British expat Mike Bufton has been championing house and tech music in the city for more than a decade and is the founder of audio tonic, a weekly house and electronic music night. He was also handed our Outstanding Contribution award at the annual Time Out Dubai Music and Nightlife Awards, held on Wednesday March 30 at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, for his dedication to the music industry in the city.
audio tonic was born in 2006, as Bufton – who is also a Radio 1 DJ and presenter – felt the city was in need of a night that showcased European house and dance music. “Dubai has always had a big love for house music, but more on the commercial side. My radio show was really my only outlet to play tunes that were heard on the cooler dance floors of the UK and Europe,” Bufton says.
And so, audio tonic Sunset Sessions came to life as an 11-hour event held every Friday at 360° at Jumeirah Beach Hotel. “It was my way of breaking new artists and sounds to the region,” says Bufton. “I’ve been able to make a difference and build some foundations for the dance music scene here.”
Over the years, he has established a loyal crew of DJs and producers, which includes local decksmiths Rich Showell, Rod Lee Winters, Russ Cooper, JC Pinto and Megadon Betamax to name but a few. Then there are the big names that the event has attracted – acts including Hot Since 82, Claptone, Shur-I-Kan, Milton Jackson, Florian Kruse and Audiojack, not to mention Raxon (who honed his skills over the years at audio tonic).
“Every gig has been a moment, from Raxon’s last-ever performance at 360° a couple of weeks ago to Hot Since 82’s sell-out party back in 2013 or when Jimpster played and it started to rain. We found some plastic sheets and made a make-shift roof over the DJ booth. The place was going crazy as everyone danced in the rain,” he laughs.
Friday May 20 will mark the final audio tonic bash at 360°, as the brand looks for a new venue to call home. “It’s definitely not quits. We have some great plans on the horizon and we might even throw a pre-summer taster,” Bufton says. Join him and the crew for one last (for now) party.
Free entry. 4pm-3am. 360°, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Umm Suqeim, www.audiotonic.net.
The final four sessions at 360°
Manuel De La Mare
The Italian titan of tech house who has played at Ministry of Sound in London will headline. His music combines elements of Italo dance and deep house.
Tiger & woods
Larry Tiger and David Woods will bring their unique disco edit to Dubai alongside Cosmo, Arcade 82, Mr Mr, Megadon Betamax and another surprise guest to be announced.
A DJ for 20 years spinning in the biggest clubs, Tony Montana’s knowledge of music is outstanding. His mantra is simple: “Always play great music and don’t just follow trends.”
audio tonic presents The Last Ever Dance at 360°, featuring Mr Mr, Rich Showell, Rod Lee Winters, Russ Cooper, JC Pinto, Megadon Betamax, Vas Floyd, Julian Jinx and Jason Dodds.