Our resident dance music blogger Kate details the Ultra Music Festival in the USA and the special Red Dot Relief campaign to help victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami.
Ultra Week, ultra-cool
All eyes turn to Miami this week as the world’s biggest DJs, producers and egos rock up for Ultra Week, a six-day party revolving around the sold-out Ultra Music Festival from March 25-27.
Once the after-party to the annual Miami Winter Music Conference, the conference’s date shift to the start of the month means that Ultra Week now stands on its own as the place to show off your label, roster, new bangers and slick pool party moves.
Tiesto, Deadmau5, The Chemical Brothers, Underworld, David Guetta, Armin Van Buuren, Carl Cox, Pendulum, Moby, Erasure, Erick Morillo, Sasha, Rusko and MSTRKRFT are just some of the superstars appearing, while innumerable fringe events, hotel soirées and yacht shindigs come from the likes of Pacha NYC, Mad Decent, Cadenza, Circo Loco, Soul Clap v Wolf + Lamb and, of course, WMC veteran Danny Tenaglia.
But despite the hordes of places to find new highs, the hedonist hotspot is overshadowed this year by the recent devastating events in Japan.
Consequently, a group of DJs including Vision Quest's Seth Troxler (pictured, top), Damian Lazarus’s Crosstown Rebels crew and Jay Haze and the Tuning Spork camp have set up a campaign, Red Dot Relief, to try and rally support and funds from the dance music community. They are urging DJs to donate their party fees to Japan-based NGO Peace Boat (visit www.peaceboat.org), who are working directly with the relief effort, and whom renowned party philanthropist Haze has collaborated with in the past.
'Japan is like the holy grail of places to DJ' – Damian Lazarus
“Japan is like the holy grail of places to DJ. The club scene there is so incredible, the country and the people are so beautiful and to see such a disastrous thing happen to people that we either know or are friends and family of people that we know is horrific,” says Lazarus. “I didn’t expect everyone to be able to do it, but, as it turned out, the majority said to just donate their entire fee, it was no problem.”
The campaign was only officially announced this week, but the website link reddotrelief.org has been posted nearly 2,000 times on Facebook.
After Ultra Week, there will be a Red Dot Relief party in London on May 12 with Seth Troxler himself and compadres Jamie Jones, Claus Voigtmann and special guests at a venue yet to be confirmed. Play For Japan at East Village in London today (Thursday) with the Secretsundaze camp, Tomoki Tamura and friends, or the Japan Relief Fundraiser with Tittsworth in Washington DC on Saturday are events in the immediate future that you might want to check out.
Philanthropy is rife in the rock music realm of Bob Geldofs and Bonos. But while the electronic world would rather smash itself in the face with a Moog synthesiser than be seen as dogmatic, Red Dot Relief does signify that finally DJs are starting to acknowledge their potential to be the do-gooders that do more than just get people off with their music. “Unfortunately we have to wait for a natural disaster to come along to realise that we can have the power to make a difference,” concludes Lazarus, “but I really do believe that we can.”
Track of the week
Foo Fighters – Rope (Deadmau5 remix)
The mau5-headed one collides with Dave Grohl and co to create the kind of metallic-edged electro-house womper that MSTRKRFT would be proud of.
- Red Dot Relief Facebook page
- Resident Advisor’s comprehensive guide to Ultra Week parties
- Read previous Blog on the Dancefloor entries
- Follow Kate on Twitter: @katehutchinson