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mo' fidelity | November 15, 2018

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Sunlit vibes at Southern Soul Festival 2016

Nevyana Boycheva

‘The best festival in the world, eh?”, said Dom Servini, founder of Wah Wah 45s, to the crowd from the Main Stage of Southern Soul Festival. It was one of those little moments one could not easily forget – the guy had a point. We had just seen bossa nova maestro Marcos Valle perform some of his greatest tracks and the act that was about to follow was no other than the mighty Peven Everett (Gabrieeeeeeel playin’).

And yet last year Southern Soul Festival was on The Guardian’s list of ’10 of the best festivals in Europe…that you’ve probably never heard of’.

That might actually be one of the best things about SSF. Since it’s not on every list of hip music events happening in Europe, the result is a friendly atmosphere and a crowd (mostly) full of people attending simply because they’ve been waiting too long to dance to their favourite music on the beach.


And the music in question was perfect for that purpose. Hate to pinpoint genres but I’ll just say that Southern Soul Festival got a whole lot of soul. It also got plenty of bossa nova, jazz, latin, disco, funk and some contemporary house music beauty.

Diversity‘ is the first word that comes to mind when playing the associations game. Multicultural both in terms of the crowd and the acts themselves, the festival’s line-up was full of musical jewels having travelled to Montenegro from all corners of the world – from Bulgaria to Brazil and spanning ages from Little Lu‘s 20 to señor Valle‘s impressive 72.

So, what else do you want to know? Here are some highlights:

Strictly vinyl

The whole festival was a statement of support for the classic format. In a time when all the world’s music is one online stream away, vinyl sounds better, looks better and it’s tangibility brings one closer to the music. Besides, every DJ looks better when playing vinyl. Just kidding. Or not.


Feeling intimate on the beach

Priding itself in being a boutique festival where one spends less time queueing and more dancing, Southern Soul is an ideal getaway for those who find most festivals overwhelming.


Amazing selection of artists

Some might call it ‘underground’ but I’ll just say that the line-up was created for the sheer pleasure of true music lovers.  

One doesn’t have many chances to see Ed Motta, Dayme Arocena and Yussef Kamaal Trio live in one evening, after having danced to Henry Wu’s DJ set, on the same stage where Dom Servini and Rich Medina killed it in the opening night, then spend 4 hours in the sunlight while two lovely girls spin the rarest of vinyl and finish everything off with Marcos Valle live on the beach, followed by Peven Everett‘s crazy performance.

And yet Southern Soul Festival provided all these opportunities.


A Balkan affair

Thursday night on the Organic stage was in the hands of Serbia & Bulgaria and the vibes were hot. Big up to Funkusion, Phillie P & Spacewalker!



The ‘Оrganic-orgasmic’ stage…

…as Dom Servini called it, was the place where the greatest magic happened – isolated from the two bigger stages, closest to the beach, with great DJs and the most dedicated music fans. It felt like being in your favourite bar where everybody is friends with everyone else.

Kind of like a throwback to a time when music and clubbing were all about love and unity. Not about showing off your new clothes and getting wasted.


The location of Southern Soul Festival…

…was the 10-kilometres long Velika Plaza – a sandy beach with clear waters and a lot of wind for kite-surfers to enjoy. Located 9 km south of the city of Ulcinj and some 30 kilometres from the Albanian border, Velika Plaza felt like paradise for everyone who loves sunbathing, swimming, kite-surfing and sipping beers in the shadows with an amazing soundtrack.


Donna Leake & Ece Duzgit…

…were absolutely beautiful in terms of music, looks and attitude during their 4-hours long set. The ladies totally blew the orgasmic stage up with an impeccable selection of rare funk, soul, disco and latin gems spiced up with a bit of Turkish sound and lots of smiles.



The music inspiration

Okay, I know this text is too long already but it was an impressive weekend so I really had a lot to say. A week later I’m still in the same carefree mood in which I was at 5 pm on a Saturday afternoon on the beach simply enjoying the moment.

See you again next year!

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