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  A Message to the "Old School"
by Scot McElwaney
Photo by Wendy Huber

Scot McElwaneyA lot of things have changed in our scene over the past few years. As with all scenes it has had its ups and downs. Over the past two years our scene has definitely seen some low points. The commercialization of dance culture has entered our scene and driven many of the "old school" party kids away. Those that are still around have become jaded and remain only to complain about the present state of the scene or reminisce about how great it was in the old days — thereby leaving the new kids that have come into our scene without direction. The vibe at parties has gone downhill over the past couple of years, our scene has grown to revolve around the drugs. Too often you'll find more people lying around than dancing. I'm not saying that the drugs were never a part of our culture but they were not the central focus. The scene was about the music and having a good time. About dancing and that feeling of complete release from the stress of everyday life. It was a place to get away; to be a different person for at least one night.

Sadly, it has been a while since I have felt this from within our scene. Everyone walks around trying to act as "hard" as they can, not smiling, putting up a front. Labels have become far too large a part of our scene. Fashion was always a big part of going to parties, I'm not trying to say that it wasn't, but before it was about creativity...not about Hilfiger. Before, a day at the thrift store provided just as good an ensemble for that night's partying as did a trip to Macy's. Where has the originality in our scene gone? It is too rare that you'll find people going all out at a party, being original or taking a chance with fashion. There was a time when we were trendsetters; now it seems that we're just followers.

So what are we left with? None of that old school vibe. None of the fun. And whose fault is this? The new kids laying in the corner or walking around glaring at everybody?

No.

The blame rests squarely upon our shoulders.

The "Old School."

Scot McElwaney Promoters: Make a little more of an effort. Bring creativity back to the parties. Remember some of the Dynasty sets? Lately, video screens and a great light show is about as far as it goes. Don't just rent out a venue with sound, book DJ's and then flier. Put a little more effort into the night. Do themes. Do sets. Create a vibe. There are a lot of new promotion companies that are poised to bring in a refreshing element to our scene. Please don't drop the ball. Take it and run. Make it something new every time. People will remember it and talk about it for years to come. Remember the Piedmont Park after parties? What happened to them? They were great for the scene. Everyone would meet there after the night was over to talk and reminisce. It helped build a sense of community.

DJ's: YOU control the party. Your energy spreads to the dancefloor. I recently read an interview with a world renowned DJ who feels that he has been given a new lease on life. What he said rings true: "That kid who has worked all week and saved his money to come see me doesn't care if I've had a bad day, or how many gigs I've played this month, or how little sleep I've had. That night is his night and I owe it to him to be at my best." ...These may not be his exact words but you understand the point that I'm trying to make. Show your passion for the music; get into it. World class DJ's can be blown away by the kid next door who has nothing but raw emotion and passion for the music he plays and lets it show. Trust me, I've seen it happen many times. You love the music you spin or you wouldn't be playing it. Let us feel your emotion and passion. Make every night a new and wonderful experience.

Party kids: This is your scene. You are the reason that it exists. You can make it whatever you want it to be. Make every night something that you'll remember. Smile. Dance. It's contagious. Trust me — one smile becomes many. One dancer becomes many. Bring your own vibe to the party. Pass out candy, talk to people, have fun. Please don't let our scene die. It is our duty to educate the new kids on what our scene is about. Remember PLUR? For those of you who have forgotten or never knew, it stands for PEACE, LOVE, UNITY, and RESPECT.

This is a message to the "Old School." It is time for a wakeup call. Our scene wasn't built overnight and it won't be renewed overnight. The promoters and DJ's can't do it on their own. They are putting a huge effort into what they do...show them that you appreciate it. It is up to us. It is time to give back to what has given us so much. This is our scene. Love it. Cherish it. Make it your own. Smile. Dance. Escape. Love.

This is a message to the "Old School."

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