At some point, it began to feel as though my passion for underground dance music was just a fad. There was a paradigm shift within the clubs, the crowd and the music being hosted in the city. The excitement began to wear away as the months seemed to pass on by. By chance, I was convinced to head more east than usual to a space called Nomad. As we scurried out of the cab into the cold winter air, we were greeted by two extremely personable bouncers that guided us through a slight set of stairs leading into an awe-inspiring office/loft space. With a dozen desks and filing cabinets pushed to the back and groups of dancers crowding the emptied space, a dance floor was created with such ease. The minimal techno and pairing visuals created an atmosphere that would've drawn any dance music fan in. Impeccable organization without the necessity of a club's stringent surroundings brought together made this club kid realize that there are so many undiscovered parts to this city.

In passing, I'd heard about there being a dance scene hosted in spaces outside of clubs but never inquired more. It wasn't necessarily within my nature to break from the normal routines of my life. But the realization came that if I continued to only attend club events, my passion would slowly burn away. I realized that the clubs had the same routine, same bookings and same crowd. The spaces would never change and the fun started to feel like a chore. Admittedly clubs will always be successful with bringing a crowd if the night consists of a special booking. However, the forefront of a "loft" party is the thematic side; more often than not, there is an idea shaping and forming the party.

With non-corporate parties, there seems to be more room for leniency in regards to music, sales and promotion. After speaking to many DJs, the majority stated that if they are booked by the club, there is a bigger compliance to follow their musical guidelines. This can include, but is not limited to, changing their genre, playing specific tracks and pleasing the club's crowd. Additionally, revenue is a big factor in being booked at specific venues; the demand of door and bar sales can make an artist anxious about the outcome of the event. DJ's have felt that many times the quality of the music didn't matter if the club didn't bring in enough profit. With pressure building, many DJs have agreed that they aren't able to feel as relaxed in their environment as desired.

As the clubs lost heart, so did their patrons. The ones that wanted more from their surroundings and musical experience continued to attend club events but also began to throw in independently hosted parties when given the opportunity. With this came a movement of intimacy within the fans, collaboration between hosts and a bigger sense of acceptance within the community. Faces become friendlier and suddenly a new family is built within an already existing scene.

Always accepting growth and development, the independent parties are always accepting new concepts and opening doors to anyone interested. With only one general rule of respect, there are no door policies and VIP invitees. This brings a more understanding atmosphere where party-goers can feel more comfortable in their skin. With open arms, we welcome you to test the waters of an independent event, promising that you'll definitely be back.

May Nguyen