NYC Downlow is the infamous ‘homo disco’ that occupies a small, seedy corner of Glastonbury Festival’s south side. Situated within the Block9, an art-club hybrid founded by Gideon Berger and Stephen Gallagher, NYC Downlow takes the form of a bombed-out 1980s New York tenement block – inside, it’s one of the most inclusive spots on the UK festival circuit. In their own words, NYC Downlow hosts “the cream of cutting-edge queer performance, a pansexual trans-army and motley crew of sexed-up go-go boy butchers”, with a soundtrack that celebrates underground dance music’s gay roots – disco, house music, funk and soul.
As music festivals around the world become increasingly straight, whitewashed, and homogenised, spaces like NYC Downlow become even more necessary. Berger and Gallagher started it in 2007 having felt there was no alternative LGBTQ space at Glastonbury. “I went out to Burning Man and saw some of shit they did out there and was blown away by the homo camp stuff,” Berger told Dazed in 2015. “They built massive pieces of art and had really cool people and I thought ‘how come they’ve got their shit but we haven’t?’ I came back to Steve and said ‘lets build a gay bar at Glastonbury’ – it’s the best festival in Europe but there’s zero gay presence there.”
NYC Downlow will have a presence at Dazed’s 25th anniversary party in London tonight – we’re keeping details under wraps, but rest assured, it’s going to be a very wild night. Ahead of the party, co-founder Gideon Berger – aka Gideön – put together our latest Dazed Mix. Berger has been spinning deep house, Northern Soul, roots reggae, acid house, disco and beyond for 25 years now, and hosts a weekly radio show that has seen guests ranging from Seth Troxler to Horse Meat Disco to Mr. G. His mix features heads-down house music, diva vocals, and deep, dark rollers.