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Monday, 25 June, 2001, 14:50 GMT 15:50 UK
British clubbing goes global
Clubbers at the Ministry of Sound Millennium Dome New Year's Eve event
Clubbing has become a lifestyle in Britain
British dance music will spread further across the globe than ever this year, and - if the hype is to be believed - build on its status as the world's club music of choice.

The superclubs are taking their shows around the world, British DJs will send thousands crazy in Ibiza and Ayia Napa while Britney and Mariah are said to be signing up UK garage producers.

Clubbers at Creamfields UK
Creamfields will go to Argentina and Australia
With the biggest-name nightclubs and the best-known DJs, Britain has gained a reputation over the last 10 years for having one of the best club scenes in the world.

Liverpool superclub Cream is at the forefront of the worldwide push, starting up a series of international dance festivals that they hope will turn their company into a globally recognised music brand.

After launching in 1992, Cream has become one of Britain's best-known clubs. It is following the success of its Creamfields festivals in the UK and Ireland by taking it to America, Argentina and Australia.

Founder and managing director James Barton says he wants to establish up to 12 annual international festivals - and make Cream the clubbing equivalent of football giant Manchester United.

The UK club scene is the original, the birthplace, where it's been successful

James Barton
Cream founder
He thinks British dance music is popular with a global audience because it is seen as the original and the best.

"There's a genuine feeling among a lot of young people around the world that the UK club scene is the original, the birthplace, where it's been successful," he told BBC News Online.

"They've been able to access that through magazines, web, some radio stuff and imported records."

As well as the Creamfields events in Liverpool and Dublin, a show in New York will be headlined by Fatboy Slim and Orbital, while the festival will also travel to Las Vegas, Buenos Aries and Australia this year.

James Barton, founder and managing director of Cream
Barton: Wants to establish 12 annual festivals
Young people in America are becoming more interested in British dance music, he says, while there is a "really exciting, really young, really fresh" scene developing in South America.

And Barton prefers taking Creamfields abroad to setting up nightclubs overseas because festivals are the best way to make money from spin-off CDs and radio and TV broadcasts.

"Creamfields enables us to put on show the whiff, musically, of what Cream stands for," he says.

London superclub Ministry of Sound is also spreading itself around the world - taking shows to South Africa and India as well as having residencies in Ibiza, Ayia Napa, Paris, Madrid and Barcelona this summer.

"The British dance scene has always been big overseas since people like Danny Rampling and Paul Oakenfold went off to Ibiza in the mid-80s and discovered ecstasy," according to Simon Hawkins of respected Brighton dance label Tru Thoughts.

British DJs are the best at taking influences, especially from America, and turning them into something new - like the big beat, two-step, and nu breaks scenes, he says.

But he stresses that DJs from other countries like France and Germany are catching up quickly.

Creamfields UK
Creamfields UK attracted 50,000 people in 2000
"So in truth we're probably less important than we used to be."

Hawkins says the presence of big-name brands like Cream and Ministry, with their marketing budgets, makes it appear that we have more influence than we have.

"We're actually not dominating Europe any more than we were - it's just that these clubs are higher-profile and more marketable than the individual DJs who went before.

"Then we flog it back to America and everywhere else as something completely new."

In America, boundaries between musical styles are more rigid, he says.

Stacy Osbaum, American music journalist and former editor of US dance culture magazine URB, says British dance music is popular but unlikely to break into the charts.

"Everyone looks to the U.K. for inspiration and also for advice. Clubbing is an institution in the UK but the US still has a long way to go."

London house music label Hooj recently started targeting the world market, and now gets 75% of its business and website hits from the United States.

Fatboy Slim
Fatboy Slim: One of Britain's successful exports
"I think Britain can be seen as one of the world leaders in clubbing simply because Britain was one of - if not the first - countries where clubbing actually became a lifestyle," says Bobby M, spokesman for the label.

But the American market is in danger of being swamped by British DJs, he thinks.

"It's going to become an increasingly difficult market to crack as more and more people try to get a slice of it."

Artists like Fatboy Slim and Paul Oakenfold have already made an impression.

Oakenfold, who has produced U2 and New Order, has been touring America with his Perfecto label for two years in an attempt to break into the market in his own right.

And Fatboy Slim, who had UK hits with Gangster Tripping and Right Here Right Now, was awarded single of the year for Rockafeller Skank by USA Today while Praise You was used by Al Gore during his presidential campaign.

And while he may not be a household name, 30,000 people will see him headline Creamfields New York at the start of September.

See also:

20 Apr 01 | Music
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26 Mar 01 | New Media
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Rampling on the rampage
31 Jan 00 | Brit Awards
Dance sounds dominate Brits list
10 Dec 99 | Entertainment
National Anthem's 'trance' remix
24 Aug 99 | Entertainment
Zoe and Fatboy have a ball
07 Nov 00 | New Music Releases
CD Review: Fatboy Slim
07 Jan 01 | New Music Releases
CD: Review: Clubber's Guide to ... 2001
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