Set times once used to be a crafted thing of beauty, a form of unity created by a group of passionate artists and promoters working closely together in order to produce the perfect musical experience. It was that very musical experience that gained the trust of the attendees and brought them back week after week.
Recently a set time has become a badge of honour, a trophy of status, a show of power, a chest puffed announcement to the world they are performing a headline set. An army of managers now dictate to the promoter when and for how long their act plays to ensure they become the main attraction so that they walk away being ‘man of the match’ taking the glory for the evenings entertainment. It’s career building.
It’s a hard pill to swallow for the next generation of DJs getting pushed to the side at festivals and big events, they get 60 minutes to play while the big guy gets 3 hours. It’s an even harder pill for the promoter to swallow when the manager won’t listen to his pleas that the set time they are dictating won’t work in his territory. The musical curve is shattered and disjointed throughout the evening. The big guy finishes playing then leaves. So does the rest of the dancefloor. The promoter used to be like a conductor of an orchestra ensuring all the parts of the band flowed, now they’re a school teacher fighting off the spoiled brat’s parents.
The evening’s programming must have a story, a magical journey. There used to be a gentleman’s agreement while on the stage, the DJ before would bring the energy to the correct level for the next to take over. A discrete conversation would be had once the next act arrived letting them know the tracks you already played and asking what BPM/vibe they would like things to be left for them, instead you’re often faced with a musical situation that’s a long way off where you fit and have to reset things. Yes it effects the vibe on the dance floor.
There is light at the end of this tunnel. There’s a new generation of events and festivals that are gaining traction, with that unity getting reignited and it’s wonderful to see people like Boomtown, Bedrock, Jeff Ryan (Dreamstate), John O’Callaghan (Subculture), Javier Bussola (BAT), Oz (Ozmozis), Solarstone (Pure Trance), Noisily, Luminosity, JOOF Editions, and more getting hands on personally communicating with the artists to ensure they produce the best shows possible. Passion once again takes prime place.
– John ’00’ Fleming