Slapstick stigmas in music

There's always a party when a DJ is around. /image:Spencer Reid

There’s always a party when a DJ is around. /image:Spencer Reid

DJs aren’t just for weddings anymore, especially in Regina

Article: Lauren Nuemann – Contributor

On Sep 21, Victoria Plaza was flooded with music lovers of all ages who wanted to spend their Saturday being a part of Regina’s very first Friends Festival. This new-born festival featured DJs from across Saskatchewan uniting downtown. It gave Regina a dance music experience that it’s never experienced before.

“People think DJs are some guy at weddings that sits there and you tell them what song to play,” said Danny Elder, the main player in creating Friends Festival. “We want to show people that it takes talent and hard work.”

Elder has been heavily involved in the music and event planning in Regina for many years. He is a DJ himself, and organizes the consistently popular Summer Invasion. Only one month ago, Elder and the manager of The Hookah Lounge, Ferhat Saglam, fused their knowledge in event planning and music culture and came up with the concept of a free, outdoor, cultural experience that would get Regina’s growing DJ scene out of the clubs and into the public’s ears.

House music, trap, EDM, dubstep, and all their sub-genres typically get a bad reputation in music with being associated to raves, hallucinogens, and bikini-clad girls with furry boots. Because of this perception of DJs, Elder was unsure if Regina would accept a DJ-only festival. Some sponsors and potential sponsors weren’t very receptive to the idea of the festival, but those who were pulled out all the stops to make the festival a reality in such a short amount of time.

“A lot of sponsors really stuck their necks out to make this happen,” said Elder. “With such little time, they came on board with nothing to go off of but our idea. They stepped up and believed in us.”

The case was similar with the DJs that agreed to perform. The entire lineup was made up of DJs that traveled from across Saskatchewan to play at Friends. Saskatoon-based DJs Chris Cole and The Gaff came out as well as Regina’s own Ageless and DJ Noor.

The Hookah Lounge, the Queen City’s current powerhouse for EDM, house music, hip-hop, and what have you, has hosted almost all of the DJs in the lineup in past years and all of them were willing to expand from the lounge and open to taking part in a free, outdoor festival.

Friends Festival’s goal was for people to shake the genre’s stereotype and focus on the positives of DJ culture. As Elder puts it, “It’s just about the music.” When electronic, trap, hip hop, and house are all growing increasingly popular world-wide, Regina needed a heavy dose of it to expose the city to a new-wave of music that could grow to create an active scene in the city that is ready to host future shows and big-name artists. Being an event run completely based off a few people’s belief in a music genre, the little Friends Festival that could, did.

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