Electronic Labor Day and Beatport ReConnect Present ‘For Beirut’

Electronic Labor Day and Beatport ReConnect Present ‘For Beirut’

On August 4, 2020, an explosion erupted in Beirut erasing parts of the Lebanese city, causing tens of millions in damages, and forever changing the lives of the citizens. The horrific blast added to what was already a devastating year for the Lebanese and global community.

Beirut after explosion

On Sunday, September 13, Beatport ReConnect is joining forces with the Lebanese digital electronic music festival, Electronic Labor Day, to raise funds for Beirut. Over 100 DJs worldwide are coming together via live-stream on Beatport’s Twitch channel to support the Lebanese people. The 12-hour virtual electronic music festival will be hosted by Carl Cox and BBC Radio 1’s DJ Danny Howard. Artists scheduled to appear include Amelie Lens, BLOND:ISH, Skream, Pete Tong, Derrick May, David Morales, and so many more.

Electronic Labor Day began as a response to COVID 19’s negative impact on the Lebanese nightlife industry. The 1st edition of ELD was held on the first weekend in May and featured over 150 artists from 30 countries, with all funds raised transparently donated to those in need. This Sunday’s virtual festival will donate all raised funds to Beb w’ Shebbek, Beirut Emergency Fund, and Disaster Relief for Beirut Explosion by Impact Lebanon.

The fundraiser will begin at 1:58PM (Beirut time, GMT +3), hold a moment of silence – marking the time of the blast 40 days prior, and at 2PM DJs will commence and continue until 2 o’clock in the morning.

This event follows the August 22nd, 24-hour DJ livestream, Together for Beirut, presented by Beatport ReConnect and British-Lebanese DJ Nicole Moudaber. Since March, Beatport ReConnect has raised over $35,000 for various charities and amassed a viewership of over 35 million. The goal for this weekend’s fundraiser is $500k, with over $50k already raised before the event has even started.

Tune into For Beirut via Beatport’s Twitch channel here and don’t forget to donate!

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Rave the Vote Goes Live to Encourage US Voter Registration

Rave the Vote Goes Live to Encourage US Voter Registration

Today, September 11th at noon, Rave the Vote, a voter registration campaign and live-stream festival, kicked off its 3rd edition.  

Rave the Vote is targeting young, unregistered voters in the United States and encouraging them to get to the polls and have their voices heard. A joint initiative put on by INFAMOUS PR, 2+2 Management, and Soul Clap, Rave the Vote hopes to inspire the dance community and get them excited about making political change.  

The event features 12 hours of DJ sets, educational segments, and calls to action live-streamed on Twitch. Today’s event is the 3rd of the 4 events. The 4th and final Rave the Vote will happen on October 2nd.  

In the previous sessions, DJ Spinna, Seth Troxler, Louie Vega, DJ Deeon, Inner City and more. Today, DJ Minx, Yaeji, and Carl Craig are scheduled to hit the decks.  

With the US federal election less than two months away, Rave the Vote has taken the guesswork out of voter registration and made getting educated on the election easy. Head to their website to register to vote (a process that takes less than two minutes) then tune in to the live-stream for an afternoon and evening of beats spun by some of the most talented DJs and producers. 

Hosted on the LastResortTV channel on Twitch, the page also has resources intended to help young voters get educated and links to foundations such as Voting While Black for those who wish to make a donation. 

Tune into Twitch to join the party and don’t forget to register to vote on their website!  

Craving a club night? Berlin techno giant, Berghain, has temporarily reopened as an art gallery. See how you can get into the exclusive nightclub.

Berghain Reopens as an Art Gallery this September

Berghain Reopens as an Art Gallery this September

As of September 9th, Berlin’s notorious Berghain is reopening its doors. Since March, Berghain, the hedonistic techno megaclub, like all other non-essential businesses, has had its doors closed to the public and all regularly scheduled events cancelled or postponed. This September, the club that has a rep for turning away hundreds of people on any given night, will open for anyone looking to immerse themselves in Berlin’s art world. Studio Berlin, a joint effort of Berghain and the Boros Foundation, will present the works of 117 Berlin-based artists. The exhibition will also be showing some international works of photography, sculpture, sound installation, video, painting, and performance. The exhibition will be held in the main venue, as well as its Panorama Bar, Säule, and Halle. 

art installation outside Berghain
Image credit: Noshe

In addition to all nightclubs being ordered to close during this year’s lockdown, all galleries, art exhibitions, and museums were shuttered. Studio Berlin hopes to reinvigorate Berlin’s rich artistic culture, breathing new life into a dire situation. The gallery will be open to the public for guided tours on weekdays and as an open house on the weekends. Many dates are already completely sold out. This is the second artistic undertaking Berghain has taken part in since its closure in March. Earlier this summer, Berghain hosted limited-capacity sound-exhibitions

Berghain nightclub as art gallery
Image credit: Business Insider

Famous for its exclusive door policy and judgmental bouncers turning away myriads of hopeful partygoers, Berghain has quite the reputation as one of the world’s best techno venues. Anyone that is anybody has played Berghain. Its resident DJs include Steffi, Ben Klock, and Marcel Dettmann and the club has played host to many international names like Carl Cox, Peggy Gou, and Honey Dijon. At Berghain, the party starts on Saturday and goes all day and night until Monday morning. Clubbers should head in expecting the unexpected. Anything from fetish parties to sexual acts being conducted right out in the open goes. Photography is strictly forbidden inside Berghain, so at least you know what happens in Berghain stays in Berghain. 

Tickets for guided tours and open house are available through the Studio Berlin website

Cover image credit: Noshe

Cabin fever hitting you? These European festivals are still a go. Check out our list of music festivals happening this month.

Coronavirus Clubbing on the Ghost Island

Coronavirus Clubbing on the Ghost Island

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, nightclubs across the world have shuttered or switched to livestream. In particular, nightclubs have been among those industries most heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, given the potential of the coronavirus to spread in crowded areas.

This hasn’t occurred in Taiwan, which has avoided the lockdowns that the rest of the world saw through swift action early on. At the start of the pandemic, like elsewhere, music festivals and club nights were canceled or shut down as part of social distancing measures. Some clubs eventually did start streaming—I myself played in one such stream, wearing a mask to try and encourage mask-wearing, and the police turned up mid-stream to check that the club wasn’t in full operation. But nightclubs eventually started back up again, with the COVID-19 situation under control.

As a small, relatively unknown island, Taiwan has long felt a sense of isolation from other places in the world. It’s not surprising, then, that nicknames for Taiwan have included “Asia’s Orphan” and “Ghost Island.”

Ironically, Taiwan’s successes fighting off COVID-19 are likely to contribute to this sense of isolation. I remember thinking to myself several times how strange it was, to be clubbing at a time when nowhere else the world may have been. I can’t answer for every club in the world, but at one point, Taiwan was the only place in the world holding baseball games. Taiwan is currently the only place in the world holding arena performances with 10,000 participants.

International acts, of course, have been unable to travel to Taiwan since the pandemic started. I remember one of the last international acts to arrive was Marc Houle, though the initial show he was scheduled to play had to be changed around from its original venue. VTSS and Amelie Lens both canceled that week as well.

But as the pandemic wore on, there were increasingly performances by Taiwanese residents that normally reside abroad. Taiwanese DJ Elvis T, normally based in Beijing, played at B1. Tzusing, who divides his time between Taiwan and Shanghai, has also played a few times in Taipei and Taichung.

Elvis T Boiler Room Shanghai Live Set

In the meantime, there have been vaguely dystopian art projects suggesting that post-coronavirus clubbing will have to take place with party-goers wearing masks and protective gear. Others have suggested that club culture may be permanently changed, if the coronavirus simply never goes away, or that society will have to alternate between periods of social distancing and regular activity until a vaccine for COVID-19 arrives, if this happens at all. I was reading the other day about the controversy that broke out after someone threw a rave with two hundred people in Brooklyn. Or an anti-mask rave in Toronto that culminated in two men with chainsaws taking to the crowd. So far, none of that here.

Certainly, the coronavirus has had an effect on the Taipei underground. One lesser-known venue, un:understand, closed after the pandemic started and never reopened. Most major underground venues do not seem to have been affected as much—though I’m sure business took a hit.

B1 – Taipei nightclub

But the real danger was always social conservatism. Times of contagion, of course, tend to lead to stigmatization of minority groups and subcultures. One saw this, for example, with the massive backlash against the South Korean LGBTQ community after a cluster of cases was linked to a club in the gay-friendly district of Itaewon.

Club culture, of course, is often queer. And it tends to be populated by kids that the rest of society finds scary and dangerous, with tattoos and piercings and all that. Club culture can also be political, in a way, that vested political interests find threatening. There were a few Black Lives Matters club nights in past weeks, for example, and I’ve been to more than one rave-like political protest over the years.

All it takes is one incident, such as one coronavirus cluster linked to a club, for there to be a massive chilling effect on the scene. Though this could take place in any club, the underground is likely to be particularly affected—after all, larger, more mainstream clubs tend to have more resources to survive in times of financial duress such as the hit to business caused by COVID-19, and are better equipped to fight off efforts at shutting down clubs from the authorities.

And this has happened in Taiwan before. The major reason venues close in Taiwan, like with the Shida Underground incident of the early 2010s, is because of pressure from neighbors. A fire in Taichung around the same time led to the effective erasure of nightlife in Taichung, Taiwan’s second-largest city outside of Taipei, for some years. Local politicians tend to be the ones that jump on the bandwagon of forcing venues to close, to try and please conservative local residents that view partygoers as just a bunch of noisy hooligans.

The Taipei city government has been proactive in efforts to try and create entertaining events, such as with the mixed successes of the Nuit Blanche nights that began to be held under the current mayor, Ko Wen-je. But there hasn’t yet been calls for governments to work with the nightlife industry, through the establishment of positions such as night mayors. The lack of institutional support and heavy regulation of nightlife has even, in the past, led venues to resort to registering as eateries instead of venues, so as to avoid scrutiny—this included even major venues among the largest independent performance spaces in Taiwan.

Few politicians have called for greater government support of the entertainment industry. Some have been fringe politicians, such as Mark Lin, who tried to attract the youth vote in 2018 local elections by promising to organize “Crazy Fridays” if elected mayor of Tainan but, unsurprisingly, lost out to more serious candidates. Another voice is politically progressive legislator Freddy Lim, the frontman of symphonic death metal band Chthonic, who went from activist musician to legislator. Lim was one of the founders of The Wall—one of the preeminent independent music venues in Taipei—which used to double as the underground nightclub Korner during late-night hours. For many years, Korner was the reigning king of the underground scene.

At the same time, past incidents are an indication of the challenges that the underground still faces. Though they were previously a regular feature of the underground, it became more difficult to hold freetekno parties and off-the-grid raves after a murder took place in an artistic commune in Huashan Park in central Taipei in summer 2018. What drew particular controversy was that the week after the murder—before the body had been discovered and when the incident was still thought to be a disappearance—individuals associated with that commune threw a massive underground rave in an abandoned subway station located below that park that drew probably somewhere between 500 and 1,000 people.

After the murder, politicians began lashing out at dangerous “hippies” as a convenient political target in 2018 elections, and the media began trying to bill performance events involving nudity at the commune as having been orgies. There is longstanding precedent for this—an earlier artistic space at Huashan in the early 2000s faced accusations from the media of being an ecstasy den for foreigners in 2002.

Another major incident took place in 2014, after a police officer was beaten to death in what was thought to be gang-related violence outside the mainstream clubbing district by the ATT Fun shopping mall. The incident forced some clubs to close or rebrand. There are other examples—most usually involving two rival gangs showing up at a club at the wrong time and getting into an altercation—which have simply received less scrutiny in the media.

Such incidents are more likely to take place at mainstream clubs and more commonly take place outside of Taipei, with gang activity being higher outside of the capital. That’s probably for the good of the scene, seeing as the Taiwanese media—which tends to be predominantly focused on what takes place in Taipei to the exclusion of other locations—tends to be all too happy to label young people as decadent miscreants, and would harp on it endlessly.

So, in this way, the COVID-19 pandemic has also been a time of caution for the underground. Clubs need to stay operating, otherwise they won’t survive—and the financial management of underground venues is always precarious. At the same time, it would be very easy for clubs to be targeted during the pandemic by the forces of social conservatism, given past precedent, and this leading to loss of what should be viewed as community spaces, more than anything else.

Final – Taipei nightclub

But that maybe goes back to the nature of the underground, which exists on the peripheries of the mainstream, sometimes intersecting with it, but otherwise keeping out of sight. Maybe that’s where the ethos of the underground comes from, to begin with.

Cover photo credit: B1 Taipei

Ibiza is NOT closed for 2020

Ibiza is NOT closed for 2020

Despite the numerous headlines claiming Ibiza will be a ghost town for the remainder of 2020, that all beach and night clubs will be shuttered indefinitely thanks to COVID, we’re here to assure you this is not the case. Although Ibiza will not be its usual stumble and you’ll hit a rager, packed to the rafters, all day, all night party monster self, it is still very much open.  

Panic ensued when a few of the heavy-hitter day/nightclubs announced they would not open for the 2020 season. Big names like Hï Ibiza, Ushuaïa, and Pacha announced on their socials that “with a heavy heart… there will be no events this summer” but that this “won’t kill [their] vibe” and that all focus will be put on returning in a bigger and better way for 2021. 

Crowd at O Beach Ibiza 2019 opening party
O Beach Opening Party 2019
Image Credit: The Noise Gate

These closure announcements came quickly after the Balearic government stated, reported by Diario de Ibiza, that nightlife establishments like discos with a dancefloor will likely remain closed until there is a vaccine for the coronavirus. Places that offer music with the option for partygoers to remain seated will be allowed to operate on reduced hours and with extreme safety and sanitary precautions in place. 

The president of the Balearic Islands, Francina Armengol, deemed reopening “very risky” after watching outbreaks in other countries, following the reopening of nightclubs.  

Those beach clubs and venues that are reopening will have reduced capacity. Masks are mandatory in most places on the island, but sun loungers and swimming pools are exempt, granted you maintain an appropriate and safe distance from others. Reservations are also a must. 

Staff at Cafe del Mar Ibiza wearing a mask
Image Credit: @cafedelmar

So, where can you soak up the sun and bliss out to some Balearic beats? Café Mambo is alive and well – Fatboy Slim recently took to the decks for a special sunset setO Beach pool parties are in full effect. Blue Marlin is serving up cocktails with a view. Ibiza Rocks is fully embracing the new normal and has a calendar full of poolside sessions. Other open hot spots include Nikki Beach, Café del Mar, Pikes, Destino, and more.  

If anyone is feeling the isolation itch and in need of a little vacation, Ibiza is ready and waiting. Just remember, while borders and beach clubs may be open, the pandemic is still in full effect. Travel and party safely so we can welcome the 2021 Ibiza season with all venues open! 

Are your pandemic playlists getting old? Get to know the Black Artists of Electronic Music Future and spice up your Spotify.

Summer 2020 Electronic Music Festivals that are Still On

Summer 2020 Electronic Music Festivals that are Still On

While summer 2020 won’t be remembered as the year of festivals, it doesn’t mean that it is a write-off. As we see the number of COVID cases going down in countries across the world, festivals with late summer dates or those that postponed are now happening in full force (a slight exaggeration). With safety measure protocols, decreased capacity, and refund policies in place, dozens of festivals across Europe are gearing up for a good time. Because cancellations have been rampant this year and keeping up to date on what is on and what isn’t is a full-time job, we’ve taken the grunt work out of it and compiled a list of all the festivals that are still on (as of August 19, 2020). So, dust off those festival outfits and find your most fabulous mask. Make your summer of 2020 more than a series of disappointments by attending one (or more) of these awesome electronic music festivals. 

BelgiumCurfew Light September 12-13Belgian house on two different stages. –> TICKETS
Hangar – No. 8September 1912 hours of non-stop music. –> TICKETS
CroatiaAWAKE CroatiaAugust 20-23Four days of trance and progessive at the beach, the pool, and on a boat. –> TICKETS
CyprusAyia Napa House PartySeptember 12-19The ultimate holiday party festival. –> TICKETS
Czech RepublicCOAL Festival August 21-23Czech drum and bass on a sandy beach. –> TICKETS
Mácháč Festival August 21-22A dance party near an idyllic lake. –> TICKETS
Summer City Fest September 4-5A multi-genre, two-day festival. –> TICKETS
FinlandHelZinki Hardstyle Festival August 28-30Hardstyle in an old shipyard hall in the Helsinki harbour. —> TICKETS
FranceMírélóAugust 21-23Live DJ sets by the seaside, with views of the sunset beyond the hills. –> TICKETS
Acontraluz Festival September 4-5An impressive lineup of electro and techno artists. –> TICKETS
Family PiknikSeptember 12-13A family-friendly, underground electronic music event in the Montpellier airport. –> TICKETS
Sarcus FestivalSeptember 18An unplugged event of live music, performances, visual and digital art on castle grounds. –> TICKETS
GermanyMilde Möhre Maskenball August 28-30Part masquerade, part music festival. –> TICKETS
Flussperle Open Air #02September 5A ‘pearl’ of a festival, located along the Main River with parties on both land and boat. –> TICKETS
Electric Summer Festival Open AirSeptember 12An 11-hour, nonstop rave in a lush, water-surrounded oasis. –> TICKETS
IrelandAudio Garden FestivalAugust 21-23A multi-stage, multi-genre (Irish psy, underground, techno, trance) festival in a gorgeous Irish garden. –> TICKETS
NetherlandsHet Grote Buurtfeest September 25In its 5th year, this festival brings music lovers of all genres together. –> TICKETS
Cube Outdoor FestivalSeptember 26The Het Grote Burrtfeest afterparty, a day to nurse your hangover and listen to good music. –> TICKETS
RomaniaSunwavesSeptember 3-8In its 14th year, enjoy beats on the beach. –> TICKETS
Arad Open Air FestivalSeptember 25-27A celebration of water and life, with music!–> TICKETS
RussiaMoscow Music WeekSeptember 2-5The only festival happening in Moscow, enjoy music showcases both online and off! –> TICKETS
SpainAURA Open Air FestivalAugust 21-23A little trance festival surrounded by nature. –> TICKETS
United KingdomBassfest Summer FestivalSeptember 19Drum and bass over seven massive stages. –> TICKETS
Hospitality Birmingham Open Air BBQSeptember 19Drum and bass heavy hitters, big production, and street food vendors. –> TICKETS
Detonate FestivalSeptember 26Party amongst the trees and lakes at this small underground club turned massive music festival. –> TICKETS
Back Of Beyond FSTVLSeptember 26House, disco, techno, and drum and bass on the magical Colesdale Farm. –> TICKETS

The show must go on, right? Remember, all festivals are subject to change as governments update rules and regulations surrounding large-scale events on the daily. After the 2020 we’ve had, we could all use a little electronic music and a lot of dancing. So keep safe, keep your distance, and go have fun!

Cover photo: Sunwaves Festival

Need a holiday after the year you’ve had? Despite the news, Ibiza is still open. Find out where you can blow off steam, the Balearic way.