Shiny Crystal Balls
2003 Ver. 1

2003 - so what's install for the local Dance scene? Who the funk knows, but whatever it can only be better than last year, certainly here in GP anyway. Here's my version of 2003:

The big news is that it's the year funky techno arrives in Joburg. It all started with Josh Wink at Dreamscape on New Years Eve. Up tempo improvised beats got people dancing in ways they did not think possible, stimulating minds at the same time. Someone said something about Detroit Techno. And about DJ's making music from music. So a few brave funksters got together and started a monthly funky techno night at a very cool underground venue - it was a fresh vibe where lovers of music and dance united as never before. Punters discovered they did not have to get trashed to have fantastic time. There was something different about this scene, something very healthy. It attracted a wide range of people. Inspired by the African American roots of this music, Y-FM started a weekly funky techno show hosted by DJ Funktron, which drew a record number of late night listeners.

It wasn't long before the good vibes spread, inspiring a new wave of promoters to put on some quality parties with class international acts: Richie Hawtin at Carfax, Mistress Barbara at the Spark Gallery. Jeff Mills even made an appearance at a very underground party in downtown Joburg: all will go down as epic moments in SA dance history. And to top it all, AE Productions brought out Laurent Garnier for the 2004 New Years Dreamscape - his 8 hour eclectic house-techno set left a packed dance floor screaming for more like never before.

2003 also saw independent crews delivering more excellent underground parties. The progressive house monthly night put on by the Blue Nova crew packed intimate venues out to capacity. What a vibe: great tunes, friendly people, no attitude promoters, no bouncers, no bozos and no spectators! Hot House continued their tradition of excellent parties with a return to their roots and two great productions at stunning venues just out of town. Brainstorm were a bit quiet for the beginning of the year due to parental obligations, but soon recovered to throw a weekend party on a train ride that just never seemed to let go. The trance crews Lunatech and Mushroom Mafia did not dissappoint with several great parties where the new progressive trance sound continued to draw a fresh crowds. The highlight was a collaboration for a September long weekend trance party at a stunning venue in mountains of the north western Free State, with a (Vaal) river running through - something to do with a meteorite impact 300 milliion years ago? (if anyone has any brain cells left over from that party please let us know more details).

For most of the Joburg clubs, it was business as usual and funky house continued to rule. However racist door policies at some venues hit the headlines with several criminal charges being laid by incensed ravers, and in the true spirit of PLUR, clubbers voted with their feet. However a positive development was a trend for club owners to open up their venues to other promoters, which meant a few innovative nights with an independent flavour.

There were very few big parties, the exception being Mealiefields, a fantastic festival just out of Joburg in the valleys of the Magaliesburg, the likes of which we have not seen since those legendary ICE Freedom Festivals. The best clubs & independents had tents which were rammed the whole night, and there was something for everyone. Although the party only ran from Saturday noon to Sunday morning, many of the 30000 who attended made a camping weekend out of it, all the facilities were really excellent. The main arena hosted top local DJ's but it was Carl Cox who stole the show with a four hour set that left few survivors.


Oh well, no harm in dreaming is there?

Bruce Gillespie
SpinOut Productions & The MilkyWay Foundation


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