While many incredible moments happened this past year, there were also some not-so-great incidents that befell the dance music world in 2017 (or in dates around that time). And while here at 5 Mag we like to focus on the positive, sometimes it’s important to remember some of the tragedies that occurred so we can learn and look forward to better days in 2018.
And with that in mind, let us begin:
1. The Ghost Ship Fire
The tragedy that happened at an underground party on December 2nd in 2016 in Oakland took the lives of 36 people, one of which was House music artist Chelsea Faith aka Cherushii. The Ghost Ship was a live-in artist space where a fire broke out during a party. Considered to be one of the worst fires to ever happen in California’s recent history, the building had already received several complaints on its health and safety issues.
2. The BPM Festival Shooting
Nothing could have prepared us for the horrific shooting that happened on the last days of the January festival in Mexico’s Playa del Carmen. Multiple gunmen were said to have entered the Blue Parrot Nightclub and opened fire, leaving three foreigners and two Mexicans dead. The Zetas cartel claimed responsibility, and the BPM Festival is not allowed to be held at Playa del Carmen again.
3. Clubs Closing in Chicago
Everyone’s beloved Primary has been temporarily shut down, Annex (home of the infamous Red Dog) has forever closed its doors and Evil Olive and Crocodile no longer have House nights. The list for party options has been dwindling for the North Side of Chicago.
Whatever your politics may be, it’s a pretty unanimous agreement that the current divisive climate has left a super wet rag over any kind of festive feeling. People aren’t going out as much and there’s a general doom and gloom prevalent.
5. Fyre Festival
The high end festival with ticket prices going as astronomical as $250,000 turned out to be a Hunger Games style fight for basic survival. Scheduled over two weekends in April and May, it was advertised with movie stars and social media darlings, luxury housing, gourmet meals and big musical acts and immediately descended into complete chaos. By the time the party goers arrived into the island they were left to fight over a few rickety tents and barely passable food. The artists billed claimed they hadn’t been paid leading up to the fest. It was eventually canceled, leaving the early arrived guests scrambling to leave.
6. DJ Polls
People love to hate them, and lately we’ve seen some pretty outlandish accolades given to DJs with questionable musical talent. But hey, it’s good click bait and it gives people something to bitch about for a few weeks. On the upside, Resident Advisor has seen the inequalities such contests bring in terms of representing women, people of color and the queer community and took the very laudable step of ending theirs. Maybe other major publications will follow suit and instead find ways to give shine to underrepresented gems.
7. Milhais Safras and Stealing Beats
Plagiarism is alive and well in 2017, and who would have thought that the award winning king of Tech House would be at the forefront of this story? Greek DJ/producer Mihalis Safras was accused by several producers of ripping off tracks from other producers that were submitting their work to him for release consideration from his Material Series label. With the initial accusation coming from British producer Tennan, he states on his Facebook page that Mihalis was “using Material Series as a platform to get his hands on other producers’ work and is following a specific set of tactics to target his victims. Frequently asking for all parts/sounds for the benefit of his own productions. Once he does that, he then removes all original tracks (the ones he has stolen parts from) from all digital platforms in order to cover his tracks and avoid being detected.” More of them began speaking up against Safras such as German Brigante and Metodi.
8. Prevalent sexism (German DJ)
From the latest issue of Groove Mag, only in print atm pic.twitter.com/cMxEJLgJEB
— DISCWOMAN (@DISCWOMANNYC) June 21, 2017
These past few years the woeful lack of female representation at festivals and parties has been brought up time and time again. And one oh-so-eloquent DJ/producer, Giegling Records founder Konstantin decided to state in an interview to German magazine Groove that it is “unfair that female DJs are so heavily promoted” and that women are “worse at DJing than men are.” He was also quoted by others in the scene as having very sexist views. And though he apologized for his statements after a severe backlash, the damage had already been done.
When the story of Jeremy Underground, the French DJ who was accused of diva-like behavior by demanding a 5 star hotel and a sauna for his gig hit the streets, it became a big brouhaha. Not necessarily because of what the demands were (we’ve seen some superstar DJ riders so we’ve seen diva), but more of the mindset of “Who the hell is Jeremy Underground?”
If there’s one thing the whole #SaunaGate incident taught us, is that a lot of established DJs stay blissfully unaware about the existence and contributions of other DJs in the same field as them. Many bragged online about not knowing who Jeremy was, when a quick Google search would show quite a big body of work that he had put in to contribute to the scene. And because House music has been so divided into micro music sets which has kept each one insulated from the other… well then that which divides us keeps us apart.