This week, Ears To The House ran 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. Due to some scheduling issues, this last segment has been delayed until now. Our first and second parts were about a Trax Records fail and the ill-fated Tour Managers Not Touring respectively.
Today, our final part discusses a less edifying part of the pandemic – plague raves…
So, plague raves. Remember those? These were clandestine raves which started to take place early in the pandemic on a small scale, but increased in size as it became clear restrictions on legal clubbing would be in place for quite some time. They were typically characterised by their lack of safety rules designed to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Beginning on a small scale, these ones received varying degrees of crackdown by the police – certain countries appeared to take a harder stance than others on the subject. As 2020 went on, footage of DJs such as Charlotte De Witte, Nina Kraviz and human diazepam Solomun started to emerge on social media – the latter of these could actually be seen ordering someone to stop filming in one clip.
The dance music world also discovered that DJs such as Dubfire think their fans are complete morons. How? By posting pictures of themselves on the likes of Instagram with their location being declared as Tulum. This Mexican town became infamous for plague raves during 2021, yet these big name DJs expected their fans to believe they were there for entirely different reasons.
Regrettably, even site favourite Nastia was doing it – openly declaring in January 2021 that she was heading out to Colombia and Ecuador that month. The Ukrainian DJ got an absolute pasting from her followers on Instagram, but she seemed surprisingly reluctant to respond to them – in much the same way all the other DJs doing it wouldn’t speak about it either.
So have any of these DJs seen their careers suffer because of it? In a word, no. The likes of Carl Cox took a principled stand in 2021 and urged people to get the Covid vaccine – he now takes the utterly unprincipled stand of playing alongside DJs who performed at the plague raves he previously condemned. Many others are amongst those ranks, too – their collective silence was the price to continue earning five figure sums for a few hours work.
And as ever, the useless dance music press were happy to help – by doing absolutely nothing. With the exception of 5 Magazine, they downplayed it to almost nothing. Heaven forebid any of their “journalists” were to upset the PR people and managers whom many of them also call their friends.
Indeed, the only outlet which did speak to a DJ who’d done plague raves was Ears To The House under its previous guise – and only on strict condition of anonymity. For which we received a number of legal threats from the DJ’s agency demanding we sign a gagging order – demands which our editor unceremoniously rebuffed.
They got away with it, in short. And if we’re ever unlucky enough to deal with another pandemic anytime soon, they’ll probably get away with it again…