Though there’s certainly no dearth of dance parties in New York City, it’s only every so often that a truly special event comes along. And “special” was an apt description of the Beats in Space 12th Anniversary Festival, which celebrated 12 years of Tim Sweeney’s now-legendary WNYU 89.1 FM dance-focused radio show Beats in Space on Sunday, September 25.
With the festival originally slated from 12-9 p.m. in an outdoor lot in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, some nasty weather predictions (which ultimately proved false) prompted organizers to look for an alternate indoor venue. A spacious 5,000-square-foot Soho loft (Safe Harbor at 446 Broadway) nicely filled the role, and the schedule shifted slightly later to a more hangover-friendly 2-11 p.m, with people gradually trickling in over the first three hours or so and revolving in and out through the length of the festival.
The marathon of beats featured back-to-back sets by some of NYC’s most influential and sought-after DJs and producers (also likely Sweeney compadres). Despite the relative roominess, the space had a pretty intimate feel — this was a no-bullshit-hipster-posturing zone, with pretty much everyone there due to their love of the music. Though dubbed a “festival,” the event had more in common with a house party – yet the coolest house party you could imagine, informal and friendly, with the artists mingling, dancing, and drinking throughout the afternoon and night with the regular musicheads.
Things started off chill, with the man of the hour himself kicking things off with a two-hour set as the early birds lounged on various couches and beds. Around 4, with the only proper live set of the day, Blondes stepped up with their moody, multi-layered waves of sound. While their music always seems best suited to a dark, smoky club, it mattered little – people got lost in the complex rhythms and intense atmosphere of tracks both known and brand-new, and were treated to a bit of a lengthier set than they’ve had at most “normal” gigs.
DJ Nature got on the decks next, warming up the dancefloor gently, yet firmly. By the time he finished, the dancefloor had begun to fill under the ginormous discoball (installed a few hours after doors, adding to the house-party feel). Hercules and Love Affair’s Kim Ann Foxman followed, kicking things up more than a notch with an impressively deep and sexy mix of acid house and disco.
Things became a bit of a blur after that, as day turned to night, lights and smoke washed the room, and arms and balloons took flight. More premium disco insanity came courtesy of fierce sets from Metro Area, Rub N Tug, and Juan Maclean, with the more esoteric Matthew Dear nicely wrapping up the festivities.
On the only downside, we’re experiencing a bit of an Indian summer in NYC, and the loft’s A/C system appeared not be operating very efficiently … meaning that the room became a bit of a sauna by late afternoon. Ever the considerate and gracious host, Sweeney personally ran out to purchase a shitload of accordion-style handheld fans, which he then distributed to sweaty revelers.
Super good times all around. Not to age you too quickly, B.i.S., but we kind of can’t wait to help you celebrate 13 …