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Interview: Pacha Christmas Ball

With the Pacha Christmas Ball coming up on Saturday, Claire Griffiths interviewed one of the organisers to discover the stories behind the event.

Claire Griffiths: Who are you and what’s your background?

Kevan Schools:  I used to be a secondary school English teacher in London. I moved back to Blackpool and now own and run children’s homes for teenagers in care. Parallel to that I’ve always been involved in the live music and clubbing scene. My band, Touch the Pearl, has been going on and off for over 20 years now.  It is a 10-piece band knocking out unique versions of classic disco, dance, soul and funk tunes.  I can’t wait for Saturday night when we play the Pacha Ball at the Tower Ballroom!ttp

CG: We know the ball has had various homes and had been run by the late Chris Dearden and was known for being a classic event. It’s great news that it is back at The Tower. How did you get involved with the organisation of it?

KS: The idea to revive the Christmas Ball was born over a few mojitos in the back garden of my friend and partner, Ric Porteus’ villa in Ibiza this October. Ric, myself and his wife, Nikki, were expressing general dismay at the demise of the Ball since Chris passed away. We had both known Chris as a friend and my band had played at the Ball on several occasions in the 90s. I had attended nearly every Ball since they started – I think in the late 80s! Ric, who works for Pacha in Ibiza, sold me on the idea of obtaining the Pacha tour license which would allow us to present and brand the event under the Pacha logo.  We knew that this would help us secure DJs but more importantly, secure the punters. Pacha coming to Blackpool? That was a crazy idea! Brilliant!

We decided to check the availability of the Ballroom and were surprised to learn that there was nothing scheduled on the 22nd December as Strictly was staying in London this year! I came home and met with the Tower ‘top brass’ – Kenny Mew and Steve Holland – who told me they’d had two dozen people wanting to revive the ball and they’d said no to all of them. Why should they say yes to us?  ‘PACHA’ –  I told them!  They’ve both been brilliant in supporting this event – which I actually pitched to them as an event that the town desperately needed in order to cheer itself up after the negative publicity and PR bashing it has recently received!

CG: The line up is incredible this year. Can you tell us who exactly is playing  and what the acts’ backgrounds are?

KS: There is a selection of local DJs helping warm up and glue the evening together – Wallsy, Fez, Napes and Ric Porteus. All have been involved in the local scene and beyond for years now. Then my band Touch the Pearl kick off the proceedings on the main stage for an hour or so – get there early or you’ll miss us – and we’ve got one or two surprises for you.  We are then followed on stage by whatshisname…Oh, yeah, only the man, the myth, the legend that is Mister Norman Jay MBE! Norman Jay kicked off in 80s London playing warehouse parties before the term had even been invented.  His eclectic blend of soul, funk, jazz, house and rare groove has established him as a pioneer of dance music in this country. His ‘Good Times Sound System’ is THE big attraction each year at the Notting Hill carnival but his appearances at Southport Weekenders, Sunday afternoons at The Big Chill and the Snowbombing events are all special, legendary and mind-blowing. He was top of our wish list! I can’t believe he was available at such short notice on the day we wanted him. He’s perfect for the Tower ballroom and I can’t wait to meet him.197182_389175404495224_625898684_n

In addition we’ve got two hours of the brilliant PBR Streetgang, Bonar Bradbury and Tom Thorpe.  They’re a disco-house DJ duo from the Midlands and West Yorks who’ve been ripping up for a while now across the UK, Europe and Ibiza.  They are booked to play Pacha Ibiza next year. Their stuff is just stunning and they are perfect to take the reins from Norman Jay at about 1.30am in the Ballroom.

There are also a couple of Pacha London resident DJs coming up, Rob and Ellis, both main stays of the London Victoria Pacha club.  They know how to turn it on and rip it up!

CG: How did the team behind the ball decided who should be on?

KS: After Norman Jay was confirmed (obviously we went all out to secure Touch the Pearl as well) we knew we had a successful night on our hands. To secure PBR was a cherry on top bonus.

CG: What’s the general vibe: music, dress etc. for this year and what are your hopes for the outcome of the ball?

KS: The first part of the night is going to be a Pacha disco, glam, uplifting, funky and fun.  Then PBR are going to take it a bit deeper, but still funky and carved up with grooves! The formal dress code is optional; style is essential.  Dress to impress, glam up, make an effort. It’s the Tower Christmas ball! It’s going to be the best night of the year!184969_389191841160247_618302943_n

CG: What should we expect, entertainment wise? Are there any specialty acts?

KS:Expect the unexpected! You’re going to have to be there to find out what it’s all about.

CG: What are you most looking forward to at the Ball?

KS: Obviously, shaking hands with my hero, Norman Jay! But mainly I’m looking forward to seeing a huge crowd of Fylde Coast friends having the best night in Blackpool that they’ve had in years.

CG: Finally, tell us the dates, times, prices and where tickets can be bought.

KS: The Pacha Christmas Ball is at the Tower Ballroom this Saturday, 22nd December – 8pm to 4am. Tickets are now £27.50 from the Tower Box Office at Bank Hey Street and online at www.blackpoolball.com

Pre-party is at CoCo at the Clifton Hotel, Talbot Square from 7pm to 10pm and the after party is also there from 3am to 6am

Pacha Love x

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