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La Luna: Discerning dance for kitchen clubbers

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Photo by La Luna.

La Luna is an occasional club night with a twist. Instead of serving up the latest cutting-edge sounds from Bristol or Berlin, it aims to create a community around classic party tunes.

On top of that, all the profits go to local good causes. We had a chat with founder Dean Bargh to find out more.

Tell us a bit about La Luna.

La Luna Social Club is a not-for-profit club night run by Sarah Wilson and Dean Bargh. Its aim is to create a network of old friends and newcomers dancing to a classic eclectic playlist. Some of the La Luna crowd used to frequent the happening hotspots of Sheffield in the nineties and eighties and are still keen to party, some want to have a night out with their grown-up kids!

We dig around for cool reworks to keep it fresh and funky

Every age is catered for. We get the party started early so you can still get the last bus home or get back for the babysitter. We celebrate the cycles of the moon and donate 50% of the door tickets to a local charity. La Luna Social Club is an antidote to the Johnson-Trump dystopia: revel in the magic of the moon, party and support your local community.

How did it start?

It's an idea that came out of our combined birthday parties in 2017 and 2018. We hired a venue, DINA, got some friends to DJ and invited everyone we knew. What we realised was there was a big appetite among our crowd: old-school former hipsters, nineties Washington regulars, erstwhile ravers, essentially grown-up partygoers who still wanted a good night out. And that meant dancing to great music - nothing too edgy but nothing obvious - the opportunity to meet up with all the old faces again, making new friends in a welcoming, party atmosphere, with an early start and a relatively early finish.

What's your music policy?

Eclectic! Plenty of funk, disco and soul. No era is out of bounds. We'll trigger your dopamine centres with familiar tunes, but nothing you'll hear everyday - seldom-heard classics! We're going for "OMG I haven't heard this for ages!" And then we serve them with a twist. We dig around for cool reworks to keep it fresh and funky.

For example, you might hear an amazing disco-y rework of 'Dreams' by Fleetwood Mac, an irresistible eighties disco rediscovery like 'Love Is Gonna Be On Your Side' by Firefly, a forgotten nineties club favourite like 'Got To Have Your Love' by Mantronix, and the occasional up-to-date killer like 'Wanna Come Down' by Ibibio Sound Machine. What all the tunes have in common is infectious beats with some magic and sparkle.

Tell us more about the community aspect of La Luna.

From the outset, we had no interest in making money out of this. We wanted it to be 'partying with purpose' or 'conscious clubbing', as we also call it.

As well as putting on a good night out, an important aspect is that we raise money for charities that support the Sheffield community. For every event we pick a new charity. Last year we raised over £1,500 for Roundabout and Sheffield Foyer (both connected with youth and homelessness and rebooting young people's lives) and Learn for Life Enterprise (which provides education and support for the vulnerable and hard-to-reach, including refugees and asylum seekers). Our tag line is 'Kitchen dancers of Sheffield: unite and be social(ist)'.

We don't disguise the fact that we're left wing and we believe in community. We run it as a social club: we actually stop proceedings at one point in the night to announce raffle prizes and get a representative from the chosen charity to say a few words. The prizes are donated by local independent business - restaurants, shops and so on - and they are on the whole pretty darned good and worth winning. You get a free raffle ticket when you come in.

Tell us about the upcoming edition of La Luna.

Gonna be the best yet! 21 March at DINA on Cambridge St will be edition #4, and we know we've hit on the right formula - we've already sold nearly two-thirds of tickets with six weeks to go, which is mental for a club night. We'll be working harder than ever to find new remixes and get the sound just right. We're unleashing DJ Hangbeard (my alias) for more of the DJing, along with guest Tom Jarvis.

The music is going to be absolutely bang on. We're opening the doors at the civilised time of 7.30 so we can ease into the night with an hour of our favourite yacht rock - Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers, only the good stuff - while you grab a cocktail before it gets proper funky. And it's on the Spring Equinox!

Sam Gregory

Visit La Luna's website or buy tickets for March. You can also listen to an hour long La Luna mix.

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