This week, Ears To The House is running a little series all about things which happened during the pandemic – which we accept isn’t over, before anyone asks – that the dance music world would probably rather forget. In our opening chapter yesterday, we talked about an ill-advised idea Trax Records had early in the pandemic on how to spread a message about safety. Today, we remind the world of the short-lived Tour Managers Not Touring…


Rarely in dance music history has an idea been so badly received that it died within a little over a week of its birth. Born on the 27th April 2020, Tour Managers Not Touring was the brainchild of a number of big name DJs who were suddenly wondering how they were going to pay their managers, now they couldn’t work themselves.

The idea was simple. DJs and their tour managers would do online sets and events. People could send them donations for this and in some cases, they would receive freebie DJ sets and tracks in exchange for their support. But from the start, the concept was flawed – and not just because it was being spearheaded by millionaires brandishing begging bowls.

Music producers and other DJs quickly resented the idea of big name DJs getting donations to play records given away for free – with no financial compensation for another group also affected by coronavirus lockdowns. Trance producer John Askew soon put up a pretty angry video condemning the whole movement.

As a result, the campaign died on its own arse around a week later – on 4th May 2020, to be precise. There was barely an attempt to defend itself – everything was taken offline, presumably in the hope no one would notice or remember. Those who tried to defend their involvement, such as Carl Cox, soon found themselves wishing they hadn’t, as people pointed out a DJ worth around £12million holding a begging bowl just came across as grasping.

In the end, a number of those tour managers and DJs continued to be paid anyway – Dubfire, for example, played plague raves in Tulum to ensure it. And the money donated to Tour Managers Not Touring? Curiously, no one ever asked where that went…

COMING UP ON SUNDAY: Plague raves. Remember those?