Tag Archives: festivals

No wonder he’s had to give up being a touring DJ! Simon Dunmore’s busiest week ever continues by announcing yet another event – a tie-up with Sacha Lord’s Parklife…

When speaking about Defected, all the sources who have provided this blog with information and insights on the label are united in one – they all say Simon Dunmore is probably the most hard-working man in house music today. Which is why as much as I sometimes question the label he runs, I’ve never doubted his work ethic.

Sources tell me it originates from his days working at a senior position at AM:PM Records and the first few years of running Defected. But as he sits down this Friday evening for his dinner, he might be forgiven for believing he’s had a busy few weeks.

The year started with Dunmore announcing his decision to walk away from the world of a touring DJ this year. Since then, Defected has been on a major publicity drive to showcase some of their forthcoming releases over the next few months – I’m reliably told that Dunmore himself takes personal oversight of these promotional campaigns.

They’ve also announced they’re going to be in Brazil this summer, the lineup for Croatia has been announced in full and now, the two giant egos of Simon Dunmore and Sacha Lord have now met – and the result is Defected appearing at Lord’s own Parklife…

Defected’s plan to expand the events side of the company not only appears to include new countries, it also turns out it involves the London-centric company heading out of the capital. And there are few other ways Defected can get into Manchester, given the iron grip which Lord holds over clubbing in the area.

So let’s face it – this was always more of a matter of when rather than if it would happen. Let’s just say that Dunmore has more than earned any BBQ he might have this weekend…

That brings the number of vaxxed big name DJs to one! Carl Cox announces his tour of north America – and it includes a date in New York, where if you’ve had no vaccine, you’re not coming in…

There are an awful lot of DJs in the upper echelons of dance music who filled their quiet time during the pandemic by training themselves up as virologists. Or so you’d be forgiven for thinking – although most aren’t quite stupid enough to at least publicly remain quiet.

Thankfully, a few managed to keep their marbles. Well, mostly. When he isn’t accepting gigs from festivals that are least partially funded by a dreadful regime, Carl Cox spoke out against plague raves – and also spoke up in favour of getting the Covid-19 vaccination. This drove the anti-vaxxers crazy, something which I thoroughly enjoyed witnessing.

He’s now just announced he’ll be starting a tour of North America in the next few weeks, starting in Mexico before travelling to various corners of the USA – although stricter coronavirus rules imposed in Canada appear to mean they’ve been left out. And it’s worth taking a closer look at the places the tour is going to…

The dates in Brooklyn have caused some surprise. The city of New York currently requires proof of being fully vaccinated against Covid-19 for everyone going to nightclubs – this includes staff, security and the DJs appearing. Recent infection is not accepted for entry, nor is a negative Covid test of any kind. Quite simply, if you’re not jabbed, New York’s nightclubs won’t let you in.

Exactly what you think of such a policy is up to you, dear reader. But it does, at the least, confirm one thing – at least one DJ has still got some sense…

After Defected announce Phase 2 of their Croatia festival lineup, Danny Tenaglia’s appearance is confirmed – but whatever happened to his vow to “resign” from DJing a decade ago?

Danny Tenaglia was, for many years, one of the more hardworking DJs in the house music world. Like many of his era, he was a fan of doing sets that were around 412 hours long, and his output in the studio was just as prolific too. And for a while in the 1990s, he was also one of the names on speed dial at record labels looking for remixes of their next pop hit.

He’s still around today, of course – and over the weekend, Defected confirmed he was joining the likes of Carl Craig, Low Steppa and the rest at their festival in Croatia this year. As part of this carefully choreographed blitz of publicity, label boss Simon Dunmore posted – not for the first time – about how he tried back in 2007 to get him onto their own House Masters series.

It never happened, of course. Quite why remains unknown – although if Tenaglia finally signs up and agrees to be part of the project in 2022, I just hope Defected doesn’t order too many T-shirts this time around. However, those people who have been keeping an eye on Tenaglia over the past few years might feel somewhat confused as to what’s going on.

Back in 2012, Tenaglia announced in a lengthy and terribly rambling Facebook post that he was “resigning” – his own word, not mine – from the world of DJing. Aside from one other gig which he’d already committed to, he’d basically had enough. The news was reported far and wide – Australian news outlets covered it, and it was even mentioned on Defected’s website.

Judging by the fact he continues to DJ to this day, I can only guess his resignation wasn’t accepted…

Not bad for someone who died this week! Carl Craig is the latest announced for Defected Croatia 2022 – and it won’t just be Unkle Carl representing Detroit…

This has been quite the eventful week for Carl Craig. It started with Craig complaining about a post on this blog with the juvenile “Haters gonna hate” caption. Then it emerged he had died – only for the man himself to confirm later that he most definitely wasn’t dead.

Anyone made of less tough stuff than the Detroit DJ and producer might have been easily forgiven for deciding to go back to bed and sleep until next Monday. But regardless of the fact he’s the kind of person to back a losing horse, he’s also the eternal optimist – and it looks like persisting with this week has paid off.

Yesterday, Defected announced that Carl Craig was the latest DJ they were bringing out to their festival in Croatia later this year. Dames Brown and the blog blocking Ash Lauryn are also there to represent the house and techno sounds of Detroit. Rumours are that Moodymann will also make an appearance – no official confirmation of this yet, though.

I wrote a while ago about Defected promoting the sound of Detroit, and how it was essentially a money making exercise – Defected didn’t get to where they are today without knowing what will pay the bills. Well, it certainly will be for Unkle Carl and the rest of the Detroit contingent booked to play…

What, no discounts for the bus pass brigade? Danny Rampling’s (not very) busy schedule for 2022 includes a gig where the minimum age to gain entry is just 1…

There was a time, many years ago, when it was very profitable indeed to be Mr Daniel Rampling. He had a Saturday night show on BBC Radio 1 and a packed DJ schedule – not bad going for a bloke who has all the mixing abilities of a broken Kenwood. One friend who knew him at the time said “he had far more money than he knew what to do with”.

How times change. Rampling’s DJ schedule for 2022 is currently looking pretty bare. You see, vaccine passports to gain access to nightclubs are in place across all four corners of the UK – which means they’re effectively off limits to the presumably unvaccinated Runny Dumpling. So he’s been restricted to venues like upstairs above a pub.

But this one might prove a humiliation too far. On May 1st, he’s due to appear at One Love – a one-day festival in Sunderland to celebrate “equality, diversity and inclusion”. It’s an event promoted as being for the whole family, with a minimum age of 1 being specified on Skiddle to attend – but I suspect babies will also be welcome to attend too.

Perhaps he can be grateful for the fact he didn’t appear on the same bill as children’s entertainer Mr Tumble – unlike his fellow Radio 1 DJ of old Judge Jules. Although I can’t help but wonder where the discount is for the bus pass holders who typically make up Rampling’s fan base these days…

Who added the L in clock to this one? Clock Stock festival takes place in June – but you’d be hard pressed (if you can read it with that hideous font!) to find anyone who isn’t male and white on the bill…

If we’re now meant to be living in an age where we’re all inclusive and try our best to make everyone feel welcome, regardless of who or what they are, someone clearly forgot to tell the festivals what was going on. This particularly conservatively minded sector of the music business has always been a bit pale, male and stale.

More fanciful types would have you believe at the start of the pandemic that this would be the jolt they’d need to bring themselves at least a little closer to the modern era. Yet with many festivals left nearly bankrupt by Covid restrictions, they’ve resorted to filling their lineups with as many big names as possible.

And dance music isn’t immune to this. A while ago, I covered the Southport Weekender’s event in Butlins Bognor Regis in March and couldn’t help but notice it was, as one friend crudely put it, “all sausage and no stuffing”. I’ve now come across the Clock Stock festival – you wouldn’t want to try saying that after you’d had a few, would you?

Two thoughts come to mind on seeing this flyer. The first is that the designer is some whippersnapper type who obviously spent too much of their youth creating those ghastly customised MySpace backgrounds back in the day.

And second is the fact the lineup is, well, very pale, male and stale indeed. There’s very little diversity on the lineup – and what little there is consists of the likes of Alison Limerick, there to sing the one song of hers that everyone actually remembers. Which is a shame, because she released quite a few belters in the nineties.

Whilst the rest of us are praying post-Omicron times are with us sooner rather than later, the festivals appear to be finding solace in going back further in time…

What a carnival! Departure postpone festival start by 24 hours AFTER everyone’s arrived – and cancel entirely the next day due to Mexico changing their Covid regulations…

As far as farces go, this one is quite the whopper. Last September, Departure announced they were holding an event in Mexico’s Playa Del Carmen in January – and a big event it would be, taking place over six days. They even paid Mixmag a wad of money to write a nice article about them.

Curiously, they made no reference to the fact most of the lineup consisted of plague rave DJs. It’s amazing what can be edited out when money’s floating about, isn’t it? Anyway, all was going well for Departure – a source in the festival world says tickets sold very well, based on the current unusual climate.

Staff arrived just after Christmas to build the stages and get everything set up. People took their flights over – some have said on social media they’ve flown for 24 hours to get there. But things started to go wrong on Thursday, the very day they were meant to begin with the proceedings.

Departure claimed in an Instagram statement that “local changes” meant they had to postpone opening until the following day. And when Friday came, the Playa Del Carmen authorities made explicitly clear the event couldn’t go ahead at all.

Am I the only one who thinks the handling of all this has been utterly incompetent? Anyone looking at the local information in the area will have noticed cases of coronavirus have been rising for the past few weeks. They could have made this judgement a few days earlier, frankly.

Instead, Departure have cost a lot of people a lot of money in travel costs who now basically have nothing to do. The comments thread above is full of people asking what else is going on, and you can be absolutely confident some of them will be receiving private messages inviting them to, shall we say, less well organised events.

I feel terribly sorry for those people who have spent a fortune on flights and such. I even feel sorry for the staff at the festival – bar possibly the idiots who failed to grasp this matter in time. But one group I feel considerably less sorry for, however, are the DJs who were booked – most of whom are massively overpaid, business techno types.

But will they be getting paid anyway? The cleverer agents might well have insisted on such a clause in their clients’ contracts. How many of them have intelligent negotiators, though, is another question entirely…

Glad I’m not the only one who noticed! Whilst Travis Scott took the heat over Astroworld tragedy where 10 people were trampled to death, promoters Live Nation kept their heads down – and now the US Congress wants to know what’s going on…

When news emerged late on the night on November 5th that something had gone seriously wrong at the Astroworld festival in Texas, the world wanted answers. We later discovered a crowd crush had taken place and eight people were dead. Two more died in hospital later – the oldest was 27 and the youngest was only 9.

Lawsuits against Travis Scott, one of the organisers of the event, started to pile up quite quickly. I don’t know exactly how many there are at the moment – there was around 130 when I stopped counting a few weeks ago. But there was one group amidst all this which remained very quiet – and that was promoters Live Nation.

They had very little to say for themselves, and have said little since the tragedy happened. And I’m not the only person who’s noticed – so have Congress in the USA. The powerful House Oversight and Reform Committee have launched their own investigation into Live Nation. Yesterday, they sent a letter to Michael Rapino, Live Nation’s boss, with a list of questions.

They want to know about arrangements for crowd control at the festival, security, what plans were in place for dealing with an event like this, whether there were any concerns over safety expressed by anyone before the day – and what they plan to do to make sure such an event doesn’t happen again.

Michael Rapino and Live Nation must reply to the letter and provide documentation backing up what they say by January 7th – which will no doubt keep Live Nation’s solicitors very busy as they chomp on their Christmas turkeys this year. Someone from the company also has to go and answer questions from the committee – this person must be nominated by January 12th.

Standard procedure dictates this hearing would normally be held behind closed doors. But if the committee wasn’t satisfied with the answers they received at this hearing, it wouldn’t take long for things to go public. Would Live Nation honestly welcome the prospect of a long, drawn out public enquiry that goes into the inner workings of their company? Not likely…