FREE party at the Bandshell in Golden Gate Park.

14 10 2009

I love Golden Gate Park.

Living in and surrounded by concrete & road rage, human beings need a place to balance that energy out. A place without cars and where there’s still some nature that we haven’t managed to destroy just yet. Everyone in San Francisco has access to this amazing multi-billion dollar backyard and I never have to worry about mowing the lawn. I don’t care if I sound like a crusty hippy, but Man. I love Golden Gate Park.

The Bandshell is a pretty interesting part of the park. You have The California Academy of Sciences to the south and you have De Young Museum & The Japanese Tea Gardens to the North. It’s very much a tourist magnet because of those structures but it’s kind of interesting to spend the day having a picnic at the Bandshell and overhearing conversations in several different languages. This place really is a magnet that attracts people from all over the world.

And it’s also where the local natives have had some amazing free park parties over the years. I think you could do an entire coffee table book on the free outdoor park party scene in the Bay Area. It’s a very unique and visually interesting not-so-secret club. I remember coming to my first party in the park when I moved here 14 years ago. I was living at the dorms at SF State and found myself surrounded by all these interesting, older, and experienced urban locals. I remember thinking to myself, “This is where I want to be.”

Parties like this used to happen all the time with nowhere near the level of online marketing machines that exists today. There were days that I would be riding my bike through the park and hear beats coming from the Bandshell and think “That sounds like House. Let me go investigate” And then I would spend the rest of the day dancing my ass off in the park. Here are just a few of the flyers that I saved over the years.



The Bandshell has beautiful architecture.

(The old) Funky Tekno Tribe used to dominate with their Organics in the Park.

I distinctly remember they had one to promote their upcoming Halloween Massive. It was Jeno and DJ Dan in the park and Dan spun this remixed version of Aretha Franklin’s Respect. And what’s amazing is that it was on the exact same day as Sunset’s last park party of the year at Berkley Marina. Not only did free park parties like this used to happen all the time, but sometimes you would even have different ones happening on the exact same day.


To my knowledge, this is the only time the 4 of these guys have gotten together to do a Wicked in the park.

That alone would make this party unique, but the day that it happened to fall on also cements it as a very unique gathering.

This was a really infamous party. The “special guest” was suppose to be Supastar DJ Keoki. Some big 1015 type of club had flown him out from New York and paid him suitcases full of cash to spin at their club, but when he got out here he was so annihilated on drugs he was unable to perform and unable to do the surprise park party the next day. Legend has it, someone was walking around selling a box of mixtapes at the park party (This is how old this story is, we were all listing to cassette tapes back then) when this spun-out kid rushed the mixtape seller and asked “Do you have any Keoki tapes?”

And the guy responded, “Keoki’s ego couldn’t fit into my cassette tape box.”

And then the kid looked depressed, stared at the ground, and was all “I’m Keoki”

Sunset has since taken on the tradition of parties in the bandshell. This is a really well put together video by Jayson Yagi I love how he captures the feeling of walking back from the bathrooms, through those midget trees, and into the party. You can see the cranes to the south that were building the California Academy of Sciences during this period. That was a glorious day in the park.

This day was a bit more overcast. But, hey. Welcome to San Francisco.

I love this video by Mr. Holehead because it does a great job of showing the constantly changing characters and energy right by the DJ booth that’s spinning New York Techno in Golden Gate Park.

The free parties at the Bandshell in Golden Gate Park used to happen all the time but lately they have become an endangered species. I find myself feeling very lucky to have been a part of that history and grateful that I live in a city where people will spend hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars to make free events like this happen.

Thank you, San Francisco.


8 minutes of video from DJ Apollo 2K of yesterdays Sunset party, the last Sunset park party of 2009, at the Bandshell in Golden Gate Park.

DJ Dan. Take a Fix to Funk. 1994.

22 05 2009

dj dan take a fix to funk

This is hands-down my all-time favorite double cassette tape set.

The San Francisco Project series were live mix tapes of DJ Dan spinning at the Funky Tekno Tribe parties. This was during a period when Dan had just moved from LA to SF and was experimenting with more Funky House and Progressive House tracks, but still had that LA NoDoz level of intensity in his programming.

Not just really, really good records but LOTS of really, really good records mixed really creatively together, one right after the other, sometimes building into this kamikaze onslaught of sound.

I played the hell out of these tapes and must have made over a dozen copies of each for friends. I remember playing this tape during my summer job at SF State and even some of my co-workers who were into Hip-Hop and hated House loved this tape, especially all the scratching and the Jungle Brothers part at the end. We used to play it all the time and it became the soundtrack to my 1994 summer experience.

Dan just re-released a digital version of Take a Fix to Funk as part of his Future Retro mixtape series and you can check it out for free over here



Dan just dropped

San Francisco Project #4 Weed Wacker.

These really are like the Paul’s Boutique of 90’s House Music mix tapes.

= Priceless


Simfonik recently did an excellent post on DJ Dan’s involvement with The California Project

At 16 tapes spread across 8 different DJs, The California Project is easily the most ambitious mixtape box collection that I’ve heard of.

Dan’s two contributions were “Live at Organic” and then one simply labeled “live” I’ve heard, taped, and traded both these tapes over the years and there was a lot of confusion as to where they came from, so it’s nice to see the story behind it. Simfonik also did an excellent job, as he always does, of scanning the original j-cards and cassette tapes themselves. It looks like for the California Project all the DJs donated pictures of themselves as kids to be used in the artwork. Quite an amazing find and you can check the whole thing out for free over here –

DJ Dan – The California Project

Related Posts –

DJ Dan Live at Love Fest. San Francisco. 2007. FREE

DJ Dan Live at Love Fest. San Francisco. 2007. FREE

31 03 2009

Love Fest last year was amazing. They were predicting it to be rained in, but the storm that was passing through town hit on Friday night and by early Saturday it was sunny and clear. There’s something about the collective energy of people praying for sun for their free outdoor daytime party that makes the party that much more special when we’re able to actually pull it off.

Also, it went till 8PM! Normally every single event I’ve ever been too at Civic Center stopped at 6PM sharp. Not sure how they got the extra hours but things went even more nuts once the sun went down. It’s equally amazing that they were able to throw this massive free party without any of the riots that seem to be in fashion these days in Oakland. Hopefully we’ll be able to keep this party going a little while longer.

DJ Dan has been called the #1 rave DJ in America several times over. I wouldn’t disagree with that statement. I have about 10-12 of his old cassette tapes, 3-4 of his CDs, and 50-60 of his mp3 that I’ve downloaded online. I’m pretty familiar with his body of work and my favorite era is the live Funky Tekno Tribe cassette tape mixes from the mid 1990s. This was during a period when Dan had just moved to San Francisco from Los Angeles and was experimenting with more progressive house records. This was also during the exact same time that I had moved to San Francisco from San Diego and was experimenting with how much fun I could have in a single week. It was a glorious time to be a raver in the Bay Area.

This is a clip of Dan stepping up to the decks at Love Fest from 2 years ago.

I love it because he was able to take an 80’s hair band rift, loop it, and then fit it perfectly into the formula of your classic rave anthem.

Very creative, yet simple idea. Perfect execution.


Related Posts –

DJ Dan. Take a Fix to Funk. 1994.