THE DANCE COMMUNITY GIVES BACK
Texto: Cat Weisweiller
Just as the party scene could probably do with a more positive spotlight on it, a locally founded charity, the “Last Night a DJ Saved My Life Foundation” (LNADJ), has made a timely appearance on the scene. Their motive is simple and yet profound – “to unite the global dance community to raise vital funds and awareness for environmental and humanitarian causes”. In so doing, they inspire the original club generation (from 1987 on) right through to the latest party generation into heightened global consciousness. The foundation’s wide reaching message also, consequentially, ploughs through sceptical public opinion by proving that irrefutable good can come out of club culture. It does this by harnessing the very powerful energy of this irrepressible global phenomenon and turning it into an undeniable force for good – effectively displaying an exemplary use of mass consciousness. Along with giving people already within the dance circles a more focused raison d’être, this can’t help but strengthen the global dance community’s reputation as a whole.
I can go some way to explaining the ‘energy’ of which I believe LNADJ speaks. Like many, I look back with great nostalgia on my clubbing days. A time when random nights out filtered into long weekends that we hoped would never end… till pesky practicalities like sleep or work got in our way. A time when chance meetings turned into lifelong friendships; podiums across the world bore our weighty enthusiasm and venues, however packed, still made room for our upstretched arms. The early days of Acid House (1988-89) take me even further into this heartfelt reminiscence: Blissful memories of a time when queues of cars would gather on dark roads to await word of the secret whereabouts of an “illegal rave” to filter down the line. Mobile phones – neither invented, nor required. Empty aircraft hangers and abandoned warehouses injected with new life. Thousands of us cheekily defying the authorities. DJs – our spiritual guides. Hypnotic lasers shaping our very existence. Complete strangers locking eyes, smiling, even hugging, in platonic admiration. Our only care: When would we all secretly gather again? No dress code. No discrimination. All united in one common cause: To have uninhibited fun.
Contrary to popular belief, this wasn’t, and still isn’t, all about the drugs. Granted, ecstasy may have played a significant part in breaking down barriers, but, speaking as someone who was always drug free and, frankly, had to be peeled off my podium at the end of any night – this was about much much more: A sense of freedom; a meeting of minds; a contagious atmosphere of heightened euphoria and camaraderie; ever evolving music that never failed to lift our spirits and move our bodies; a palpable energy that hung in the air. This “energy”, set the foundation of much that lay ahead on the dance scene, particularly here in Ibiza.
Back then, we were maybe too young to understand what the LNADJ organisers now do. With the benefit of hindsight and a desire to gently guide the next generation, LNADJ is merely taking this same powerful “energy” and elevating it to even better use – to serve the environment and people in need. This charitable vocation, so obvious that it beggars belief it hadn’t already been consolidated into action, came to an Ibiza resident and LNADJ founder, Jonny Lee, in 2010. Jonny, who had already brought Earthrun and Earthdance to Ibiza under his “Follow Your Heart Productions” brand, felt that he had a responsibility to act on his profound instinct that the dance scene’s energy had a greater combined purpose then solely one of enjoyment. He knew that this mass multi-billion euro revelry could be seamlessly guided into giving back. Pairing up with a fellow visionary and now LNADJ’s Head of Production, Ian Kennedy, their onward journey soon reinforced that they were on exactly the right track. And so the Last Night a DJ Saved My Life Foundation (LNADJ) was born with a strapline that reads: “Unity, Community and Serious Fun”.
Quite apart from already having such a fitting name, the foundation soon welcomed the collaboration of none other than the song’s original vocalist: Réjane Magloire (aka Zaza). Zaza, now a LNADJ Ambassador, has re-recorded the vocals of the original track for the foundation’s global charity re-release, scheduled for 2012. DJ Danny Rampling has also been on board as a Trustee since its earliest days. Since then, a scroll of big name DJs and music, media & marketing professionals have piled in, generously offering their time and expertise, for free, in a bid to spread the foundation’s positive word. DJ Ease (Nightmares on Wax), DJ Alfredo (We Love…Space), Bruce Parry (BBC ‘Tribe’), Stephen Russell (the Barefoot Doctor) and Andy Wilson (Sonica Radio) are amongst its Ibiza patrons. Meanwhile, Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim) is one of its UK supporters.
Presently working out of Brighton UK and Ibiza, LNADJ’s mission is simple: Partnering with environmental and humanitarian charities and causes, they use the international LNADJ brand (which effectively represents the charitable side of the dance community and taps into its massive online, offline and event community) to help raise considerable added funds and awareness. Through their careful charity vetting process, LNADJ strives to ensure that any money raised goes straight to the source of a problem without soak up along the way. Their brand’s credible and heartfelt approach generates willing collaboration from all corners of the dance community: From venues and events offering a percentage of their entry fee or drinks revenue; to music brands offering free incentive prizes; to DJs donating their set fees. A unique online fundraising platform: “DJ Dares” will soon encourage DJs of all walks of life (from bedroom to world renowned) to set up their own independent sponsorship schemes under the LNADJ banner too.
To date, LNADJ has already raised funds for their long-term charitable partners: “Survival International”, “Teenage Cancer Trust”, “Bottletop” and “Ibiza Preservation Fund”. They are also raising funds, in partnership with “Global Angels”, for the victims of the Japan crisis. With the momentum that the foundation already carries, the possibilities are endless. What is for sure is that not only will countless global causes benefit from this ingenious use of combined consciousness but that LNADJ will boost the spirit and credibility of the dance music industry considerably. I can think of no better place for this exciting movement to have started then here in Ibiza, nor any better time then now. 24 years on – club culture is older, wiser and ready to give something back.