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The whole thing started back in November 1997, while on holiday in Tenerife.
Shirley and myself both love Tenerife, and in November when we usually holiday, the weather is great. After one day slonking around the pool, we went for a meal, after which there was nothing we really wanted to do.
There are lots of bars, but they feel it compulsory to either put on an Elvis Presley impersonator or a Karaoke.
We went back to the apartment, sat on the balcony, with a cocktail, and the CD player blasting out the music we love. I remember saying to Shirl that "there must be other Northern Soul fans in Tenerife right now, doing the same as us, wanting somewhere to go."
Perhaps it was the drink, but I decided then and there to organise a holiday for like-minded people.
On my return, I mentioned it to friends who all said that it was a great idea. On the strength of that I sent a deposit for 50 flights and 20 apartments. Things started to take off, and in November 1998, 80 of us set off on what was going to be "the holiday of a lifetime".
We stayed in the Los Olivos apartments for a week, and had our soul nights there. It was wonderful, and I think it was decided that it was just too good to be a one off.
The first record played that first night was Martha Reeves - No one there which was later to become our anthem, and our closing record on most nights since.
The following year we moved venues to The Stadium Bar, word had got round and our numbers increased, in 2001 we increased the holiday to a fortnight for those who wanted to, and added an all-dayer. It was suggested that for the all-dayer the guys would wear silly Hawaiian shirts and the girls grass skirts.
2002 and instead of silly shirts a fancy dress was brought in. The effort that went into those costumes was amazing, but little did we know that it was going to outdone every year from now on. In these early years the size of the holiday was determined by the size of the venue, and each year we sold out by June / July.
In 2003 the Stadium Bar was sold, and we to The Soul Seller. It was bigger and better, we all agreed that it might have been was built for us. There was a huge stage so we took advantage and hired The Temptations tribute show to perform for us, they went down a storm. By now there was over 250 in every night. The atmosphere was electric and the music was as good - - - NO IN FACT IT WAS BETTER than any club that I had been to back in the UK.
The music policy was to play SOUL music. A complete mixture You could hear stuff like Drizzabone - Pressure, Kenny Thomas - Crazy World, Dottie & Millie - Talking bout my baby, Soloman Burke - Cry to me, Impressions - You've been cheating & Jerry Butler - Moody Woman all in the same hour, and all to a packed dance floor.
Things were taking off, and in 2004 someone asked if I would be interested in running a holiday earlier in the year, so as an experiment we had one in March. It went down well, there was only about 100 of us, but we had a great time. The November holiday was the busiest yet, The Temptations returned, we introduced another day time session. The fancy dress got even wilder, we had a pantomime horse, a sumo wrestler, Snow White and the 7 Dwarves to name but a few.
The next year (2005) The Spring Soul in the Sun was even more popular and the November one had over 350 Soul nutcases in every night. The extra day time session had gone down so well that we brought in another 2 sessions per week. At the last minute as a special treat we flew the great Tommy Hunt over, and he gave us two great nights.
I didn't think we could beat last years Fancy Dress, but we did with Colonel Sanders, some Morris Dancers, The Soulvation Army, The Umpa Wumpas (from Charlies Chocolate factory). We had one fancy dress each week and they were just two of the best days ever. It's great to look around and see 350 smiling faces, everyone was having a ball.
It was when I arrived in Tenerife that I was greeted with the news that The Soul Seller was going to be knocked down and a shopping centre built in it's place. I've got to admit I was gutted, but with the help of the owner Derek Fullbrook I started looking for a new venue. The only down side of The Soul seller was it's location on Veronicas Strip. It's about the seediest part of Los Americas, so it gave us a chance to find somewhere in a classier area.
And that's just what we did in 2006, We found a place called La Forteleza de la Mar (The Fort) which is between Puerto Colon and Fanabe Beach. The Spring Soul in the Sun gave us a chance to try it out before November, and saw numbers rise yet again.
November 2006 we hit another problem, The Fort hadn't got a proper dance licence, so we moved to Harleys (which wasn't big enough) then The Jungle Fun Pub. It was probably the hardest one for us to run. One or two complained about Harleys, but in general everyone was on holiday and had a great time.
2007 saw more changes and improvements. For the Spring Soul in the Sun in Tenerife we used The Jungle Fun Pub at nights and The Fort during the day. What a great combination. The Jungle has a fantastic Sound System and great atmosphere, and The Fort is half open air and we can sit and have beer, get a tan and listen to some great music.
A big change came for the Winter holiday of 2007. I had been approached a couple of years earlier by The Sands Beach Complex in Lanzarote, to see if I would be interested in moving Soul in the Sun to Lanzarote and using their complex. To be honest I wasn't interested, but when we had the problem with Harleys, I thought why no go and have a look. I arrived late at night, and to be honest I wasn't too enthusiastic about moving. When I woke up next morning I had a good look around the complex. It was advertised as a Luxury Complex, and believe me it was. There are 7 swimming pools, 2 big rooms for the soul nights, a fantastic outside bar for our day time sessions and it's own beachfront. I could just see the Soul in the Sunners having a ball there. I decided then and there that this was going to be the future of Winter Soul in the Sun for a while
To say it was the best Soul in the Sun so far is a huge understatement. As one Sunner said " I thought that I'd died and gone to heaven"
So in 2008 we stuck to our successful formula of April in Tenerife and Lanzarote in November where we returned with even more Soul Nutcases. It was even better than 2007. We even had our own TV channel with photos taken throughout the holiday. The Fancy Dress days were even better than last year, we had two raft races which were hilarious and the music was awesome.
April 2009 was next and once again we used The Jungle during the day, and The Fort at night for our April trip and Lanzarote in November.
2010 was one Soul in the Sun I'll never forget (as hard as I try). The Jungle closed down, The Fort was being refurbished, so Willie managed to get us in a club called The Metropolitan. It looked great and things were buzzing until they went bust! Willie then told me about a new club called ViVO. I flew out to have a look as as soon as I walked it I could see it was perfect.
It used to be called Treasure Island, but to be honest was a bit run down. Not anymore, it's now been refurbished and is very posh. Thinking back to when we were in the Stadium Bar with one gents toilet and one ladies, it was a nightmare. ViVO has about a dozen ladies cubicles, and is all finished in marble, with plenty of wash basins and those all important mirrors. The gents is the same, but we aren't really bothered too much are we lads!!!!
Everything was set, then that bloody Icelandic volcano erupted!! It was probably one of the worst weeks of my life.
It was on, it was off, it was on, it was off. On the Tuesday before we started on the Friday they opened the airspace, then closed it again. On Wednesday they opened it again. My flight had been cancelled and I couldn't get another till the Sunday. At 10 pm on Wednesday night I checked Jet 2 and they had 2 seats flying Thursday at 10 am. I jumped at them, but still no certainties. I arrived at Manchester airport which seemed deserted, went up to the counter expecting the girl to tell me it was cancelled and was told the flight was on time. I could have kissed her.
Out of 400 people expected only 2 didn't make it, which was pretty amazing.
What a fantastic time we had, ViVO has plenty of outside areas plus a nice dance floor and lots of seating inside, the sound system is great and the drinks prices brilliant (especially for the quality of the club)
In November we were back in Lanzarote, our numbers were down a little, but I reckon it was the best Soul in the Sun we had had in Lanzarote.
2011 and for our April trip we went to ViVO once again we sold out, 550 sunners, the atmosphere was electric. and November was just as good. The same number of people, but spread over 2 weeks.
2012 saw us change the format to just one week for both holidays, and open a second room. We have a massive new open air area as well as our indoor room.
2013 and our numbers are up again, our Spring holiday was the busiest ever, and was then beaten by November.
2014 & 2015 the numbers went up once again, until we have reached our capacity.
We do not let people in off the streets, you MUST have a pass to get in
To be honest ViVO is just too good not to go back to, and I can't see us ever moving again.
We have 2 open areas that are so popular, as well as a great indoor area that holds 250 people
And so it goes on!
We have just finished our 31st holiday. November 2016 sold out in May. So if you want to join us please do not leave it too long.
Although our holidays have been cut to one week, I feel it's best to ram the place and have it bouncing every night. ViVO will be open the day before and the day after Soul in the Sun for those of you who are still in Tenerife. (free admission)
If you are thinking of joining us, please do, so many people have said that they nearly came years ago, and boy do they regret it.
I'll see you in the sun
If you are interested in Soul in the Sun, and have any questions you can contact Eddy here
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