On Friday 3rd November, locals Dan Edwards and Dan Blackburn DJ-ed the “Barefoot Dance Party” in Comberton Village Hall, raising £250 for the charity Power2Inspire.  

Dan and Dan met as teenagers, and always liked parties and “putting on a show”. When they reconnected as adults in Comberton, they wanted to find a way to recreate that sense of fun, and decided to try their hand at running discos together. Around six years ago Dan Edwards bought a set of DJ decks while on a trip to the USA, and the two of them started to DJ. 

When asked about the differences between their “DJ-ing” styles, Dan Edwards said that Dan Blackburn’s style is based around remixes of tunes people might know and “quite hard dance-driven music,” while his own style is more “eclectic”, “flitting around more” in style and finding musical links between modern and older songs, that you can hear but can’t describe or intellectualise. “A good DJ,” he explained, “has a sense for how people will hear tunes and uses that. What’s interesting is when a DJ can play a tune that people know and then play one after it that people don’t necessarily know but still enjoy, and the DJ is confident that they will enjoy that tune because they understand the psyche of the people who are dancing. It’s true when you’re dealing with fifty-year-olds at a 50th birthday or nine-year-olds at a school disco- it’s having a sense of how they’re experiencing the music and working with that.”

When there is an upcoming important gig, they prepare thoroughly, which involves track selection and practicing “mixes”, the transitions between the tunes. They create a series of sets of about forty minutes long, each with a theme to them. At the beginning of the night, they perform “upbeat and pop” sets to get the crowd on the floor, while as the evening continues they switch to darker and more diverse sets, with a “deeper feel that you feel in your gut more”, finishing with the crowd-pleasing “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

The Barefoot Dance Party was a huge success, with the crowd reaction being the highlight of the night for Dan Edwards, who said that it was amazing to get sixty people of varying ages, around sixteen to sixty, to jump onto the dance floor together when they played their first dance track, stating, “that’s the reaction you want as a DJ”. It raised £250 for Power2Inspire, an inclusive sports charity with a mission to ensure “no one is left on the bench.” Dan and Dan, who run the disco, and Jane Reed who runs these pop up events, decided to organise the Barefoot Disco because they wanted to do something local, “keen to create a community atmosphere,” and selected Power2Inspire to fundraise for because they wanted to support a local charity which they had links to.