How Does a DJ Get Picked to Play Woogie Weekend?

Still experiencing Lightning In a Bottle withdrawals? If so, you’re in luck! The Do Lab is returning this weekend to Oak Canyon Park for the second annual Woogie Weekend. But unlike last year’s monsoonal rain party that shut down a stage by the end of the weekend (and had festivalgoers swan diving into mud puddles), the forecast predicts sunny skies with temperatures in the low-to-mid eighties all three days. The infamous slip n’ slide is also making a triumphant return as well, along with an assortment of water activities to ensure everyone can stay cool and get their Woogie on comfortably.

But with massive headliners like Jon Hopkins, who’s collaborated with legends like Brian Eno of Roxy Music, the other festival activities take a seat next to the stacked bill of performers. According to Jesse Wright, the music curator for both the Woogie Stage at LIB and Woogie Weekend, he’s had all year to put the festivals line up together. Compared to last year’s compressed preparation period, the extra time has allowed him to stitch together a tighter, more nuanced Woogie sound experience.

“I get recommendations all year long about who should play the Woogie Stage and Woogie Weekend,” says Wright, as he Skypes from his wooden-decor cottage in Topanga Canyon. “I listen to everything everyone sends me, even if I don’t respond. This year I’ve had an entire year to prepare and listen, which has given me a lot more freedom— I’ve really been able to dial in the line up.” 

The best way to create a line up that’s on point, according to Wright, is to sit around speakers with friends and jam out. “This last year Jesse Flemming (co-founder of LIB and the Do Lab), Megan Young (the Do Lab’s Assistant Music Director) and I set up some speakers in Jesse’s garage, sat around on couches and just jammed,” Wright says with a smile on his face. “It was a ton of fun. Listening to music with friends allows for multiple ears to decide if and why somethings good or if it’s not so much.”

Wright explains that having a defined style, vibe or unique musical characteristic that a performer consistently champions is everything when it comes to grabbing his attention musically. The reason for this, he says, is because with unique style comes authenticity, which is at the forefront of Woogie, and thus the Do Labs, performance ethos. No two performances, art installations or activities are alike at Do Lab events, which gives these specific festivals their funk. It’s the element that creates the essence of freedom, and ultimately makes them alluring. 

“It’s kind of like when you meet people and you can tell if they’re being authentic or not,” says Wright. “It’s exactly like that. Sometimes dub step Djs will come up to me and tell me that they want to play the Woogie at LIB or want to have a slot at Woogie Weekend, and I say to them, ‘But you’re a dub step DJ..’ and they say back, ‘Oh, yeah, but I can definitely play a Woogie set.’ I’m always just kind of like, ‘Yeah, but that’s not really the point, man.’ Ultimately, authenticity is my number one thing.”

With music starting on the main stages around 2 p.m. and after-hours ending around 6 a.m. daily, Woogie Weekend offers all kinds of ways to experience an array of authentic house beats, while embracing your own authentic style. Needless to say, if your LIB withdrawals have made your struggle real, you can get your fix at Oak Canyon Park this weekend. “I mean, I could be off my rocker,” says Wright, “but I’m pretty sure everyone’s going to have a really, really great time this year.”

Woogie Weekend starts today, July 8 and goes until Monday, July 11 at Oak Canyon Ranch. For full info, lineup and tickets, click here.

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