Clubs are the lifeblood of the electronic music scene. Yet in recent years people have been stepping out of conventional venues and exploring new and exciting spaces to enjoy dance music.
For some time, the line between festivals and clubs has blurred. Venues like Brazil’s Green Valley, Croatia’s Papaya and Ibiza’s Ushuaia – with their vast outdoor stages – have more in common with a festival than a traditional venue.
We are also seeing bars, rooftops and other public venues being repurposed to welcome dance music. Clubs like Singapore’s Ce La Vi and Omnia Las Vegas are probably more famous for their incredible rooftop views than their traditional indoor offerings.
In the UK, as legislation and costs drive some traditional venues out of business, there has been a huge, nationwide movement towards finding new club spaces.
The Warehouse Project in Manchester operates a series of events in a cavernous warehouse space. Meanwhile, in London, venues like Tobacco Dock and Printworks are transforming London’s nightlife culture by throwing regular events in large, repurposed industrial spaces.
Some locations are more unique than others. Benimussa Park – home of The Zoo Project – is an old abandoned Zoo in Ibiza. The Seal Pit – their star attraction – features a DJ booth suspended above the pool and dancers who fill the grandstand which once seated the zoo’s visitors.
The Zoo Project isn’t the only alternative club space in Ibiza. So-called ‘Cave Raves’ take place across the island’s coastline each summer. Techno luminary, Nina Kraviz, has continued this trend by hosting infamous parties in a cave in Iceland.
Indeed, the Icelandics are no strangers to repurposing their natural assets. During Reykjavik’s Secret Solstice Festival, for instance, there is a party thrown inside of the magma chamber of a volcano.
These alternative spaces create a new level of excitement for dance music exploration. DJ Mag was present when Miller Genuine Draft threw breathtaking Luminocity parties in unique locations as diverse as a luxury mansion and a vast aircraft hanger.
But are the clubs fighting back? In 2017’s Top 100 Clubs results, 30 clubs are outdoors, or have outside space. A glance at the results also highlights the changing face of traditional venues. Many are in unique locations, with non-conventional features, suggesting that clubs themselves are adapting to meet the changing desires of their patrons.
Ultimately this adaptation goes both ways. Dance music occupies a tectonic landscape. The music shifts forms with ferocious pace, as do the locations where it is enjoyed. So as alternative creative spaces pop up, the clubs reinvent themselves along with the music. This constant state of flux is just one of the things that make this culture so exciting.
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