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Beatport to host 24+ hour festival for mental health

Beatport, the online music store for electronic music, is hosting a 24+ hour virtual music festival in support of mental health, featuring DJ sets alongside talks, panels and workshops led by experts in the field.

#YouAreNotAlone will feature sets from DJs including Adam Beyer, Boys Noize and Yousef, livestreamed on Beatport’s Twitch channel this Saturday (7 November) at 7 pm PT.

The event is in collaboration with non-profit mental health organisation When the Music Stops and wellness tech company Silentmode, whose founder Bradley Young will host discussions on mental health and the power of music as a preventative solution.

Also appearing at the festival is Breathonics composer and sleep coach, Tom Middleton; psychotherapist Dr Aida Vazin; leading breathwork expert Stuart Sandeman; artists and mental health advocates Ceri and Rebekah; DJ Sacha Robotti and others.

“Mental health has been one of the most talked-about topics in our industry for years and should continue to be destigmatised”

“These are trying times for our industry. Now more than ever taking care of ourselves, our minds, our wellbeing, and the wellbeing of others, is truly vital,” says Beatport’s CEO, Robb McDaniels.

“Mental health has been one of the most talked-about topics in our industry for years, and this is a global topic that should continue to be discussed and destigmatised. Everyone at Beatport takes this topic very seriously and will continue to bring visibility to it.”

Alongside the DJ sets and panels, participants can also attend a Breathonics Live Session with breathwork expert Stuart Sandeman or chill out in the Breathonics room, which will feature a loop of sleep tracks curated by Silentmode.

“With loneliness, depression, and suicide on the rise, Beatport is becoming a leader in normalising these conversations. When The Music Stops is honoured to collaborate on such a powerful initiative. These issues affect all races and all religions. Together we can make an impact and let people know ‘You Are Not Alone’,” says Joshua Donaldson, founder of When The Music Stops.

 


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‘A space of music discovery’: New ADE boss talks first year

The 24th edition of Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) will take place under new leadership, as director Mariana Sanchotene looks to boost daytime offerings, incorporate different art forms and explore the crossover between music and technology.

From 16 to 20 October, ADE festival and conference will take over the concert halls, clubs, and theatres of the Dutch capital. More than 2,500 artists and 600 speakers are expected to take part in the event.

“ADE is massive, it really is mind blowing to be in charge,” Sanchotene tells IQ ahead of her first year leading the event. “The planning is going well so far and it is looking like we will have a strong programme this year.”

The festival recently released its second wave of artists, with DJs Avalon Emerson, Peggy Gou and Carl Craig joining previously announced acts Martin Garrix, the Black Madonna, New Order, Carl Cox and Helena Hauff.

A record 400,000 people attended ADE last year, but Sanchotene states the event has no ambition for growing attendance further.

“We are staying with the same number of venues [140] as last year and expect to match attendance,” says the ADE boss, explaining that the city of Amsterdam is “overwhelmed” by visitors as it is.

“My advice to anyone attending ADE is to experiment with new artists”

“The focus is on increasing artistic quality and on growing the day programme in particular to showcase the crossover between electronic music and different cultural forms such as the visual and performing arts,” explains Sanchotene.

The crossover between different musical styles is important for the ADE director too, who believes that people are “more curious” these days and more likely to deviate from what they know.

“My advice to anyone attending ADE is to experiment with new artists. Don’t just go for the usual suspects, really dig into what new talent is on offer,” Sanchotene tells IQ. “ADE is a space of music discovery – I am very much looking forward to seeing how all the acts turn out.”

The 2019 conference will focus on the celebration of 100 years of electronic musical instruments, with exhibits of old equipment and experts speaking about antique gear. The event will also look to the future with an exploration of how technology is shaping the industry, particularly of how augmented reality and gaming are interacting with electronic music.

Health will also be another important topic at the conference, with panel discussions on wellbeing and relaxation spaces to “remind people of the balance” between work, socialising and rest.

Tickets for ADE 2019 are available here, priced at €450 for a five-day festival and conference pass and at €300 for a four-day conference-only pass. Prices go up on Sunday 1 September.

 


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Making female DJs normal, not a novelty

Red Bull Music’s monthly Normal Not Novelty returned this week, hosting workshops for aspiring female sound engineers, producers and vocalists.

Launched in 2017, Normal Not Novelty aims to educate and inspire the next generation of female producers and DJs, in a subset of the industry that is particularly male-dominated. A recent report revealed that, over the past seven years, only 2% of producers appearing in Billboard’s Hot 100 year-end charts were female.

“Normal Not Novelty provides a space to make women feel comfortable in pursuing a career in music,” says DJ and producer Bamz, who recently led a Normal Not Novelty workshop at London’s Red Bull Music Studios.

“People tend to presume you are a singer or a songwriter. We are trying to lessen this divide so future generations can look at us and see it’s possible to be whatever you want to be,” states Bamz.

For Karen Nyame, who DJs under the alias KG, Normal Not Novelty is integral for “removing misconceptions where women are concerned.”

“I’ve had to deal with a lot of covert misogyny – people assume I don’t have the knowledge based on my gender”

“I’ve had to deal with a lot of covert misogyny – people assume I don’t have the knowledge based on my gender,” explains Nyagme. “They still want to work with me, because I am good at what I do, but they are patronising at the same time.”

For both producers, the networking aspect of Normal Not Novelty is the most important. “Music production shouldn’t be an isolated process,” says KG. “It takes the pressure off to find other women with like-minded goals all in one place.”

The topic of gender-neutral line-ups has been at the forefront of conversation this festival season, and has divided opinions across the music industry. Primavera Sound presented its first gender-balanced billing this year, telling IQ that “the ‘pale, male and stale’ paradigm” needs to change.

“It’s down to laziness and apathy,” says Nyame in reference to male-heavy line-ups. “There are amazing women out there and a strong influx of female DJs coming through, but we’re not getting a look in.

“To compensate, organisers often bunch us all together on female-only stages, which defeats the whole point of integration.”

“There are amazing women out there and a strong influx of female DJs coming through, but we’re not getting a look in”

Rather than setting quotas or shoehorning female artists onto specific stages, the producer believes more balanced line-ups will only result from “bookers and promoters being willing to go out of their way to take risks and remove the predictability from line-ups.”

Looking to the future, Bamz says a change in attitude towards women in the industry “will come from basic education and hearing anecdotes of women who have succeeded in whichever part of the industry they work in.”

Bamz adds that “giving confidence to younger people, providing positive role models and teaching them to be in control of the art they make,” is the key to achieving more equality.

The next Normal Not Novelty sessions are taking place as part of London’s four-week Red Bull Music festival, with a Notting Hill Carnival special on 20 August and an event on 10 September in conjunction with local label Hyperdub, at the Red Bull Studios in Covent Gardens.

Pictured: (left to right, top) Bamz, Tash LC, KG, Katie Tavini, Kamillah Rose (bottom) Valentina Magaletti, Marta Salogni.

 


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Chicago venues sued for “crippling” amusement tax

Cook County, an Illinois county centred on the city of Chicago, has been compared to a ‘moustache-twirling ’80s movie villain’ for its attempts to extract hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes from a number of small Chicago music venues.

Any establishment hosting “live theatrical, live musical or other live cultural performances” is currently exempted from Cook County’s 3% amusement tax. However, the Chicago Tribune reports two venues – the Evil Olive (400-cap.) and Beauty Bar (750-cap.), both of which host live music and DJs – are now being ordered to pay around US$200,000 each in back taxes because, argues the county, the exemption is only applicable to “any of the disciplines which are commonly regarded as part of the fine arts, such as live theatre, music, opera, drama, comedy, ballet, modern or traditional dance and book or poetry readings.”

“Rap music, country music and rock and roll do not fall under the purview of ‘fine art’,” says Anita Richardson of Cook County’s Department of Administrative Hearings.

Bruce Finkelman, who owns the Beauty Bar, says being forced to pay the tax “would put us out of business”. “That’s a crippling amount of money,” he tells the Tribune.

“It would put us out of business. That’s a crippling amount of money”

Both venues are now fighting the county in court.

Writing for the Chicago Reader’s blog, The Bleader, Reader social media editor Ryan Smith says by ‘fine arts’  the county “seems to imply arts events where white people of a certain age and income level politely clap while holding programmes, where socialites go to rub elbows clad in expensive Italian fabric and tinkle gold-rimmed glasses at cocktail receptions”.

Smith compares Cook County councillors to “cartoonish, moustache-twirling villains from a snobs-versus-slobs ’80s movie”. He writes: “They’re the functional equivalent of John Lithgow’s self-righteous pentecostal preacher character from the 1984 film Footloose, outlawing dancing and rock ‘n’ roll out of fear of the spiritual corruption of the youth. They’re the fun-hating suits and stiffs who want to turn beloved clubhouses into parking lots; the fascist principal who tells the iconoclasts to cut their hair and get jobs; the priggish cultural elitist sneering at the music that ‘kids these days’ love while huffily insisting something like Beethoven is ‘real art’.”

Lawyer Matthew Ryan, representing Beauty Bar, says he will bring a DJ to the courtroom for the next hearing in October to prove that DJs produce music “the same as any instrumentalist”.

 


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