My summer entertainment bucket list usually includes these three elements every year: a beach, close friends and danceable beats.
Music festivals check all of three of these boxes off at once. In British Columbia we are blessed with a range of outdoor, beach-proximal fests to choose from: from Keloha in Kelowna to the Edge of the World Festival on Haida Gwaii to our very own Vancouver Folk Music Festival.
One of my favourite forms of music to en plein air is electronica, IDM (short for intelligent dance music), or bleeps bloops. Or whatever you want to call it when a person stands behind turntables, twiddles some knobs and mixes songs together in a set that’s guaranteed to bob your head and tap your fingers, if not more.
The organizers of the Vancouver Urban Spaces Initiative (VUSI) agree with me. Inspired by the rooftop parties of Miami, Piknic Electronic in Montreal or the famous outdoor parties of Detroit and Barcelona, Kelvin Beaudette and Dan Hellman are organizing a number of free or almost free mini-electronic music festivals called the Special Summer Series. “Our objective is to organize an afternoo, outdoor musical experience that is casual and encourages community all the while relaying to people cutting-edge and thoroughly modern examples of exceptional underground music,” explained Beaudette.
On June 30th Beaudette, Hellman and a small army of VUSI volunteers organized the first of the legal outdoor dance parties at Crab Park at Portside from 1:00 – 9:00 p.m. that attracted over 400 people. For the next three months, DJs from the Lower Mainland and beyond will play at alternating parties in both Crab Park and New Brighton Parks. Their next gig on July 14 is a free afternoon complete with food vendors and a whole bunch’o’soul.
DJ’s from Calgary, Victoria and Vancouver will move the crowds at the July 14th event. Sun sensitive? Not to worry if it’s still as hot as a Saturday night at Studio 54; take a dip in Burrard Inlet or at New Brighton pool to refresh your dance muscles and keep on grooving.
According to Beaudette, there is a strong curatorial effort going on at the Special Summer Series gigs. “We are bringing back DJ Koosh, a Victoria legend in his own right, who will be bringing his own entourage (Swoop and Hristo)….These guys are true crate-digging vinyl addicts and it is this exact type of DJ purist that we are honoured to have as part of our series.”
Who is your favourite summertime DJ? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.