We are aware of the priceless beauty of Iceland, but do you need to spend $1 million to appreciate it?
Promoters - your job is to bring people together. Please do not forget that, in your rush for sales and hype.
Dance music unequivocally started on the streets. Initially, it was music that brought under-privileged and marginalised people together under one roof and, a short time later, embraced all walks of life and made them equal on the dancefloor. Anyone was welcome, but only if they left their ego and preconceptions at the door. The early Chicago clubs likely didn’t have a VIP area. They certainly didn’t sell tables. We all know what came later, around the world.
Ibiza, for example, is one of the places where the VIP world and electronic music have come together. Saying that, in the Ibiza of the 60s, 70s and 80s, so the story goes, you would find the high rollers on the dancefloor together with the waifs and strays. It's a sign of the times that - globally - the moneyed elite now prefer to enjoy their music experience from a balcony or behind a rope, gazing down on the dancing public as if they are some kind of performing troupe. The embracing of the VIP culture in Ibiza - as it does anywhere else - leads to division within the micro-climate of the club and, ultimately, its end. Some places are not meant to be divided.
Taking the VIP idea - and its notion of superiority and separation - to its natural conclusion, it should not have come as a surprise that sooner or later we would see something particularly vulgar and, this week we found it - Iceland's Secret Solstice announcing their '$1 Million Dollar Ticket With All New Perks', but it did.
The festival is a relatively recent, but welcome, addition to the global calendar and has constantly offered innovative programming, as arena level acts such as Massive Attack and Wu-Tang Clan headline but are supported by a healthy slate of underground house and techno. We love that, although this year it features Slayer, Steve Aoki and Clean Bandit (no thanks) with more worthwhile acts like Charlotte De Witte, Egyptian Lover and Raresh.
But Secret Solstice have called this one badly. It may simply be a PR gimmick, but to celebrate and actively promote this, as if this is a cause for celebration and praise, is just tacky.
The $1 Million Dollar Ticket offers a round-trip pick up via private chartered business jet, luxury accommodation, private dining with high profile chefs, a luxury spa, lavish gift hamper, 24/7 access to deluxe cars, a private convert, premium luggage, a yacht safari amongst the geothermal hot springs and a whole host of other exclusive things.
Sure, it all sounds wonderful, but it has no place in dance music. The repackaging of our culture for millionaires is simply not cool. In the rush to find new angles to sell tickets and gimmicks to drive publicity, the organisers are forgetting what this music is actually here to do - unite. It was not put in the world to separate us.
VIPs - its more fun on the dancefloor than up in the Gods. Come and join us down here
If this lifestyle is how some people live, or want to live, fine - but we ask promoters not to dangle it out in front of the public, as if you just invented fire, when the fact is that 99% of the people that see this offer cannot afford it and, hopefully, wouldnt buy it, even if they could.
Dance music is supposed to be the music of the people. Acid house was the last great youth movement. If that million dollar ticket allowed everyone else to get in free, we would get behind it, otherwise no thanks.
Got an hour to kill and want to get informed?
For The Record: Dance Music Needs to Shake Its Facebook Habit
For The Record: The Real Reason Illegal Raves Are On the Rise.
For The Record: Dance Music is Eating Itself (Part I)
For The Record: Dance Music Is Eating Itself (Part II)