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Haven, Butlins And All That


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I have just returned from my first Haven experience...

I don't want to sound like a grumpy old man.. but my kids loved it (and that's what counts)!

 

I was surprised by the good quality of the entertainment and was wondering if any members have been in that industry?

any stories to tell? anything? to keep my holiday spirit going for one more day til monday :wacko:

oohh

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I've not been to Haven for years - probably 15 years ago was the last time I was there (We went to Gt Yarmouth) We did enjoy it though - had a great time, and I think things have probably improved as well.

 

I took the kids to butlins when I finally split with my ex - I hated it (mainly the other guests, smoking, chair hogging, dropping litter - all the bad stuff that annoys me) the entertainment was good, but for a family resort - I was amazed that the main arena was split down the middle for smoking/non smoking...

 

Best recent experience was "Potters" resort nr Lowestoft. This is a bit more up market than Butlins, and the presentation/performances were spot on.

http://www.pottersholidays.com/

Not cheap, £1K for 4 of us for 4 nights, inclusive (good food too!)

 

I think at one point there was a 13-piece band playing, video back-projection, with decent lighting and sound.

 

Back OT, I think working in these environments must be good background for a life in entertainment.

 

Jas

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I am currently doing entertainment for a holiday park on the east coast like Butlins but its a bit smaller. I am here Sunday - Thursday and friday and saturday I am doing my normal gigs.

 

Its good as I have a whole audience to try new ideas with and try new games with kids.

Stephen Owens Entertainments

Office: 01704 897078

Mobile: 0782 8270 854

Web: www.stephen-owens.co.uk

Email: Monkey-business-disco@hotmail.co.uk

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I was a Havenmate for 5 years from 1995 to 2000, and loved every minute of it, sometime I miss, I still have many friends in the industry who are now ents managers.

Haven has changed loads over the years though I went to Weymouth Bay this year and it was so different from my days.

 

My boy loves it and his only 3 he doesnt realise that his mum and dad used to be up on stage dancing to the tiger song in our yellow trousers/skirts and stripey jacket (Old school) In fact I was Rory the tiger at one point lol, dont tell you kids though.

 

Here I am second from the top (With the huge sideburns) and my now wife blonde girl on left at the bottom along with my old team at Hayling Island 1997.

 

http://i809.photobucket.com/albums/zz15/subsonic01/Haven.jpg

Edited by FrankieJ

DJ Frankie Knuckles.

 

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Haven has changed loads over the years though I went to Weymouth Bay this year and it was so different from my days.

 

Weymouth bay Haven - brings back memories of hairy baths and farm foods spaghetti left in kitchens for me...

 

 

I used to clean chalets there during one of my school holidays as a teenager.... :huh:

 

 

 

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We were at Marton Mare Haven in Blackpool earlier this year, and I was surprised that the DJ was playing Christmas music early evening - and this was in April!

 

When I asked why this was, I was told that they were still doing their Christmas show "The night before Christmas", and from what I could tell this is something they will be doing all year.

 

Im sure my 2 year old was not the only child to ask "Daddy, why are they doing a Christmas show - when Christmas has already been and gone"?

 

Cheers,

 

Mark

Celebration Sounds Mobile Disco

www.celebrationsounds.co.uk

mark@celebrationsounds.co.uk

07825 641 090

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Weymouth bay Haven - brings back memories of hairy baths and farm foods spaghetti left in kitchens for me...

I used to clean chalets there during one of my school holidays as a teenager.... :huh:

 

Did you keep the uniform... :drool:

:ads:

 

 

Lol

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I have to admit that i am now a holiday snob.

 

When i was 18-25 My wife and i used to go to Presthaven sands (haven holidays with the kids , I used to go the same place when i was a child.

we often got the coach to presthaven and had a budget caravan

 

My daughter two years ago was 18 and for her 18th birthday she wanted to go back , to reminisce so we went as one of her presents

 

For me and all the family all the quaint charm has gone ,now its mega expensive food and drinks which are tacky fast food and plastic glassed pints , 10 deep at bars , arcades packed with chavy kids kicking ten bells out of machines and full of people i don't want to mix with on holiday.

 

At one time i went there because it was a cheap option but in that weekend we spent more than when we went to Cyprus for a week!

 

We now go to upmarket hotels in sunny places but i do miss the fun and family feel of Haven in the 80's and 90's i realise i have become a snob

 

In terms of entertainment i found style and gear were great lots of nice lighting and great audio equipment but the singing and dancing etc were average to below average that weekend we went... compared to my child hood , when i went in the early 90's i saw Edwin Starr for example

 

The staff are always good at these places from bar people to cleaners to managers to entertainment staff.

Rob Star Entertainments
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landline 0161 265 3421
Mobile: 0777 99 777 26

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I have to admit that i am a holiday snob.

 

I also admit i am a holiday snob.. and now Rob has me on the subject..

I was disgusted with how overpriced it was and how they target the Kids for £££££'s. Could have gone abroad.

IMO it's very sad for the great british holiday - All week: Empty Crazy Golf, Empty Bouncy Castles, empty Table tennis - why? £15 for 2 adults and 2 kids to play crazy golf, £2.50 for 10 mins on a bouncy castle, £3 for the experience of table tennis! (and this was all in addition to the weekly Fun pass of £90 for 2 adults and 2 kids)..

Maybe it's always been like that? i dunno..

 

The Chav thing did worry me however it really wasn't bad on that front.. And to be honest we went on a very amazing and expensive holiday to Kefalonia a few years back which contained the same amount of chavvers.

 

Entertainment thou - obviously cheesy as hell but the staff seemed really great, professional people.

 

oohh

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over priced for what thay are and i work on a friday night djing at there club £4.50 for a beer £3.50 for a coke and the club is on site for chips in the park it £2.60 it only £1.00 local. The staff are to biss pulling the holidayers or ther work mate or skiving for a fag to do any work thay say it grate when i keep them on the floor it les work for them

Edited by djshyboy

A DJ IS NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS HE'S FOR LIFE

 

www.bpmdiscos.co.uk

we are here only for the music

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  • 3 weeks later...

Its quite sad really, that the increase in cheap flights abroad along with the downturn in the economy has led to once popular, and thriving Holiday camps closing and falling into ruin......

 

http://i105.photobucket.com/albums/m227/styru/Pontins/DSC_9144.jpg

 

 

http://i105.photobucket.com/albums/m227/styru/Pontins/DSC_9117.jpg

 

 

http://i105.photobucket.com/albums/m227/styru/Pontins/DSC_9096.jpg

 

 

jSoFcvm3530

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I drove past what probably was a Holiday Camp in between St Annes and Blackpool (just south of where the Blackpool Illuminations finish)..

 

Its massive and all boarded up... Most of it behind the front row of chalet buildings has been knocked down (or appears to have been)...

 

 

David

DJ David Graham

Tel: 01204 537716 / 01942 418415

Email: hello@djgraham.co.uk

FB: http://facebook.com/djdavidgraham

Web: [under construction - it really is coming soon :)]

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Sad sights indeed.

 

As far as the Butlins / Pontins / Haven type holidays are concerned I think what has become their greatest enemy is the very thing upon which their foundations were built....AFFORDABILITY. Elements of this word have now become lost in translation, especially now it is more than possible for a family of 4 to enjoy a week in the sun ALL-INCLUSIVE than it is to spend a week in Minehead or Bognor.

 

As far as I am aware they don't give a lot away on terms of gigs for independent DJs either. The DJs in such establishments nowadays seem to be Red / Yellow / Blue coats with the necessary training on how to use the in-house DJ software.

JB's MUSIC MACHINE

Mobile Party & Function DJ covering the South & South-West area

Tel: 07904 265620 or visit www.jbmusicmachine.co.uk

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Sad sights indeed.

 

As far as the Butlins / Pontins / Haven type holidays are concerned I think what has become their greatest enemy is the very thing upon which their foundations were built....AFFORDABILITY. Elements of this word have now become lost in translation, especially now it is more than possible for a family of 4 to enjoy a week in the sun ALL-INCLUSIVE than it is to spend a week in Minehead or Bognor.

 

As far as I am aware they don't give a lot away on terms of gigs for independent DJs either. The DJs in such establishments nowadays seem to be Red / Yellow / Blue coats with the necessary training on how to use the in-house DJ software.

 

 

While I agree with DJ's are usually the redcoats I don't really see that as a bad bad thing ......... If it wasn't for Butlins I would never of become a DJ. I use to DJ in Jaks Nightclub, and the main centre stage and learnt very very quickly from my mistakes!

(Trust me, some chavvy fat bird from brighton comes over and starts on you, you learn!! LOL)

 

The in house systems back when I was a Red.. were simple dual CD players, a quick crossfadeer and a book of CD's !!

We were given no training about which music to put on, about when to fade... nothing...

 

Nowadays, it's all computers and digital ( well at Bognor it is )... Went back there a few months ago and managed to get into all the back areas and see how it's done in 2010 :)

 

But it is sad to see the holiday parks are dying off ........... and I agree with the price situation. It is cheaper to fly abroad now.

The camps that are left really really need to look at their pricing !!

Edited by AlexEntertainment

-------------------------------------------

Web : http://www.alexentertainment.co.uk

Web : http://www.alexskaraoke.co.uk

Phone : 07525 645750 / 0800 612 4979

email : alex@alexentertainment.co.uk

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There is something very eerie and surreal about the deathly silence of these abandoned places, which for many years used to be filled with noise and crowded full of families enjoying their holidays.

 

The camps that are left really really need to look at their pricing !!

 

Its not only the prices which are the issue, but also the very dated looks, facilities and their general condition. Some of these places were designed and built in the 1950's - 1970's and they look every bit as old as every year that they have existed. I know the Blackpool one which David refers to, which was owned by Pontins and is along the main Lytham St Annes road, and from the road the blocks of holiday chalets look like two storey concrete concentration camp. I'm not sure if the main Blackpool - St Anne's road was there when the camp was built, or whether it became a busy main through-route some years later, but it wouldn't be my first choice of holiday destination and neither is it a camp with an especially nice 'sea view', just a main road with some sand dunes the other side of it.

 

Here's a pic taken from the road shortly before the place closed. You've got to love the pole mounted floodlights and barbed wire fence to the far right of the picture which were a lovely touch and completes the prisoner of war camp image. Not the most welcoming place, and i'm not surprised that it closed. I believe that the site is now owned by Ocean Parc's, hopefully if a new camp does arise from the rubble it will be a bit more modern and welcoming than the previous one.

 

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2559/3683984043_09d4403111.jpg

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Ohhhh Dukesy, You've given me a great idea for a Horror Movie! :)

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Web : http://www.alexentertainment.co.uk

Web : http://www.alexskaraoke.co.uk

Phone : 07525 645750 / 0800 612 4979

email : alex@alexentertainment.co.uk

--------------------------------------------

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Blimey Dan - The old bit where the sign used to be is still there.

 

I know what you mean when you say it looks like a concentration camp / prison with the barbed wire.

 

I would hope that it is being developed - there was/had been some demolition going on behind the front facade.

 

Yeah there are massive sand dunes the other side - some of which have been artificially made with old christmas trees. Its not just a single row of dunes either - its pretty high up.

 

Wish we'd taken some photos, but we only drove past it after being at St Annes beach before.

 

Wonder how long ago it closed down though... Qutie a few broken windows and stuff there - and there are even sand dunes formed where they'd blocked the entrance/exit to the car park..

 

David

DJ David Graham

Tel: 01204 537716 / 01942 418415

Email: hello@djgraham.co.uk

FB: http://facebook.com/djdavidgraham

Web: [under construction - it really is coming soon :)]

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Wonder how long ago it closed down though

 

It closed in October 2009

 

It was sold to Ocean Parcs in March 2008, Ocean actually bought all 7 of the remaining Pontins operations in the UK. There must still be money left in the Uk Holiday Market as they paid £49M for 7 Holiday Sites.

 

That picture was taken in early summer 2008, it was still operating but appeared to either be scaling down or was largely under occupied. It struggled through 2009, throughout which it was getting extremely damning reviews from families who had stayed there during the summer.

 

I think that Ocean Parc's decided that the site simply needed too much spending on it to bring it upto scratch, and used funds originally earmarked for the Blackpool project to re-vamp the Southport Pontins instead. It closed in October, which was when the current lease expired (The land it was built on is privately owned)

 

For the early part of 2010, the site was closed and occupied by Travellers.

 

Lots of rumours surrounding its current fate. Some say the land was sold by its original owner and its being demolished for new housing, others say its going to become a leisure / holiday centre complex, some even say that Blackpool airport have expressed an interest in aquiring it.

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I worked as an Entertainer for 3 seasons in Great Yarmouth.

I am Entertainments Manager for a holiday site in Hemsby, Great Yarmouth. I also supply the sound and lighting to the venue as well.

I really enjoy it as I get to meet a lot of new people and get to try out new things; games, party dances etc that I can use out on the road. I have also gained some good contacts in the business through it to.

I have recently purchased 2 costume characters as well, which I wouldnt of done if I wasnt working there. I have cover though so I am still able to do my own gigs etc.

If anyone is in the great yarmouth area pop in and say hi :)

The only problem is I have been addicted to buying new equipment, and when the season ends I am going to struggle to store it all in my house !!

 

Email :: info@nrgize-disco.co.uk

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  • 1 month later...

As a teenager (17) I've been to many of these holidays parks. Use to go with parents when i was 10 - 15 then started going with mates and i have to say for as cheap as you can get them they are a good break (and i dont drink so its cheap for me) But ive been countrywide to these different sites; Haven: Haggerston Castle, Thorpe Park, Golden Sands, Primrose Valley, Orchards, Church Farm, Perran Sands, Quay West, Presthaven Sands, Marton Mere, Cala Gran & Lakeland and out of all of them Marton Mere is the best overall (and some of these holidays parks aint the easiest to get to from South Cumbria specially on a friday evening after work/college.

Also at some of the places ive managed to bribe/blag my way into the control booths. And when you go as a child you dont realise all the work put into these shows, Yer some are awful but there is alot of work put into them, (i realise that now working in the theatre industry)

But my overall view on UK holidays parks is that they are a fun and cheap break away for the weekend and dont have to go abroad to have a good weekend.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have actually worked many times DJing for The Orchards Haven that you have been to Damo.

Some of the holiday sites I have been to have had shocking equipment, and have always ended up bringing my own in. I had to invest in some DI boxes for plugging into bigger sound systems in house, but so far I've only used them a handful of times.

One haven site had 1 CD Player seperate, and 2 speakers with blown horns plugged into a basic mixer. No reverb units of lighting control apart from on or off on lighting. Its amazing to think how much money they make too !!

 

Email :: info@nrgize-disco.co.uk

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And now Pontins are in trouble too....

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11748317

 

Sad times :(

 

 

I've lost 3 bookings because of Pontins going into Administration :( not good.

Hopefully things will pick up tho as apparently tax on flying is going up next year.

 

 

Email :: info@nrgize-disco.co.uk

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