Let us dance, says UK electronic music sector
Some of the most prominent artists from the UK’s dance music sector have joined forces with festivals, nightclubs and industry figures to issue an urgent plea for support from the government.
The #LetUsDance campaign urges the government to recognise dance music clubs and events as an important part of the nation’s art and culture in parity with the wider live music sector, to ensure equal access to support.
The campaign also encourages fans, artists and industry professionals to post a photo from a recent club night or dance festival, along with the #LetUsDance hashtag, with a note supporting its place within arts and culture. Supporters can also send a letter to their local MP to emphasise the importance of the sector.
The call for support comes following the live music industry’s #LetTheMusicPlay campaign, which preceded the announcement of a £1.57 billion support package for Britain’s arts and culture sector.
However, the government narrative to-date on the allocation of this support has been unclear, and appears not to include nightclubs, dance music events and festivals.
The Night Time Industries Association states it is “keen to gain assurances from government that dance music venues and nightclubs will be eligible to apply for the funding”, fearing it may “be reserved purely for venues like the Royal Albert Hall and the West End”.
“We call on the government to recognise this sector as a significant part of the nation’s art and culture, and ensure fair and equal access to the support offered to the wider live music sector”
The campaign is supported by artists including Fatboy Slim, Massive Attack, Thom Yorke, Simone Butler of Primal Scream, Caribou, Four Tet, Norman Jay OBE, Daniel Avery, Charlotte de Witte, Pete Tong and Andy C.
“Nightclubs and festivals are the beating heart of the UK dance scene; providing collective joy to millions of fans each year, providing employment and incomes for an interdependent network of hundreds of thousands of people, while contributing hundreds of millions to the economy,” says Greg Marshall, general manager of the Association for Electronic Music (Afem).
“We call on the government to recognise this sector as a significant part of the nation’s art and culture, and ensure fair and equal access to the support offered to the wider live music sector.”
Sacha Lord, founder of the Warehouse Project club nights and nightlife advisor for Greater Manchester says he is “astounded and confused” that the government’s arts rescue package does not include the UK dance music industry.
“There has always been an elitist snobbery towards electronic and dance music, however, I would argue that this sector reaches more people in terms of culture, as some of our theatres do,” says Lord.
“I call out the government, not only to recognise this part of the industry, but also put in place guidance and support to protect our venues, festivals, artists, freelancers, and supply chain. That is why today, I’m fully backing the #LetUsDance Campaign.”
There are over 1,600 nightclubs across the UK, which play a significant role in supporting the wider night-time economy that generates £66bn in revenue per year (6% of the UK’s total).
ADE director Mariana Sanchotene leaves role
Mariana Sanchotene, the director of electronic music conference and festival Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), is leaving her position after one year in the role.
Sanchotene, who led the 24th edition of ADE in October this year, will depart from the ADE Foundation on 6 December.
Prior to becoming ADE director in October 2018, Sanchotene worked for Dutch electronic music promoter ID&T, Cirque du Soleil and Stage Entertainment, and now plans to continue her career in the cultural sector.
“This has been a special year, where we have worked hard to give ADE the place in the creative sector that it now has and deserves,” says Sanchotene. “I am very proud of it”.
“We are indebted to Mariana Sanchotene for her full dedication to ADE”
Willemijn Maas, chairman of the ADE Foundation supervisory board, comments: “We are indebted to Mariana Sanchotene for her full dedication to ADE. We wish her every success in her further career.”
The board is now looking for a successor to lead the event, which became independent in last year.
The 25th edition of Amsterdam Dance Event will take place from Wednesday 21 to Sunday 25 October 2020, organised by ADE Foundation founding partner, Buma, with support from the municipality of Amsterdam and VSB Fonds.
Q-dance acquires 50% of festival promoter Art of Dance
Dutch promoter Q-dance, part of the ID&T group, has taken a 50% stake in event organiser Art of Dance and electronic artist agency Most Wanted DJ.
Art of Dance is one of the largest organisers of dance events in the Netherlands, attracting more than 200,000 visitors annually to festivals including Masters of Hardcore, Supremacy, Syndicate and Free Festival.
The promoter has worked in collaboration with Q-dance for years, organising hardcore festival Dominator. Other events in the Q-dance portfolio include Defqon.1, Qlimax, Impaqt and Qapital.
The Most Wanted DJ agency, an affiliate of Art of Dance, has a roster of DJs including Miss K8, Radical Redemption and Angerfist. The agency also offers artist and brand merchandising and talent scouting.
ID&T chief executive and Q-dance founder Wouter Tavecchio says the acquisition is “a very important step for Q-dance”, which will help to “strengthen and expand our market position in the Netherlands.”
“As part of a larger group, we strengthen our position in this highly competitive market”
“Art of Dance is, just like Q-dance, an organisation that has been at the cradle of this industry and has developed over the years into a professional and very successful party,” says Tavecchio, adding that “ we can reinforce each other in many ways.”
Art of Dance chief executive Matthijs Hazeleger says he looks forward to building on the pre-existing collaboration with Q-dance.
“We will use the international network of Q-dance and ID&T to ensure that this benefits our events, affiliated artists and the experience of our visitors,” states Hazeleger. “As part of a larger group, we strengthen our position in this highly competitive market.”
Both Art of Dance and Most Wanted DJ will continue to operate as independent companies under the ID&T banner.
ID&T, part of EDM giant Livestyle, organises events including Mysterland, Amsterdam Open Air, Tomorrowland and Sensation, as well as running promoters Air Events and b2s.
DEAG buys into LiveStyle German arm
Deutsche Entertainment AG (DEAG) is acquiring a majority 50.1% interest in I-Motion GmbH, the German division of electronic music behemoth LiveStyle.
The joint venture is the second DEAG announcement this month, following the company’s takeover of Stuttgart-based promoter C2 Concerts on 3 June.
DEAG alluded to in-the-works investments in its recent Q1 financial report. The executive board estimates that the additional sales potential from the LiveStyle deal will total €15 million annually.
I-Motion has organised electronic music events for over 25 years and sells 200,000 tickets annually. The promoter’s festivals include Mayday, Nature One and Ruhr in Love. Nature One took the best festival gong at the 2018 German Live Entertainment Awards (LEAs).
“Our German subsidiary always knows how to set new accents in the field of events and entertainment, and profits from our international network,” comments LiveStyle executive vice president and chief financial officer, Chuck Ciongoli.
“With DEAG, we now have a strong partner at our side who can look back on a wealth of experience in this market. We are convinced that both sides will benefit from our new relationship and are looking forward to a long-term partnership.”
“With DEAG, we now have a strong partner at our side who can look back on a wealth of experience in this market”
DEAG chief executive Peter Schwenkow expects that the partnership with I-Motion will stimulate growth for DEAG’s ticketing business via MyTicket, with growth opportunities including expanding Mayday in the UK and Switzerland.
“The key execs at I-Motion feel that DEAG is a great fit for them and I know it will be a great partner for LiveStyle in Germany,” says LiveStyle president and chief executive Randy Phillips.
LiveStyle, the US-based parent company of I-Motion, claims to be the world’s largest promoter of electronic music. The company formed following the collapse of Robert Sillerman’s SFX Entertainment in 2016.
The company promotes events across the Americas, Europe, Australia and Asia. Its North American business units include AMFAMFAMF, Made Event, React Presents, Disco Donnie Presents and Life In Color, as well as the brands Electric Zoo, Spring Awakening, the FriendShip, and All My Friends Music festival.
In Europe, LiveStyle operates through Monumental and Q-Dance in the Netherlands and ID&T in Belgium.
ADE announces France as focus nation
The Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), the world’s leading festival and business conference for electronic music, has appointed France as its main focus country for 2019.
“France has been one of the most important and influential music territories for decades, and in more recent years a really innovative market when it comes to electronic music and its sub-genres, in both the popular genres and more underground sounds such as electro and hip-hop,” states ADE director Mariana Sanchotene.
“On top of that the French technological scene has been a successful breeding ground for music and culture related start-ups. During ADE we aim to showcase the best of the new players as well as pay homage to the rich culture that France has to offer.”
In addition to conference and festival events, the French Electronic Lab will take place at the ADE Guesthouse, De Balie, on 17 October. Major figures of the French electronic scene will meet to celebrate the rebirth of a European house and techno powerhous through a day of workshops, panels, keynotes and presentations.
“During ADE we aim to showcase the best of the new players as well as pay homage to the rich culture that France has to offer”
“It’s now 20 years since the French Touch, so we’ll be presenting the new generation of producers and DJs; the emerging stars, and examine what has changed in the clubs and in the festival and live event scene. We will also outline key contacts for all of those sectors,” says Technopol’s Tommy Vaudecrane, co-organiser of the French Electronic Lab.
“Our aim is to guide visitors towards optimising their business exchanges both in France, and with French companies abroad. Ultimately we hope to provide people with the tools to maximise their import and export activities and to facilitate networking and engagement with new talent.”
AMF appoints new director of business development
LiveStyle president Gary Richards has announced the appointment of Taylor Stevens as West Coast director of business development to the company’s LA-based concert and festival promoter All My Friends (AMF).
Stevens joins with experience in the electronic music space, running his own concert promotion and production company, the CLCTV (formerly Collective Efforts Events).
Founded in 2017, the CLCTV has put on multiple events on the West Coast and Hawaii. Past events include the Feels Music and Art Festival in San Luis Obispo, California, Electric Palms Music Festival, in Honolulu, Hawaii and Avila Beach Party, also in San Luis Obispo.
In his new position, Stevens will manage and expand the AMF and LiveStyle brands, as well as rolling several CLCTV events into the LiveStyle portfolio of properties. He will be based in the company’s Beverly Hills office and report to LiveStyle president Richards.
“Taylor has an undeniable passion for the scene and creating exciting events”
“Taylor has an undeniable passion for the scene and creating exciting events. We look forward to him working on behalf of our brands and events, and for us to expand upon the events he is bringing to the LiveStyle family,” says Richards.
“LiveStyle has become a force in the industry and I am happy to be a part of the team. I am very excited to work with and learn from Gary, Chuck (Ciongoli, executive vice president) and Randy (Phillips, chief executive) as we explore new and exciting projects from small to big in the west,” comments Stevens.
“Gary has built a number of successful brands over the course of his career and I look forward to having a hand in the growth of AMF and the other LiveStyle properties,” adds Stevens.
LiveStyle formed in September 2016 from the remains of dance music behemoth SFX Entertainment and is the world’s largest promoter of electronic music festivals. LiveStyle produces and promotes a number of festivals including Electric Zoo (US), Spring Awakening (US), Mysteryland (the Netherlands), Awakenings (the Netherlands) and Tomorrowland Brazil.
The company also owns key operating entities across the United States and Europe such as b2s, Disco Donnie Presents, I-Motion and Made Event, as well as DJ e-commerce platform, Beatport.
The sound of south London: Giles Napier Q&A
London’s electronic music scene has grown in recent years, as large capacity, high production value festivals and events have popped up all around the capital. IQ speaks to one festival director competing with such events, while maintaining the ethos that an “intimate party vibe” is best.
Giles Napier is the director of GALA, an independent day festival taking place in south London with a focus on classic house and disco music, as well as local craft food and drink.
Launched in 2016, GALA’s first home was in Brockwell Park but has since moved to its new location in Peckham Rye Park. The event aims to retain its small, independent nature, competing with many bigger festivals with ample corporate backing.
As London’s festival scene continues to grow, IQ speaks to Napier about the inspirations behind GALA, why the festival won’t increase its capacity, and how to carve a space in London’s competitive music scene.
How did GALA originate?
I met my business partner and co-founder of GALA, Jonny Edwards, around eight years ago whilst at University in Newcastle [UK]. Jonny gave me a job flyering for a big electronic music night called Zap at [1,400-cap. nightclub] Digital and I very quickly became intoxicated with the club scene up there.
After a year or so, Jonny handed me the keys to Zap while he focused on other projects and I haven’t really looked back since. Once we’d both made the move down to London in 2015, it wasn’t really a question of if we were going to continue throwing parties together, but when.
Thankfully Lambeth Council were very receptive when we approached them about doing a festival in Brockwell Park and after several months of knocking our heads together and forming some strong partnerships with various friends within the south London music and food scenes, GALA was born.
“We want all our guests to have a more rounded experience where lasting memories are made throughout, not just from the bigger dance-floor moments”
How would you describe the essence of GALA and the type of fan the festival is aiming to attract?
GALA is an independent, music-led day festival that also celebrates some of south London’s best-loved breweries, chefs and restaurants, as well as record labels and parties. Our music policy is driven by a love of classic house and disco and a fascination with iconic clubbing institutions from the ’70s and ’80s, such as New York’s Paradise Garage and Chicago’s The Warehouse. I think that’s probably one of the main reasons we’re recognised for being such an open and inclusive event with a particularly well-spirited crowd.
In terms of the type of fan we attract – open-minded people is all we’re after. Obviously it helps if you appreciate good food and drink, and our specific music taste, but there really isn’t a particular demographic that we’re marketing to.
What I would say is that all our guests are encouraged to come early – have a nice lunch in the park, enjoy some locally brewed beer, explore the site and make a full day of it! It’s not an all-out party from start to finish, we want all our guests to have a more rounded experience where lasting memories are made throughout, not just from the bigger dance-floor moments.
How does GALA compete in the increasingly saturated urban festival scene?
What I really hope people take away from the GALA experience is the attention to detail in everything we do – from bespoke stage design, to the sound, to the countless number of hay bales transported by tractors all the way down from Essex!
You won’t find any big top tents in Peckham Rye Park – we really want everything to feel as honest and natural as possible. We pump most of the budget into the festival’s production elements across all areas rather than top-end artist fees, ensuring people come back more for the quality of experience as opposed to just seeing a particular ‘big name’ act.
“The intimate nature of GALA is something we will always protect, even though financially it might make much more sense to increase the number of guests”
How is the festival suited to its home in Peckham Rye Park?
I often find it hard not to romanticise about Peckham Rye Park! It has a huge amount of natural beauty and a cosy feel that is almost unheard of in other London parks, and it therefore fits in perfect harmony with the intimate party vibe we always wanted to achieve with GALA.
In terms of the area, Peckham has a tight-knit passionate music community which we’re proud to be contributing to and a brilliant independent food and drink scene, so it really does work brilliantly for us on every level.
What does the future hold in store for GALA and, more broadly, London’s electronic music scene in general?
We would love to add a second day to GALA somewhere down the line, but we have no ambition or intention of increasing the current capacity or footprint of the festival. The intimate nature of GALA is something we treasure and will always protect, even though financially it might make much more sense to increase the number of guests.
In terms of the future of London’s scene… I’ll try and keep this as concise as possible! The electronic music landscape in the city seems to be continually shifting towards larger-scale, big production-value events and somewhat away from the traditional clubbing scene.
The answer as to why is as contentious as it is complex. However, I think the power and prevalence of social media, as well as healthier living amongst the younger generations and the well-documented lack of protection from London authorities for nightlife in the city, are perhaps the biggest reasons for the change.
Hopefully, this will balance itself out over time and both can thrive alongside one another. We have some of the finest nightclubs in the world, but the festival industry has so much corporate backing at the moment it’s becoming a lot harder to operate venues in the city.
GALA takes places on Sunday 26 May in Peckham Rye Park. Information regarding tickets and line-up can be found here.
ADE announces dates for 2019
The Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) will take place from 16 to 20 October 2019. The organisers of the world’s leading event for electronic music expect to welcome around 400,000 visitors to the 24th edition of the event.
Following a record-breaking 2018, ADE returns with multiple conference tracks addressing the latest business, cultural and technological trends in the industry, alongside festival programming showcasing the diversity of electronic music and its many sub-genres.
For the 2019 edition, organisers are committed to enhancing the event’s daytime activities, entering into cross-sector collaborations and partnerships with cultural institutions in order to maximise involvement with a wide range of creative industries.
“During ADE, Amsterdam will once again be the centre of the global electronic music industry and the home base for music enthusiasts,” states Mariana Sanchotene, who became ADE’s director last October.
“During ADE, Amsterdam will once again be the centre of the global electronic music industry and the home base for music enthusiasts”
“Our conference and festival activities showcase what is happening around the world, but should also be a reflection of how creative, innovative, vibrant and inclusive our hometown is.”
ADE has grown into the world’s largest club-based festival and conference for electronic music. The five-day event continues to develop each year, attracting visitors from over 100 countries and featuring every aspect of electronic music across its conference, live music and pop-up programming.
This year, major conference topics will include the changing landscape faced by festivals in the Netherlands and across Europe, and issues of inclusivity and tolerance within the music industry globally.
“We look forward once again to welcoming creative minds from all over the world to connect, create, do business or simply be inspired,” says Sanchotene.