Top 20 dance music capitals


Dance music is more of global phenomena than ever, and many new locations have become powerhouses for dance music all over the world. We look at 20 locations ranging from major metropolises, islands and countries that are on top form, and give a little insight into exactly what makes them special.


20. Detroit

For its place in the history of techno, some would argue the Michigan city deserves a place on this list. Yes, we owe Detroit for Derrick May, Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, Carl Craig, Stacey Pullen, Jeff Mills – and Richie Hawtin and Magda, while from across the border in Windsor, cut their teeth here. But what really puts Detroit on the map is the massive success of Movement (the festival once known as DEMF). In a country slow to embrace the “underground,” this annual late May event has been educating the masses for 15 years with the world’s biggest names in techno and house.

19. Johannesburg

Johannesburg, Egoli ( city of gold), this is the hub of South African music, where everything starts. Johannesburg has twice as many clubs than other city in South Africa, twice as many artists and twice as many festivals. Something is always happening in Johannesburg, whether in its townships, its business districts or in the depths of the city. The likes of Truth, And, Kong, Zone 6, Taboo, Sway and aread like Maboneng, Newtown, Braamfontein, Midrand and Sandton all lend to the constant growth of South Africa’s music scene in particular dance music. The people are friendly and things are relatively affordable so you can maximise on your experience with ease.

18. Sydney

Clubs such as Chinese Laundry, The Spice Cellar and Burdekin Hotel cater for the city’s dance music lovers, bringing in top-tier talent from Europe and the US on a regular basis. While the summer sees a wealth of festivals in the area, such as the Sydney Festival and Lost Paradise, perfect for enjoying the best dance music acts in the glorious Oz sunshine.

17. Brazil

Brazil isn’t the first country that comes to mind when mentioning the dance capitals of the world. But these days, Brazil’s electronic music scene is booming, with clubs like Renato Ratier’s D.Edgein São Paulo, which regularly sees heavy hitters like Seth Troxler, Mano Le Tough, Recondite and Derrick Carter, along with the partally Ratier owned Warung Beach Club, which is regularly noted as one of the world’s best clubs. And with South America’s premiere dance music conferences, RMC, taking place in five locations across the country, and a main edition held during Carnival in Rio, Brazil is firmly putting South America on the global dance music map.

16. Milan

Though many of the city’s more renowned clubs have closed due to Italy’s strict political polices and the impact of the economic crisis, Milan’s clubbing scene is still very much alive. Offering several both underground and large scale events each week at venues like Tunnel Club, Dude, and the immense Fabrique, the annual Design week sees Elita Festival, offering a wide and various series of musical events in clubs, abandoned spaces and theatres. And while Milan may have a reputation for only chasing big name acts, more and more independent, low-budget private parties are popping up around Milan’s suburbs these days, showing an improving and dynamic attitude towards the club culture.

15. Goa

Goa has always been noted as the holy-land for hippies and one of the global capitals of psychedelic trance, but it’s now transforming into a India’s electronic dance music capital, attracting international and local tourists and students every year during it’s season from September to March. On the beaches of Baga is the infamous Tito’s Club alongside Café Mambo and Cape Town Café, clubs that are all infused with house music. Anjuna Beach inspired the name for Above & Beyond’s Anjunabeats record label, and Anjuna hosts the “Café Del Mar” of Goa called Curlies, with psychedelic and ambient setting the stage for beautiful sunsets on the beach. Though it’s December’s three day Sunburn Festival in Vagator and four day Supersonic Festivalthat truly put Goa on the map, hosting between 35,000 -75,000 revelers per day at the same time – a feet only made possible in a country with a booming youth population that’s wildly hungry for dance music.

14. Toronto


Canada’s biggest city rose to fame in the early 2000s with the superclub, The Guvernment. Back then it was the place to see all the stars of progressive house before the club switched its focus to EDM. Not to worry, the city that claims Deadmau5 has also produced international house stars Art Department, DJ Sneak and My Favorite Robot. Footwork was the place to go before it closed to make space for condos, but Coda has picked up where it left off – MK, Maya Jane Coles, Apollonia, Nicole Moudaber, John Talabot and Ben Klock all in coming weeks. Maison Mercer and The Hoxton also offer quality lineups.

13. Glasgow

As with many old industrial cities, a wealth of interesting spaces are often left abandoned, perfect for converting into exciting places. In Glasgow’s case many of these buildings have spawned galleries, bars and nightlife spots, helping Glasgow to become a renowned creative hub in Scotland. Sitting at the helm of a healthy and vibrant underground scene are Slam, the duo responsible for the legendary Soma imprint, which saw its 400th release not long ago. Though the city can also claim artists such as Hudson Mohawke, Harvey McKay, Jackmaster and Optimo, labels such as Numbers and LuckyMe, and the globally revered Sub Club.

12. Manchester

Countless documentaries, books and veteran raver tell us that The Hacienda brought acid house to the UK and sparked rave culture throughout the nation and the legacy of that infamous den of debauchery has remained in the city ever since. Sankeys and The Warehouse Project were spawned in the post-Hacienda era and have gone on to become globally renowned names in the world of electronic music, whilst venues such as Gorilla, The Albert Hall and Soup Kitchen provide unique spaces to bring some of the hottest underground acts to the city.

11. Los Angeles

The City of Angels has as many clubs as it does neighbourhoods. While Doc Martin’s Sublevelevents and Avalon have been around the longest, the Culprit parties at the Standard put the rooftop scene on the world map. EDM is huge – Insomniac was founded here – just look at the numerous festivals or Create Nightclub‘s lineups to prove it. But for something deeper, Exchange, Sound and Lot 613 are all doing big things on a weekly basis.

10. Montreal

When it comes to dance music, the French-Canadian mecca is known best for two things: Stereoand MUTEK. The famous afterhours club, Stereo, has hosted legendary long sets from the best in the business. Danny Tenaglia used to play marathons there and now it’s not a surprise when a touring DJ says they played straight until they had to leave for their morning flight – Carl Craig, Maceo Plex, Matador and Hot Since 82 just in March. MUTEK, the annual June festival, draws the headiest of techno with 2015 featuring James Holden, Lucy and Steffi. Adventure Club and A-Trak are from Montreal, but Blond:ish represents their underground. The city also boasts one of the only outdoor winter electronic music festvals with Igloofest, a weekly Piknic Electronik music gathering, and a very healthy network of labels, magazines and collectives that help the city thrive.

9. Bucharest

Long known by DJs like Steve Lawler and tINI as one of the best places for clubbing on earth, the rest of us are finally starting to catch on thanks to Romanian exports like Premieskuand [a:rpia:r] (Raresh, Rhadoo and Petre Inspiescu) lighting the global stage on fire with their smooth, stripped back take on house. It’s got a reputation for one of the most hungry, up-for it crowds, who, despite the city’s apparent lack of easily named clubs by outsiders, manage to persuade artists like Sammy Dee, Sasha, Nic Fanciulli, Matthias Tanzmann, and Apollonia – many of whom have been coming to the city like clockwork for years – to pay the city a visit at clubs like Studio Martin and Club Midi again and again. As nearby festivals like Sunwaves continue to grow along with the city’s reputation, it will soon be a mystery hot spot no more.

8. Barcelona

Much like Berlin, Barcelona has fantastic public transport, and your euro lasts a lot longer than in many other major European metropolises, not to mention the city is home some of the world’s best cuisine. But Barcelona also has some of the world’s most stunning architecture to its name (Gaudí, anyone?), sandy beaches, and one of the dance music world’s greatest weeklong events taking place in the city’s, clubs, hills and rooftops every year with Sónar and Off Week. During that time, just about every label, promoter, booking agency, DJ and club night from around the globe gathers in every corner of the city for a week of networking, hedonism, and incredible music. But Barcelona’s charm also lies in it’s drive to be different, as evidenced by festivals like MUTEK and Mira, both showcasing an incredibly diverse and eclectic range of acts, and a strong mix of visual art. On the clubbing tip, haunts like Razzmatazz make sure acts like LucianoJoseph Capriatiand Craig Richards keep the locals satisfied all year long.

7. Croatia

While it’s certainly a more unique addition to the world stage seeing as it lacks a true clubbing infrastructure, Croatia is undeniably one of the top locations for dance music festivals in the world these days. More and pop up every summer, and in every shape and size, ranging from EDM spectacles like Ultra Europe, boutique gems like Electric Elephant and Soundwave, and Croatia originals like The Garden FestivalHideoutOutlook and Dimensions, where you can rave in a 2000-year-old amphitheater. Not to mention the Ibiza-like weather, crystalline beaches, and more boat parties than you can shake a stick at. Croatia truly has become a can’t-miss location on the dance music map.

6. Miami

If you’ve been into dance music for any discernible amount of time, there’s a great chance you’ve made the pilgrimage here for either Winter Music Conference or Ultra. While Ultra is nearly as big as it gets for American EDM festivals, the weeklong madness that is WMC has left a mark on many a dance music soul. Space is legendary for its 15 years of endless parties, but now StoryElectric Pickle, Trade and Treehouse are worthy competitors in the city that is home to Cedric Gervais and Robbie Rivera.

5. New York City

It all started with Studio 54Paradise Garage, Limelight and Twilo in the Big Apple. Iconic names like Danny Tenaglia, Masters At Work, Victor Calderone and Erick Morillo ring true for New Yorkers who love house. While Pacha and Marquee keep things fresh on the EDM tip, Output and Verbotennow have joined into a techno/house scene that Black Market Membership had once dominated. Mayor Rudy Giuliani may have tried to snuff out the nightlife in the “City That Never Sleeps,” but these days there are more offerings – and less sleeping – than anywhere else in America.

4. Amsterdam

While the recent closure of Amsterdam clubbing institution Trouw was no doubt a blow to the city’s nightlife, we’ve no doubt that it will lead to big things, as other newer clubs vie to take its place. Local acts are stronger than ever, with the likes of Tom TragoBoris WernerSandrien, and William Kouam Djoko becoming household names in the underground, touring the world regularly. And of course clubs like Studio 80, Paradiso and Melkweg continue to keep things firmly locked down, with the always impressive Gashouder hosting goliath events like Awakenings, HYTE’s current month-long juggernaut tour, plus a packed summer full of mega-festivals, capped off with on of the world’s most important conferences for dance music with the Amsterdam Dance Event. The beautiful city of Amsterdam is truly coming into its own these days – and we couldn’t be happier about it.

3. London

In recent months, much has been made of what seems to be becoming an all-out assault on London’s nightlife, with some of the city’s greatest clubbing institutions coming under threat from closure for all manner of reasons. Despite these attempts to stifle the city’s nightlife, London is still a major global hub for dance music and the UK’s biggest driving force for electronic music. Of course, London’s seminal nightclub fabric is the flagship of the scene, hosting the jaw-dropping line-ups on a weekly basis, but they’re are a string of alternative venues, which breathe life into the capital’s scene including the likes of Corsica StudiosVillage UndergroundXOYOEggStudio 338 and Studio Spaces E1.

2. Ibiza

It’s a beautiful, historic, culturally rich island in the Mediterranean with claim on more superclubs than anywhere else in the world. And with it’s laid-back, “anything goes” attitude and club nights that read like mini festival bills taking place 7 nights a week all summer means it’ll continue to reign supreme as the summer party destination no matter how many fake islands they build in the UAE. In one week you can see Sven Väth change lives at Cocoon on the fabled Amnesia terrace,Carl Cox rip the Space Discoteca to pieces, groove to the dubbed out underground sounds of Enzo Siragusa and the FUSE crew in the gloriously dark Sankeys Basement, see Richie Hawtinand the incredible ENTER. talent transform Space into an otherworldly techno feast, and wrap it up with Carola back at Amnesia for a mind bending trip through minimal techno – and that’s only a tiny fraction of what’s on offer. Put quite simply, there’s nowhere on earth like it.

1. Berlin

The obvious contender for first place on our list, Berlin has it all. When it comes to clubbing, you’ve choice between institutions like Berghain and Watergate, hole-in-the-wall afterhours spots like Golden Gate, and wildly unique venues like ChaletRenate and Hoppetosse. Of course, the best in techno and house is constantly on offer from both city residents and globe-trotting stars almost any night of the week. And with a first class public transportation system, cheap (though steadily rising) housing prices, and incredible variety of great, affordable restaurants and bars means you don’t have to earn much to have a nice life here, giving dedicated musicians and artists time to perfect their craft while surrounded by likeminded folk. In this city, you can have your cake and eat it too.

Source : Pulse Radio

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