Its in the nature of a government to try to govern. Its in the nature of the body to move and dance.
Last week I visited Toronto. That city has an amazing underground life but a rather stiff clubbing scene in my opinion.
The record stores are great! Especially “Play De Record” on Younge street who are hosting DJ classes in the store and has a great variety of DrumNBass, House, HipHop and Techno. Culturally there is still a lot of reminiscence of three major historical events the G20 summit in 2010 that brought protestors to the streets and people together, the de-criminalization of Marijuana in 2007 and the passing of the 37:1 Bill 73, Raves Act of 2000.
According to the Raves act all organizers of parties with entrance fee that runs from 02 to 06 in the morning are eligible to apply for a legal permit with the police before the event. Otherwise they will be charged with up to 50, 000$ (Canadian dollars). The law is specifically designed to strike down on free and liberating cultures with spontaneous meetings, all of which are headlined as “Raves”. I states that these measures are there for “safety” but to me its clear that this is only about crowd control from the governments perspective.
In the UK they called the same bill Criminal Justice Act (CJA) of 1994. The CJA did have additional elements to it but the ones most heavily criticized where the parts of the bill related to raves. The effects on the Rave scene were largely the same as in Toronto but to some non-ravers it just got silly.
This lead to a commercialization of the scene and most rave organizers where forced to host their events in major clubs. Major clubs have fees guards wardrobes insurance and are mostly owned by a small group of people who tend to create monopolies of “entertainment facilities” in certain districts or even cities.
So basically the effect of the Raves act are that you take the dance out of the warehouse or forest and put it in the hands of capitalists and/or mafia.
The empire(s) strikes back
The only re-occuring drum n bass venue at the moment is Guvernment, a venue owned by Ink Entertainment. The CEO Charles Khabouth and president Danny Soberano also operates
Guvernment (booked the knife, avicci rebecca and fiona in one week.)
The other half of the city is run by Liberty Entertainment Group who hosts a bunch of other (posh) venues in Toronto in collaboration with Ink.
This is the bunch:
If you randomly click and follow any of these links you will notice that they all follow the same theme, posh, exotifying, “exclusive” and strictly neat dress-code. Its not rare to see descriptions such as “sexy”, “sponsored by” or “bottle service”. If you don’t know what bottle service is do look it up.
Another Venue is the Aria Entertainment Complex, they host DrumNBass floors now and then and it seems like they have the worst Yelp reviews I have ever seen. http://www.yelp.ca/biz/aria-entertainment-complex-toronto
My experience tells me that such descriptions and after visiting some of these locations these venues have little room for creativity, experimentation, cultural heritage or anything related to the evolution of culture rather its SELL, SELL, SELL!
From one cold place to another
In Sweden the law of Dance-Permits was updated 1993, but the dance debate has been going on since at least late 1800.
Here is an article describing how a municipality close to Gothenburg tries to evict a dancing facility in its village in 1928. People travel in the truckloads from far and beyond to participate in the dance by the lake of Flabäck.
The legal situation in Sweden today dictates that in order to make any gathering at all including one with dance in a legal permit has to be given by the local police department. Now basically only few of the major clubs actually apply for this but some how gets away with it anyway. The ones who actually get convicted for “inciting to dance” or “illegal dancing” are people who organize raves and mostly “after hours clubs”.
The legal chapter of Swedish law that forbids unlicensed dancing https://lagen.nu/1993:1617#K2P4
My personal experience here is that this law does not really have a great effect if it can be proven that the group dancing is a private group not a public one. That means a organization with membership are still allowed to dance. The Police does at times get assigned to raid such organizations over charges such as fire hazards or illegal alcohol sales but those charges usually don’t last in court.
Also the law in Sweden does not have the same type of crowd controlling effects as in UK or CA since its missing some details and punishment for the “illegal dancing”.
During 2012 there was protests in Stockholm with regards to this bit of law, where mostly liberals and some party organizers protested the bill of 1993. Others (Solna HQ and Kulturföreningen Kråkan) claimed that such protest needed to have furthered goals to succeed, turns out they were right. In order to battle this law it needs to be broken and it needs to be understood that laws are always broken. The Rave act or CJA of Sweden is comparably weak, it might as well be non-existent. Still it is important to protest it, it is important to break it. Don’t just give up your body to the state. Please don’t let the government decide when and where you dance. There are motives behind laws such as CJA and Raves act that tries to change the room the mood and the setting of where culture is performed. This is a controlling mechanism and not only did the commercialization of the UK and CA rave scene start with CJA and Rave Act. It also forced us, the audience in to settings where the norms of a capitalist society rules. Where men are men and women are there to please them, where sex sells and creativity is something you have to buy to get access to. Places where poor people are not allowed due to dress-codes or other unwritten codes that are defined by class or ethnicity.
Malmö Club Mafia
Currently in Malmö Sweden the club Mafia is in a crisis, the municipality culture support for clubs have been taken away (started during Eurovision Song Contest), bars like Tempo and Grand have closed due to tax problems, KulturBolaget is in debt to over 1MSKR, Inkonst lost its alcohol permit, Moriskan fired half of their staff, Klaffbron closed down due to economical difficulties. Some blame the freeparties and the after hours clubs, some blame the municipality for taking away its support, others mention the economical crisis we are in (that does not seem to have an end either).
If I can not dance to it, its not my system
In my opinion this situation is optimal for culture to grow out of the “major clubs” and back to the roots. To the studios, apartments, street parties after hours clubs and culture clubs. Last weekend I helped organizing ÖKA drum n bass in a “culture organization” venue, closed membership and secret location. At this party there were people from three generations of Drum N Bass organization in Malmö, Haywire from Southern Connection who used to run things down at Utkanten - Industrigatan and Moonbass who used to run Big Bad Breaks at panora by the train station. And it struck me, this scene has almost only stayed alive due to these culture clubs supporting it. Majors have been there for once a year events with no profit to organizers and no possibility for budgets or future planning. In the end the savior of underground culture has always been the enthusiast who allow themselves to decide when to dance and not.