Was 2016 the Year Dance Music Finally Grew Up?
Music writer Ross Gardiner reflects on dance music's peaks and valleys in the last 12 months. Gardiner succumbs to the fact that for many reasons, it was not a great year, while still reminding us of the glimmers of hope.This article originally appeared on Insomniac.com
2016 was our 1968. It’ll be remembered by everyone involved as a tumultuous, polarizing year, defined by its demoralizing US election, ongoing wars, and the gradual retreat toward more conservative views. Even dance music—the hedonistic, apolitical retreat for the flamboyant and the fragrant—has been forced to take stances on certain adjacent issues, being dragged into the political arena over its culture of drugs and the future of clubs.
Just as I pulled the ripcord on 2016 and started this retrospective feature, news of the tragic warehouse party fire in Oakland came through. At least 33 of our fellow clubbers were killed on December 2 while they attended an underground event in a space without necessary permits. The tragedy put the spotlight on the obvious problems of having large swaths of the scene lingering in unregulated spaces, but it also exposed the debilitating effect the Bay Area’s housing crisis is having on the arts community.
“It’s been a monumentally shit year, but there were a lot of truths and, if you squint hard enough, a lot of silver linings.”