One particular bugbear of mine – and admittedly, it’s a very long list – about dance music today is the length of the average DJ set. When the first clubs playing house music in the 1980s appeared, normal practice was to have one or two DJs playing across the whole night. Any more than two was considered unusual.
Those days are long gone. It now seems to be all about having as many names on the lineup as physically possible. And unless they somehow have a way of extending the length of the day, this inevitably means shorter sets.
Hence why this weekend, Judge Jules, to give but one example, is playing a one-hour set in Manchester…
In order to do this set, he has to undertake a journey from Highgate in north London to the Albert Hall in Manchester. The quickest journey time I could find was 3 hours and 39 minutes by car – and that’s assuming there are no stops on the journey or any unexpected holdups. And then he has to do the same journey home again the next day – and that assumes he won’t be staying in a Manchester hotel for the night.
That’s nearly seven and a half hours in the car and a night in a hotel – there’s a decent place called The Edwardian on the same street as the venue, by the way – for one hour of work. And then you wonder why DJs charge so much for their appearances.
The return journey from London to Manchester is around a full tank of petrol for most cars and a quick search on Google reveals the aforementioned Edwardian hotel costs around £400 for this coming Saturday night.
Still, DJs as a whole have never been particularly concerned about things like practicalities or environmental issues…