Zouk – Singapore
The word institution is thrown around far too readily when it comes to clubs, but Zouk Singapore legitimately lives up to that title. Not just as a world-renowned club with an illustrious history and global influence dating back to 1991, but because it’s been able to entirely relocate to a new location and venue and still retain its atmosphere, status and loyal following.
The last year has been testament to this; Zouk re-opened just over a year ago in its new riverside location on Clarke Quay and continues to claim its must-play reputation for world-touring DJs and world-travelling music lovers.
This is down to a number of reasons: the attention to line-ups, production and atmosphere remains just as strong as it has since it became a critical incubator of electronic music as it moved from west to east in dance music’s earliest chapters, but also its design and installation was taken care of by the same company who fitted their original location on Jiak Kim Street. This created consistency with the club’s 27-year legacy in terms of its aesthetic and vibe, but this time on a much grander scale as it offers two new lounge areas, two storeys and an impressive overlooking balcony as well as its two famed rooms: Zouk and Phuture. The former dedicated to the big EDM guns, the latter championing underground and deeper talent as it has done since Phuture was established in 1996, both Zouk brands remain as on-point and dedicated as ever with their line-up curations and support of the entire cross-spectrum of dance music.
Don’t take our word for it, though. Ask the likes of Apparat, Âme, San Hole, Jai Wolf, M.A.N.D.Y, Blasterjaxx, Sven Väth, Tujamo or any of the other high ranking artist who’ve passed through the famous club’s doors in the last year. Long may the institution continue…
Echostage, Washington, D.C – USA
The vision behind Echostage was always clear: a hybrid nightclub and concert venue that offers an immersive outdoor festival experience year-round with the comfort and convenience of an indoor space. Finding that sweet spot between the intimacy of a nightclub/concert venue and the bombast of a festival was born out of necessity to satisfy the growing EDM fanbase in Washington, D.C., and meet the ever-evolving technical demands of DJs and live acts. The team behind GLOW, the city’s longest-running EDM promotions company, answered that call with Echostage in 2012, which has since grown to become one of the most coveted venues on the East Coast.
The building where Echostage calls home is ideal for ravers and music lovers; housed in a warehouse space reminiscent of early-day electronic music culture, the venue features a large main room with unobstructed sight lines. Echostage then comes to life via its enhanced production and sound and lighting setup, which includes a D&B V-Series audio system, a giant 14-by-40-foot LED screen, tons of lasers, cryo jets, intelligent lights and confetti cannons. Collectively, it all offers a performance-centric production value rarely seen in an indoor setting. Echostage recently upped the production ante, upgrading the D&B sub amps to powerful four-channel DNB D80 amplifiers, a move that doubles the amount of available sub power, up to 48,000 watts on the subs alone. The venue also recently installed a new LED wall to further enhance the visual experience.
This is the reason why the biggest names in dance music have made Echostage a can’t-miss stop on their US tours, with recent bookings running the genre gamut: Diplo, Alison Wonderland, Sasha & John Digweed, Kaskade, REZZ, DJ Snake, Above & Beyond and many more. Whether you’re a festival veteran, a club-hopping raver or a live music fanatic, Echostage offers a taste for everyone.
Papaya, Island of Pag – Croatia
Given its location — right on the seafront — Papaya’s famous swimming pools almost seem redundant. That is until you see them in the throws of the club’s so-called ‘after beach parties’ — famously debauched late-afternoon affairs that have well and truly promoted this Croatian mainstay into the global dance music Premier League.
First opened in 2002 as a sister venue to the club of the same name in the country’s capital, Zagreb, the Zrce Beach address has grown enormously between then and now. The venue’s shell-like main stage, complete with powerful LED array, provides an instantly recognisable backdrop to the wider scene: thousands of revellers marauding around a site that comes complete with multiple levels and hidden corners, not to mention towering palms, its own shoreline, and, last year at least, jungle-themed decorations. Needless to say, the open-air setting is fundamental to the club’s entire personality, and atmosphere.
When the offering is this good the pull is always going to be huge, and Papaya is no exception to that rule. A 24-7 operation during the summer season, when its Croatian homeland becomes one of Europe’s go-to destinations for those in search of sun, sea, and serious tunes, between May and September the venue provides a base for more than ten festivals, including Hideout, Sonus, Fresh Island, Barrakud and Black Sheep, to namecheck just a few of the annual highlights.
All of which means visiting talent comes in the form of huge names from across the electronic spectrum and beyond, with variety one of the defining features in the line-ups. Paul Kalkbrenner, Major Lazer, Sean Paul, Marco Carola, Jamie Jones, Solomun, Don Diablo, Timmy Trumpet, W&W, and Lost Frequencies stopped by during 2017, representing the gamut from EDM to low-slung house and techno.
Ushuaïa, Ibiza – Spain
Ever since it arrived in 2011, Ushuaïa has always been about setting new standards when it comes to luxury clubbing experiences in Ibiza. The club makes no bones about that and prides itself on combining premium accommodation with huge international headliners. Last season, it redesigned all rooms and suites with plush material such as “ash Travertine and black Marquina marble, granite bar counters and combed cotton sheets with creative details by interior designer Nina Campbell for Osborne & Little”, and even added a presidential suite to cater for VVVVIPs.
At the same time, the club continued to bring dance giants like David Guetta, Tinie Tempah, Martin Garrix and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike to play by their famous pool. Thousands flock round it for each party, with palm trees, beach hut like bars and sun loungers all in the shadow of the giant Tower. Another of Ushuaïa’s unique features is that it throws parties in the day, under the warm Balearic sun, without the constant threat of closure from police.
Although the slightly more underground ANTS party continues to call the place home, people who come to Ushuaïa really do so as much for the breathtaking views of the Mediterranean and over-the-top pyrotechnics as they do the music. Each night of the week, Ushuaïa offers varied stage designs and decorations which make for slightly different experiences. But you can always count on there being beautifully designed gogo costumes, as well as an abundance of confetti, streamers and CO2 at each party, and these days the fact all this happens in the open air stands Ushuaïa out from the crowd.
Green Valley, Balneario Camboriu – Brazil
Green Valley is in the middle of nowhere, the rain forest about a 20 minute drive from Balneario Camboriu.
There aren’t many clubs in the world where raving meets nature Brazil’s
Green Valley started out life as a large tent in the middle of an airfield in 2007 and has grown into the sort of bonkers place you only dream about – “a festival-sized jungle club.”. But the true wonder of the place, which regularly tops DJ Mag‘s 100 Best Clubs and is surrounded by trees and a man-made lake, only reveals itself at sunrise. So you’ll need to join the all-the-way-through crew.