- The party people at Daylight. (Photo: Courtesy of Bill Source)
Back in 2006, when Bill Source was looking to launch Daylight, an evening dance party that gets started while the sun is still up, people didn't really get it, he says. The concept was pretty simple, though: He wanted people to be able to listen to classic dance music (disco, early '80s, old school house and funk), spun by himself and partner DJ Divine on Sunday nights, and get home early enough to get a good night's rest and be fresh for work on Monday.
"I started looking around the city, and started to notice a lot of the parties were the same--same format, same radio music played," Source says. "You'd get maybe the top 20 songs, and then maybe a little bit of dancehall reggae, and that was it. It was the era of Lil' Jon, the Ying Yang Twins and crunk--that's when I really started pitching the idea to clubs here and there, but they weren't really understanding the format.
"It was the norm in Europe and New York," Source continues. "But as far as D.C., people were telling me that no one would come out before 10 o'clock at night. Now [daytime parties] are the trendy thing to do."
And as far as getting people to loosen up while it's still light outside, Source knew it would never be a problem. "If they’re at the bar, it doesn’t take much--I don’t care what time it is," he says. "It could be 9 o'clock in the morning."
Source (and his partners in the Tone Source Divine promotion crew) launched the party in April of '06 (to coincide with daylight savings time) at the now-closed H Street, NE, club Sanctuary. But he says Daylight really clicked once the people at Bohemian Caverns invited him to move it there, into the space that is now Liv.
Now, five years later, Source is throwing a big blow-out bash at Liv on Sunday to celebrate Daylight's five-year milestone but he is also considering whether or not to continue the party.
Daylight hasn't been a weekly event since March, when Source sent the following note to the party's e-mail list:
We regret to tell you Daylight's weekly party is down. This is because lack of early attendance and/or bar sale. We have heard your love/comments for the party and music!!..but we must stress that Daylight is NOT a late night event. Support and turnout will determine frequency of our future events...
But don't despair!..Our next party will be Sunday April 17, 2011 7pm @ LIV. We will send you more info in the coming weeks...
Take Care & RIP Loleatta Holloway
"I don’t know whether people felt like Daylight was always gonna be around, but we started noticing people coming later and later, which is not good," Source says. "That's not our format. The last party we had really started to gel around 9:30, and we said, 'No, this is not what we wanna do.' So we decided stop, remind people of our format, and let the people dictate the frequency of the party."
Source said when he notified patrons in March that he'd be suspending Daylight for a while, people "wanted to throw a dance-a-thon, and dance for 24 hours straight." But he declined the offer, saying that the party didn't need saving, it just needed people to "come early and have few drinks--the party will take care of itself if they do that."
The main reason the late night creep is bad, aside from the fact that it goes against the spirit and the name of the event, is that Source didn't design it as a Sunday dance night competitor as much as a peerless, early-bird event and a pre-gaming stop for late-night party people. "We're not trying to be Eighteenth Street Lounge," he says. "I respect Sam," he says of ESL's resident Sunday night DJ, Sam "The Man" Burns. "And when people come see us, we always tell them to go see Sam after if they wanna stay out later, but we're not trying to do what they do.
"We’re gonna do the anniversary, and see how this goes," Source says. "This may determine whether it continues to be a weekly thing or not."
The Fifth Anniversary party is this Sunday, May 29, at Liv; Source and Divine are spinning, and the $15 cost of admission includes a seafood buffet. The party starts at 8 p.m. and goes until 2 a.m., which is uncharacteristic for Daylight, Source says he decided to push back the start time not because it's a special occasion, but because "Monday is a holiday."