Newcastle Soul Weekender at 48 Watt is all about the music - and dancing

Dan Phelan had one crucial requirement in his search for a venue to host the upcoming inaugural Newcastle Soul Weekender. There had to be a wooden floor to dance on.

"With soul music in general, people like dancing," explained Phelan, who is one of the organisers of the event.

"A lot of people that will be coming to the event, they just want to dance all night for six hours straight and lose themselves in the music. That's what the whole thing is about for them: the dancing.

"You have to have the wooden floor for that style of dancing. Usually there's a bit of talcum powder sprinkled on the floor to make it a little bit slippery so your feet can glide around a bit better and you can do spins and that sort of thing."

Newcastle Soul Weekender will be staged across two nights on June 28 and 29, kicking off at Customs House on the Friday night, with DJs spinning tunes ahead of the main event at 48 Watt Street the following evening.

There are 18 DJ spots across the event, with Newcastle soul aficionados DJ Tone, Phil Dando and Mark Evans playing alongside Phelan, plus guests. All of the cuts will be strictly played on 45 vinyl singles, which is part of the appeal.

"It's all original 45s. That's a big part of the scene, so a lot of it is a chance to play your rare soul records," Phelan says.

"A lot of people will be playing super rare records that are super valuable that you won't hear anywhere else in the country. There will be a lot of songs that people don't know mixed in with songs that people do know, which is what I love about it."

Phelan says the music will span a cross-section of the genre, from '60s soul and Motown classics through to rhythm and blues, Northern soul and modern soul. He hopes the event will become a regular gathering for like-minded soul music fans. Fifty percent of tickets have already sold.

Phelan, who started DJing in Newcastle a decade ago, is a passionate fan of soul music. He holds a weekly Sunday afternoon residency at The Lucky alongside long-standing Newcastle DJ Tone at the Sunday Soul Sessions. All profits raised from the Newcastle Soul Weekender will be donated to local charity, Soul Cafe.

In addition to the two nights of music, an afternoon event will be held at 48 Watt Street on June 29 from noon to 3pm in The Atrium section of the building. The bar will be open and there will be a mini record fair set up by Revolve Records, and DJs spinning soul tunes (entry is free).

Tickets to the Newcastle Soul Weekender evening event at 48 Watt Street cost $10 online at trybooking.com or $15 at the door. The event at Customs House kicks off at 5pm. Entry is free.

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