by your side’ which went down a treat!

Fellow Liverpudlian DJ Squad-E took over and was accompanied by Whizzkid MC. The Liverpudlian upped the tempo back to hardcore speed and was playing plenty of upfront hardcore including ‘tricky disco’, ‘My direction’ and ‘Save me’.

Next up was the godfather of hardcore the one and only legendary DJ Slipmatt. Slipmatt was playing classics set which went off inside the main arena, there were lots of tunes from the yesteryear being played mainly from the 95-97 era. Classics such as ‘Take me away’, ‘Devotion’ and ‘Higher love’, where all featured throughout this set from the hardcore legend. MC Smiley opened the set and got the crowd in the party mood, smiley was later joined by Charlie B.

Those who remember the early hardcore days will always remember the legendry duo of Slipmatt and Charlie B and what a fantastic team they were tonight! Slipmatt continued with the hardcore classics as he played ‘Here I am’, ‘Heart of gold’ and ‘Your mine’, this definitely made up for the lack of oldskool from the previous night.

From one hardcore legend of the yesteryear to today’s top boy, gracing the 1210’s was the number one DJ Darren Styles alongside hardcore’s number one MC, MC Storm. The pair rocked the crowd from the word go with Darren laying down a pounding uplifting set with plenty of crowd favourites including ‘Flashlight’, ‘Free your mind’ and ‘Cutting deep’.

MC Storm was amazing throughout the set with Darren bouncing from left to right on the stage ensuring everyone was kept hyped up whilst laying down his infamous lyrics.
Darren continued to play ‘Cokane’, ‘Amigos Forever’, ‘Truly madly deeply’, ‘Sound without a name’ before closing with ‘Cry for you’.

Next up was the award winning duo from Essential Platinum Dougal and Gammer.
Dougal and Gammer where performing a live PA of their material with Whizzkid MC hosting the set. Dougal did his magic on a set of keyboards whilst Gammer took to the decks and was showing off some of his turntable skills whilst scratching with Whizzkid adding his beatboxing.

Essential Platinum vocalists Jenna and Cat Knight where in the house as well as they performed a number of tracks including the hardcore number one hit ‘A new felling (let it shine)’ along with ‘Let it show’ and ‘When I close my eyes’

From one label to another as it was the turn of the Quosh trio of Sy, Unknown and MC Storm it was time to get hardcore, True Hardcore! There was lots of brand new material from the Quosh studios being played along with a number of remixes of tracks such as ‘Makin me wanna Dance’, ‘Rock ya hardcore’ and ‘Devotion’.

Sy and Unknown are known for there scratching abilities and with MC Storm doing the mic duties the 3 where having numerous scratch battles throughout the set. Storm was mimicking the scratch patterns from both Sy and Unknown whilst taking full advantage of this massive stage to rock the crowd. With the long day ahead of us tomorrow I decided to retire to my chalet after the Quosh showcase.

What a mad weekend with over 3,000 up for it ravers with party people travelling from each and every corner of the UK representing their home town in Southport.

There was next to no trouble throughout the weekend, there was only a few skirmishes but nothing that got out of hand. What I had noticed compared to my last visit that there was a more prominent presence from security and the local authorities to ensure things ran smoothly.

The production over the venue was spot on very impressed with the laser lighting and décor with numerous inflatables and UV drapes dotted around the arena. The sound system was spot on as once again as Hardcore Heaven where using the Funktion one sound system which can be found at numerous drum and bass parties and dance festivals.

Only qualms over the weekend was the lack of oldskool especially for us older ravers as the United Dance arena was cancelled on the Friday, though Slipmatt and Nicky Blackmarket did make up for that. Also that this year you were unable to book an extra day at the event especially as the Sunday daytime closing out party has been the highlight of the past weekenders in Southport so unfortunately we had missed that this year.

But other than that I really enjoyed my 2nd Hardcore Weekender and this year we wasn’t let down by the British unlike my previous visit back in 2006!

Highlight of the weekend has to be the reunion of MC2 for Hixxy’s set as that definitely stood out for me and many others. It was great to see Storm and Whizzkid doing the MC2 combo once again rolling off each others lyrics once again and with Hixxy’s tune selection that was definitely the icing on the cake.

It’s quite understandable to see how successful the Hardcore Heaven Weekenders have become especially now in its 4th year. The Weekender has firmly become one of the main events of the ravers yearly calendar and definitely not one to miss, as you have to wait an agonising 12 months to catch the weekender once again!

Massive shouts to Grant, Michael, James, Darren and the Slammin Vinyl team, Storm , Whizzkid and Jade, Livelee and Jodie, Darren Styles, Breeze, Knighty, Nicky Blackmarket, Lou lou, Unknown, , Marc Smith, Sy, Charlie B, Slipmatt, Lime Jay J, Vibes and Alex, Ramos, Marley, Supreme, Sunset Regime, Brisk, Hixxy, Re-con, Chris Henry, Squad-E, Faydz, Sharkey, Wotsee, Smiley and Luci, Joey Riot and Abbie, Kurt, Static (Happy Birthday), Vicky, Casper, Ribbz, Rude, Mental, Enemy, Adam Harris, Dougal, Gammer, Druid, Rick Flipside, Uplift and Scar.

Shauny C, Nick Xero, Will and the 319 massive!, Mat KotR, Katie, Jemma and Foggy, Michelle Whizzfish, Amanda, Anna Marie, Nathan, Nelza, Staci, Rob, Izzy, Heffers, Lewis, Adam Lee, Charl, Wrighty, Emma, Mark Pleasuredome, Chris Mental raver, Will, Haydn, Ciarra, Gemma, Charl, and the Shrewsbury crew, Tina, Cruze and Heather, Wiggi and Sam, Sawayer, Thumpa, Hiney, Hanna, Foxyrie, Big Scott, Leanne and the Bristol crew, Gareth, Lucy, Gsus, Gemma and Mitch, Sarah, Katie, Kelly, Damo, Lee Hatty, Tessa, Nixxy, Kev Pikey, Mad Maz, Loopy Lin, Brooksy, Gav B, Ricta, Dave the Rave, Obie, Emma, Shaun, Brian BK, Savage, Tristian also to everyone else whose names I don't' know but faces I recognise, as I know I’ve forgotten enough people!

Written by Xtra-C Flashbackin' & Rewindin'
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