A dance community is a living organism; it grows, adapts, and sheds those parts that do not contribute to survival. Life exists in ticket sales, and popularity fills the bellies of venues. Unfortunately, this means that the events in an area are forced to appeal to the most dominant demographic. If you take a look at the lineups of massive festivals held in the Northwest over the past few years, it is pretty clear that we flock to electro, progressive, bass, and DnB.
None of that is necessarily wrong, but it does mean that other genres, particularly hard dance (no, we are not getting involved in the subgenre crapshoot), receive much less exposure and fewer concerts. In a recent Facebook Post, local DJs, promoters, and even the Marketing Manager for USC Events himself, Gabe Ossa, explained the current state of hard dance and the future of the genre within the Seattle community.
The city is not entirely hard dance deprived. Local DJs will occasionally spin the strong stuff at clubs, and the underground does whatever the hell it wants if you know where to find it. Even USC massives book the occasional hardstyle artist, from Wildstylez at Paradiso 2014 to the Psyko Punks on Day two of Freaknight we never got to see. However, infrequent appearances and a handful of native DJs don’t really sate anyone’s appetite.
It seems strange that we don’t get many hard dance opportunities at a time when the genre has never been more popular in America. Electronic Daisy Carnival and Ultra Music Festival, the biggest EDM events in the country, are booking myriad hardstyle artists. It’s big business, and some of the most famous acts are incorporating the upbeat tempo and relentless kick into their work.
“We booked Brisk, Wildstylez, Alex Kidd, and a few others and it was a pretty desolate scene. It was quite mortifying to talk with WIldstylez after his set of playing for about 80 people when he just headlined Defqon the weekend before for tens of thousands…. That kind of negative artist experience cannot happen so a festival or even a complete stage is not feasible for a long time in Seattle until the growth of the community supports this” -Gabe Ossa
Lucky isn’t featuring a single hard dance artist. Criticize USC Events all you want, but they consistently provide diverse lineups, and even they are shying away. Hardstyle shows receive a mediocre turnout at best, a dramatic decline from the venues once filled to the brim. Quite frankly, Gabe’s account gives a fairly damning indication of the extent to which Seattle shuns hard EDM. Not only is it financially unsustainable to hire these artists, tiny audiences will ensure that the few that do will not return.
So, no, hard dance’s absence from Seattle is not the fault of the event promoters. It’s ours. We constitute the core of this community, and collectively, we are choosing to let our hardstyle scene die. If it is to have life breathed back into it, it must come from our own lungs, our own effort, and most importantly, our own wallets.
We’ve provided a link to the conversation here, and it makes for some interesting reading. Keep in mind, it is social media, so in addition to the relevant information, you’ll also get to see firsthand how people that preach peace, love, unity, and respect can treat each other horrendously over a difference of opinion. Speaking of social media, you can keep yourself informed with our Facebook and Twitter, though we do rather prefer it if you’re civil.