How Sunday School catalyzed a house and techno revolution in the US
“This is like Sunday School for degenerates." - designer Jeff Wright
Dancing Astronaut provides a history of Sunday School, the famed trance, house and techno parties which started as WMC after parties in downtown Miami thrown by New York promoters Mike Bindra and Laura DePalma. From old flyers and lineups to stories straight from the original organizers, this Dancing Astronaut feature educates on the significance of Sunday School and how it impacted the rise of dance music culture.This article originally appeared on Dancing Astronaut
Long before Winter Music Conference morphed into a sensationalized mecca for electronic music lovers, two New York party promoters started something special: Sunday School. The event began as a whisper of a thing in the early 2000s. American audiences, unfriendly to their own creations, weren’t quite ready to embrace the dance music of European club culture. But Mike Bindra and Laura DePalma wanted to change that.
The event took form as a WMC closing party in downtown Miami, arm’s length from the sleaze of South Beach, in a venue called Pawn Shop after the building’s former incarnation. Complete with rows of airplane seating, a converted 18 wheeler DJ booth, and an old school bus moonlighting as a lounge, the venue often packed hundreds of bodies into their eclectic space. The crowd was largely European and desperately hungry for the trance, house, and techno rotation they just couldn’t get elsewhere.
Before long, the party caught fire in underground circles, growing ever larger with the help of Facebook — a then revolutionary tool which amplified word of mouth. The party itself blossomed organically. The name was almost a colloquial quip from designer Jeff Wright who’d never experienced an event of such magnitude. “Man,” he thought to himself, “this is like Sunday School for degenerates.”