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How dance music is making a difference

We take a look at some of the brands and figures in dance music who are going above and beyond to give back not just to dance music but to social causes across the globe.

The past few years have seen brands in and out of dance music become more ethical. With the world more connected and visible than ever, it is almost impossible for brands to hide in the shadows with increasing social pressure to up their stance on a wide range of social issues.

Here are some of the figures and brands within dance music that have been making positive moves to support the industry and wider society and push for positive changes from eco-causes to diversity and inclusion initiatives. We shine a light on those making a real impact.

COMMUNITY WORK

The Abode Project by ABODE

In the past five years, Abode has risen to the upper echelons of club promotions, starting as a Sunday party in London to today, where they host a residency at Ibiza superclub Amnesia. Now the brand has looked beyond putting on parties to give back to those less fortunate than the clubbers who flood their infamous club nights.

As a result, The Abode Project was born, a non-profit organisation with funds raised through crowdfunding, public and private donations. Their main goal is to increase the quality of life for the community of Kabale in Uganda, one of the most deprived parts of Eastern Africa. The project also involves volunteers from all over flying into Kabale for projects to build schools and infrastructure to increase longevity and opportunities for the current and future generations of Kabale.

More info on The Abode Project here.

CLIMATE CHANGE

DGTL Festival

DGTL has become a festival full of innovation for the past seven years. A festival with the mission to encourage discovery, inspire and surprise not just through music but art and production too. They have since set up the DGTL label, launched in 2018, but arguably their biggest success to date has been their drive to make a sustainable impact not just on the domestic festival landscape but internationally. 

The DGTL team dedicates all year round to find the latest breakthroughs that could close material loops, eliminate CO2 emissions, and increase environmental awareness.

Here are some examples of DGTL’s successfully implemented festival’s features to push towards becoming the world’s first circular festival:

Circular Foodcourt 3.0 – DGTL turn all their organic waste into compost. The food menu is created solely from food residues available from all local food chains. They have fully removed meat from their menu, reducing CO2 emissions significantly and saving freshwater and land in the process.

Sustainable Artist Handling – DGTL hosted artists at an Amsterdam circular hotel called Jakarta, known for being one of the most sustainable hotels in the Netherlands. Transportation to and from the hotel and the festival grounds is in electric vehicles.

Battery Powered Stage – In 2019, DGTL Amsterdam installed solar energy powered batteries for the whole stage, resulting in an almost climate-neutral energy system.

Recycled Art & Production – Ace & Tate, an eyewear company that is also very acutely aware of their environmental impact, provided DGTL with 15,000 ‘end-of-life’ lenses to create a gigantic installation at their Amsterdam event. The lenses are a mixture of returns, faulty coloured lenses and demo lenses. Once the festival ends, the feature will travel the world as a global art installation for future exhibitions.

InnoFest – DGTL is striving, year on year, to be accessible to inventors who have new ideas to test during the festival. It can be the perfect testing ground for new inventions that help bring about positive changes in the environment we live in. Litti is an example of this, an ashtray and lighter all in one developed by students at NHL University of Applied Sciences. With festival-goers, inevitably, there will be smokers where some may throw cigarette butts on the floor. This all in one invention is designed to reduce littering.

It comes as no surprise DGTL has become an award-winning festival in the green festival space. In 2019 DGTL won two prizes for its sustainability efforts:  The International Greener Festival Award and the AGF Greener Transport Award.

For more information on DGTL and its sustainability efforts click here.

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

HE.SHE.THEY

A topic of hot debate in recent years, especially as dance music was a counterculture built on diversity and inclusion, is how we have got to this place where image and popularity among peers have become a primary driver allowing division and exclusion to place a firm grip on our beloved dance music scene and cause toxic behaviours to emerge.

HE.SHE.THEY. are bucking the trend and going back to dance music’s origins, a safe space for people to be themselves and express themselves freely without judgment.

HE.SHE.THEY. are a creative hub consisting of a record label, fashion label and queer party open to everyone, focused around their passion House and Techno, and brainchild of Sophia Kearney and Steven Braines, two of the most progressive figures in the dance music space. Having already cut their teeth as managers for their management company Weird and Wonderful, looking after an impressive array of talent, including  Barely Legal, | Ben Rau | Maya Jane Coles, SYREETA, Wax Wings, to name a few.

HE.SHE.THEY. was inspired by the origins of dance music, with the desire to get back to those roots. The concept is about removing boundaries and cultivating an inclusive environment for everyone, from the DJs to the performers. The idea is to create a sanctuary free from repression imposed by societal constraints, whether it be age, race, sex, gender, ability, religion, background or sexual preference.

To find out more about their latest releases, upcoming parties and more click here.

SEXUAL ASSAULT AND HARASSEMENT

Annabel Ross – Journalist

Annabel Ross is a journalist with 15+ years experience, writing for Melbourne newspaper The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Rolling Stone Australia, Billboard, The Guardian, The Daily Beast, Elle, Vogue Living, Vice, Qantas, Resident Advisor, Mixmag, Red Bull and the list goes on extensively.

In particular, Annabel’s recent investigative journalism has drawn attention in electronic dance music circles, focusing on sexism and abuse in dance music, reporting the alleged sexual assaults committed by late superstar DJ Erick Morillo. Rightly so, Annabel won a Drum Award for Best Investigative Journalism piece for her exclusive investigation into Erick Morillo’s 28-year history of harassment and abuse.

Furthermore, Annabel has been a consistent advocate campaigning for a safer music industry and gender equality. Since then, Annabel has gone on to investigate techno artist Derrick May’s alleged abusive behaviour and patterns of sexual assault spanning around thirty years.

Other hard-hitting journalistic pieces from Annabel include her writing about the #metoo movement within dance music, providing DJ Rebekah with a chance to recount her own experiences and detail her fight against sexual abuse in dance music for The Guardian newspaper and also a recent social media castigation of superstar female DJ Peggy Gou primarily by male contingent, demonstrating misogyny is still rife within the underbelly of dance music and shows we have a long way to go before we reach any semblance of equality or inclusivity.

Annabel Ross, though, is doing her utmost to bring the conversation to mainstream media, demonstrating once again her ‘dogged’ approach to journalism when it comes to equality and social justice issues.

To find out more about Annabel Ross and her work click here.

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