• Festival Advisor

How Dance Music Culture Was Built By Black Artists

Festival Advisor stands against racism, police brutality and injustice against Black people worldwide. We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and the fight against the injustices and racial discrimination. The music festival community has always stood for Peace, Love, Unity and Respect, and we stand by these ideals. More importantly, our community wouldn’t exist today without the work of Black artists—dance music was created by them, and we owe what we have today to these artists.

In the late 1970s, Frankie Knuckles, also known as the “Godfather of House Music,” paved the way for this style of music. Knuckles originally became well-known in New York during his residency at the Gallery and his popularity spread, thus taking him to Chicago. He was asked to perform at a new club dubbed the Warehouse, and it was there where he merged disco classics with electro-pop, funk, soul and other genres. His style became known as “House Music”—a shortened version of the venue name, Warehouse. Many years later in 2004, the block where the iconic venue stood was renamed Honorary Frankie Knuckles Way.

Knuckles’ contribution is only a sample of the numerous other legendary Black artists who also set the stage for the future of house and electronic music: Ron Hardy, Larry Levan, Marshall Jefferson, Steve “Silk” Hurley, Phuture, Larry Heard, Chip E and Farley “Jackmaster” Funk are among the heavyweight names. Later came a second wave of influential house artists, such as Carl Craig, Green Velvet and Felix da Housecat, all three of whom still perform to this day and boast their own labels—Planet E Communications, Founders of Filth and Relief Records, respectively.

In the years since, the electronic dance music community has been influenced by numerous other Black artists. From Seth Troxler to 12th Planet and Honey Dijon to Flying Lotus, these acclaimed artists are making their mark in numerous genres across the scene. Unfortunately, the industry has become white-washed and many of these talented artists have been pushed to the sidelines of lineups. In an effort to amplify their voices, we’ve chosen some of our favorite sets and live streams for you to watch, along with some notable labels for you to find new music from. This is not an exhaustive list and we recognize this won’t fix the issues in our country. However, we can take the time to learn, listen and educate ourselves on the issues at hand, and we urge our readers to do the same.


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12th Planet’s SMOG Records

Black Coffee's Soulistic Music

Carl Cox’s Intec Digital

Carl Craig’s Planet E Communications

Felix da Housecat’s Founders of Filth

Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder

Green Velvet’s Relief Records

Seth Troxler’s Tuskegee Music

Todd Terry’s Freeze Records

Live Streams & Sets

12 Planet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EU00GTWB0yU

Akua: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AP9yVWdAzlI

Black Coffee: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-__SaGRwOxY&t=2786s

Carl Cox: https://www.facebook.com/carlcox247/videos/735335190555402/

Carl Craig: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jgD0MCcZhQ

DJ Holographic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4e5WfG-wIc

DJ Sliink: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uOC7gq-HuQ

Felix da Housecat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LI_kRE2u8w

Green Velvet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwJa6ehlvNI

Honey Dijon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_qewI-1cEs

Omniboi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQPCEewqun0

Kaytranada: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEqhmAUvmXk

SayMyName: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBPy9f-HwfQ

Seth Troxler: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pc8X-74kz-U

Troyboi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KLtO6MX2tY

Written By: Lisa Kocay