Now is a fine time to make money as an electronic-music producer. That’s a fact that hasn’t escaped a few companies in the D.C. area: Since 2010, the local dance-music biz has gone from fledgling to booming. But sacrifices have been made along the way, most of them artistic. In the rush to capitalize on the mainstream resurgence of EDM, who’s winning, and who’s getting dissed?
Club promoter Panorama, which runs the highly commercial party Glow, recently announced plans to take over the 5,000-capacity venue formerly known as D.C. Star. It’s a tall order: Located in a warehouse district in Langdon, the Ward 5 venue isn’t Metro-accessible, and booking a “mega-lineup” every week—which Panorama has pledged to do—sounds daunting.
Winner: People who want to hit Stadium Club and see Tiësto in the same night
Loser: People who don’t drive (or like Tiësto)
It’s not technically local, but the EDM roadshow Identity Festival packed Jiffy Lube Live in July. D.C. trio Volta Bureau played, but as expected, the big acts were your standard fist-pumpin’ variety.
At the second annual festival sponsored by salad chain Sweetgreen, Swedish producer Avicii topped a bill otherwise dominated by rock and stoner hip-hop, which was probably a pretty accurate reflection of the average attendee’s favorite Spotify playlist: rock, rock, rock, A$AP Rocky, and token Swedish pop-house.
The small club south of Dupont Circle opened in August 2010 but never quite hit its stride. After nearly two years of unmemorable bookings and poor promotion, it shuttered last March.
Winner: The competition
Loser: Lovers of tiny clubs
The first hybridized hip-hop and electronic festival to touch down in D.C., last month’s Trillectro at Half Street Fairgrounds tapped into a growing community of locals who take their tight-jeans hip-hop with a dash of synths. Despite a few technical glitches and rainy weather, by most accounts, it was a success.
VIRGIN MOBILE FREEFEST
Skrillex, dwarf prince of womp-womp brostep, gets top billing on Oct. 6. ’Nuff said.
Loser: Art, actual dubstep (RIP)
U STREET MUSIC HALL
The club has found the ticket to staying open: a savvy alliance with 9:30 Club. The V Street NW powerhouse tosses U Hall buzzy acts that are too small for its room, and U Hall returns the favor by booking 9:30’s backbar.
Winner: Pretty much everybody, except…
Loser: Competitors like Rock & Roll Hotel and DC9
Trillectro/Tabi Bonney photo by Marcus J. Moore