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BREAKING: Graeme Park Confirmed For 'Smoke & Fire Festival' Southport June 2021!

One of the UKs biggest BBQ festivals is coming to Victoria Park on 18th-20th June 2021 and on their opening night (Friday 18th) there will be a House Classics party featuring Hacienda legend Graeme Park and Mark Pickup. Now four years old and glowing nicely, Smoke & Fire Festival in 2021 will be spreading their fires spread to all four corners of the country: Weston-Super-Mare, Southport, Hastings and Colchester, you can expect...

  • Stunning smoked BBQ and fire-cooked foods from the country’s best chefs and traders

  • Live cooking demonstrations hosted by the very best in the BBQ business

  • BBQ competitions to compete in

  • Bars to drink in

  • VIP areas to relax in 

  • Live music & DJs to keep you on your toes

  • All the fire to feed your pyrotechnic desires

There’s something for everyone: amateurs, foodies, BBQ Kings and Queens, the uninitiated, fire pit fanatics, families, newbies, veggies, meaties, omnis, pescies, doggies … and everyone in between!

Early bird tickets for the House Classics event on the Friday are available now for just £18 or you can take it up a notch and pull up a chair and spoil yourself rotten in their exclusive VIP Wildfire Lounge, the choice is yours. (Separate tickets required for Lounge). You can also buy tickets now for the Saturday & Sunday too via the link below.

Over 30 years on the decks, over 20 years on the radio. The story of DJ Graeme Park really mirrors the story of the evolution of dance music and club culture itself. Graeme found himself working in a Nottingham record shop called Selecta disc in the early 1980s, when the very first house records began to filter through from Chicago, Detroit and New York.

When the shop’s owner opened a nightclub, it was only natural he should turn to Graeme to select the discs.Determined to showcasethis new style of music, his reputation as a house pioneer soon brought him tothe attention of Mike Pickering at The Haçienda in Manchester, who asked him to cover for him whilehe went on holiday in 1988. Simply put, there was no-one else in the countrywho could do the job.

TheSummer of Love followed, and Parky quickly became one of the biggest names on the emerging dancescene. Aside from his nineyear residency at The Haç, he was one of the first British DJs to play places like Australia, South America, the USA, Asia and beyond as well as producing and remixing tracks forthe dancefloor, includingThe Brand New Heavies, Inner City, Eric B & Rakim, New Order, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and others. The Haçienda was a club without a purpose until house music filled its cathedral-sized dimensions. It undeniably defined Graeme as a DJ, but after more than three decades as a DJ, that can only be seen asone chapter in an on-going tale: ‘Yeah it was a very big chapter,’ says Graeme. ‘I guess the first waswhen I realised I could DJ and discovered house music from the US. The Haçienda was chapter 2, thenchapter 3 was when it re-opened after closing for a couple of months in 1992. Chapter 4 was when itclosed not long after I left and I played all around the world.

I suppose Chapter 5 was the turn of the century and continuing my journey to where I am right now, with more variety to my gigs and musics election than ever before.Chapter 6 sees my return to live performance, which is what I did before I became a DJ, with the Haçienda Classical show’ As far as Graeme’s concerned, things are as fab as ever. But where is dance music and club cultureheaded? Well, who better to ask directions than the man who wrote the disco A-Z? ‘I started doing itpurely by accident,’ he details. ‘And then realised I was actually pretty good at it. But I never thought I’dend up doing it for over 30 years. And I see no need to stop at the moment. I still love playing fantastic tunes in a variety of different clubs all over the place and people still want me to do it too.’

And where we are now is a very interesting place to be with regular gigs around the UK, Europe and beyond playing a selection of lesser known classic house cuts as well as new and current tunes to audiences made up of die-hard regulars and new clubbers too. There’s also a variety of occasional productions, remixes and collaborations under various guises with people such as legendary Ten Cityvocalist Byron Stingily, Juan Kidd, Natasha Wattsand more. As a respected DJ Graeme regularly delves into the thousands upon thousands of tunes he has collected on vinyl over the years: “House music has made people channel their tastes, so I went back to my roots and pulled out some forgotten classics,” he grins, still in love with process of mining those rich seams of vinyl.

“I love seeing a crowd go wild to a tune they haven’t heard for years or playing something really obscure from 20 years ago that people think is new.”In the past few years Graeme has performed alongside a host oflegendary DJs such as Todd Terry, David Morales, Derrick Carter, Louie Vega, Danny Krivit, Marshall Jeffersonand others for a variety of FAC51 The Haçienda club nights playing a selection of contemporary tunes alongside a variety of forgotten classics. “We want to try and recreate the excitement of the original Haçiendawhen nobody knew what we were playing from one week to the next. I’m also a massive fan of the current crop of young house and dance producers who are making scores of huge club tunes that take their references from over 20 years ago. Response to our occasional Haçienda club nights has been massive from both young and older clubbers alikeand it’s an absolute joy to play alongside legendary DJs that I’ve known and respected for decades.

”Graeme has been a major part of the critically acclaimed Haçienda Classical shows which have performed around the UK since 2016to rapturous response where he performs live alongside the Manchester Camerata Orchestra, Peter Hookand special guest vocaliststo a set of classic club tunes from the 1970s up to the present day. This euphoric show has had rave reviews and gives you the chance to hear classic club tunes like you’ve never heard them before with a 70 piece orchestra, live percussionists and a choir.Graeme even performs some lead vocals at some shows too. The show opened the Pyramid Stageat the Glastonbury Festivalin 2017 and has also performed at the Royal Albert Hallin London, Castlefield Bowlin Manchester, the Isle Of Wight Festivaland lots of other arenas and festivals around the UKas well as in Dublin, Dubaiand Switzerland.Graeme recently releasedcompilation album “Long Live House Volume 01: 1980s” is a triple CD or double vinyl album of early house cuts from 1985 to 1989 which were all massive tunes for Graeme in the early days of house.

Released in December 2018,reaction to the albumhas been hugeand has led to Graeme launching his own Long Live House club nights.Graeme is also producinga forthcoming music documentary called “Embrace The New” which features Marshall Jefferson, Johnny Marr, Shaun Ryder, Peter Hook, Rowetta, Clint Boon, Melanie Williamswith others lined up too.Celebrating over 25years on the radio with shows on Kiss, Galaxy, Key 103, Radio City, Juice FM, Forth Oneand more, Graeme’s years of experience help him understand the specialist skills required by a radio DJ: ‘A lot of radio shows or DJs just play the same big tunes. You can’t simply pretend you’re in a club, you have to talk to the audience and put your personality and knowledge across without sounding like an idiot.’ His weekly Graeme Park presents The Long Live House Radio Showairs on scores of radio stations both in the UK and overseas and brings in a big audience with his mix of new and older tunes mixed together like only he knows how. He also recently produced a documentary “The Making Of The Haçienda Classical” for BBC Radio Manchesterwhere he also presentsa special New Years Eve show.

Whether throughhis live DJ setsin clubs or online, his radio shows, his productions and remixes or simply by getting to know his audience, Graeme has spent more than three decadesgetting his personality across. He was there before it all started, he was at the forefront of the dance scene when it was at its zenith and he’s still there, still rocking it, years later –longer than some of the people on the dancefloor have been on the planet! And the best thing is he still loves it, still loves the music and still loves to play it for people to dance to.‘Yeah, for my entire career I’ve been finding good tunes that I want other people to hear.

The reason I keep doing it is simple: it’s my mission in life to let people hear good music.’The Haçienda is now an apartment building (the developers asked Parky to DJ at the launch; he politely declined). At the back of the building there is a time-line, carved into steel, detailing the history of the club from Madonna‘s early performance to its closure. And there’s Graeme’s name not once, but twice, carved into the metal for time immemorial. What other DJs (what other venues?) have had that significance in clubland?

Southport TV will be working closely with the festival and will have some more news on the rest of the festival very soon.

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