Dance music‘s popularity in the UK has skyrocketed this year, with new data from trade body BPI showing that more than half of dance tracks in the top 10 come from or feature UK artists.
This uptick in chart success is being led by homegrown talent such as Scottish production duo LF System and East London DJ/singer/music producer Eliza Rose. Additionally, international superstars David Guetta and Tiesto have contributed to this surge.
Dance music in the UK offers a vast array of genres, all designed to get you moving. Whether you’re searching for an entrancing hypnotic sound that gets you in the zone or something super catchy and ‘poppy’, there’s sure to be a genre out there that appeals to everyone.
Genres of dance music differ depending on their instrumentation and electronic components. Some styles employ classic instruments like the telharmonium, Hammond organ or electric piano while others may only utilize electronic elements.
Aside from instruments, there are other elements that go into creating a particular genre of dance music. These include tempo, lyric content, instrumentation and style.
Another crucial element in dance music success is its audience. That means the tunes must reach the right people, so it’s beneficial to understand which types of dance music resonate with specific groups.
Dance music and jazz are two of the most popular genres, but there is also a range of other types to choose from, such as folk dance music or historical/classical dance music.
If you’re in search of something more upbeat, electro-pop and electro-house are two genres to consider. This genre features fast tempos and electronic melodies which often appear in commercial songs.
For those seeking a slower-paced atmosphere, trip-hop is the perfect choice. This genre has gained momentum thanks to artists such as Kygo, who has created numerous pop remixes in this style.
Trip-hop, similar to downtempo, is a more relaxed version of hip-hop. It incorporates plenty of ‘psychedelic’ elements like reverb, delays and synth modulation for added effect.
Trip-hop began as a subgenre of house, but has since blossomed into one of the biggest dance music festivals worldwide. Despite its upbeat nature, trip-hop can often have dark undertones.
This genre of dance music originated in the United States and has since spread worldwide. Characterized by heavy bass and deep ‘psychedelic’ synths, these tunes make perfect party music to enjoy with friends.
Dance music is an electronic genre that offers a range of sounds and emotions, whether you’re searching for an invigorating source of inspiration or simply want to unwind. It’s perfect to listen while studying, working, dancing or even exercising.
UK dance music is an eclectic blend of genres that emerged out of the UK’s club scene in the 1990s, such as drum and bass, dubstep, electro, and house. Popular styles include jungle and drum and bass (DnB), which combine deep bass-heavy sounds with jazzy breakbeats.
The UK’s electronic dance music scene has a long history of innovation, and it continues to flourish today. Notable names in this sector include Deadmau5, Skrillex, Kraftwerk and Calvin Harris – all with huge followings in the UK.
There are also a host of emerging artists making waves on the UK dance music scene. Some remain relatively unknown, while others have burst onto the scene recently with hit singles that have gained widespread recognition.
Archives is one of the most promising young artists on the scene, combining energetic beats with poignant vocals. She earned a place in BBC’s Sound of 2023 last year and won best electronic dance act at Music of Black Origin awards.
Her style draws inspiration from a variety of genres, such as breakbeat and jungle, along with braindance electronica from the ’90s. She’s been DJing since she was young, with her productions featured on labels like Cultivated Electronics, Brokntoys, and Chris Smith’s Sheffield-based label CPU.
The British dance music scene boasts an abundance of labels, both established and emerging. Some, like London-based Parachute, encompass all types of dance and electronic music while others, such as Glasgow’s Natural Sciences label, specialize in electro music.
Despite the abundance of independent dance music labels in the UK, there remains a lack of representation for women and non-binary artists within this genre. This can be attributed to issues such as ageism and gender discrimination.
It is thus imperative to encourage more women and non-binary artists to join the UK dance scene, particularly within genres such as jungle, drum & bass, techno and EDM where artist makeup tends to be male dominated. While this presents a challenge, one that can be overcome through an understanding of marginalised gender issues and a willingness to support them.
Festival season in the UK is one of the most vibrant times of year, with hundreds of thousands of music-lovers taking part in events honoring their favorite artists. From world-renowned mega-events like Glastonbury, Reading, Leeds and Isle of Wight festivals to surfing festivals Boardmasters or family-friendly Camp Bestival, you’re sure to find a music event that suits your taste.
Dance festivals provide you with the unique opportunity to witness some of the biggest and most influential DJs worldwide. If you’re in search of something more subdued, many UK events also feature live performances from some of music’s finest talent.
From house and techno to drum and bass and trance, these festivals have something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a day of dancing in the sun or an evening spent partying under the stars, there’s sure to be an event that fits both your taste and budget.
There are also smaller, more intimate festivals that focus on particular genres and can be an excellent opportunity to see a range of artists without breaking the bank. Manchester’s Flashback Festival, for instance, is one such example – it’s the only outdoor celebration dedicated solely to dance music from the 90s and 00s.
London’s Junction 2 Festival is a major force in the UK dance music scene and returns for another year this June. This two-day celebration of all things dance music boasts an impressive lineup with several high-profile DJs and acts that are expected to achieve success in the near future.
Beckenham Place Park hosts this spectacular festival, offering world-class sound and production. Enjoy multiple stages that pulsate to non-stop beats from some of today’s hottest D&B artists!
It’s no shock that the UK boasts some of the top electronic dance music festivals in the world. From Creamfields, which draws top DJs from around the globe, to Bass House and Breakbeat Florida, there’s something for everyone at these two iconic events.
Creamfields, the UK’s oldest and most esteemed dance music festival, has always had an impressive line-up. Bringing the very best in EDM, trance, techno and more to Daresbury each August bank holiday weekend since 1998, Creamfields has become a must-attend event that sells out each year since it started.
British DJs have had a lasting influence on dance music culture. From creating new genres and discovering new artists to opening clubs to an international audience, their influence can be felt around the world.
It’s no surprise that many of the key figures who created UK dance music, such as jungle and drum-and-bass pioneers, are either middle age or have passed away. Yet British music press continues to proclaim a new wave of fresh talent is reinvigorating these forms of dance music, especially as more women are breaking into the scene.
One of the most influential UK club styles, garage, was born out of 90s UK dance music pioneers like Armand van Helden who added faster tempo and bass sounds to classic songs in their remixes. This gave rise to spin-off genres like dubstep and drum & bass.
Another major influencer in dance music innovation has been UK soundsystem culture. These long-running nights, featuring grime music, have been an influential driving force for decades and provided a platform to many emerging DJs who now specialize in various musical genres.
Recent trends in the UK music scene have seen an uptick of interest in genres with black and working class roots, which had previously gone unnoticed by mainstream dance music critics. Genres such as bleep techno, happy hardcore, and jungle are now at the fore front of UK dance music conversations.
However, these pioneering artists have received little press coverage despite their impressive work. They were undoubtedly the first British DJs to really make a name for themselves in the global electronic music scene.
They enjoy a devoted following in the UK and often perform at some of the world’s biggest festivals. They are renowned for their extravagant live shows that feature elaborate costumes and props.
Recently, government policy has provided more financial backing for the UK’s dance music industry, which is encouraging. Unfortunately, nightclubs in the country remain at risk from closure. Nonetheless, young UK DJs are working hard to rebrand the scene and make it more accessible for younger audiences; these artists are setting the vision for how dance music will develop in the UK going forward.