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Pictures from last night's vigil @ Nation

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Thankfully the vigil went on w/o a hitch last night. Around 10 pm kids started arriving with flowers, signs, candles and stuffed animals. I arrived shortly before midnight and there was already a large group assembled.

It was weird approaching Nation in the car and not hearing the loud thumping of the music that filled that streets every Friday night

At the entrance people laid their gifts down as a testament to how much Buzz will truly be missed.

At midnight we all gathered around one of the parked cars to listen to Scott Henry & John Tab drop 9 years of Buzz tunes on WHFS 99.1 for 2 hours. We danced on the sidewalks as a lone police car patroled Half Street.

It was a nice way to say good bye to our beloved Friday night party.

I've posted pictures from last night here:

http://users.starpower.net/sheworelemon/buzz_vigil.htm

Scott Henry & John Tab will be on HFS again on Sunday morning (8 am to 9 am) to take calls, answer questions and share Buzz memories.

To everyone I ever shared a Buzz moment with, I hope you know how special you are to me.

The party WILL go on...

Thank you.

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This article sheds a positive light to the vigil and the fight against the RAVE Act.

Rave Off: 'Buzz' Canceled After Drug Sting

By Natalie Hopkinson and Barbara E. Martinez

Washington Post Staff Writers

Saturday, September 21, 2002; Page C01

Last night, after seven years of weekly raves, the Southeast Washington music club Nation stayed dark on a Friday. The club's popular dance party, Buzz, has been permanently canceled. Washingtonians who say they had formed a community around the raves instead held a candlelight vigil outside.

"I think all electronic music fans in D.C. are going to miss it," said Tim Moore, a Buzz-goer since 1998. "It was the centerpiece of the scene here. It was one of the oldest ongoing events in D.C., and it was certainly the biggest in terms of the number of people who would come, and the talent, the money and effort that went into the production of their music."

Nation, owned by Fairfax-based Primacy Cos., canceled Buzz after D.C. police charged seven men and one woman, ages 19 through 25, with distribution of the drug Ecstasy after last week's event. The sting followed media reports about the military banning service members from the club, which is located just off South Capitol Street SE.

Club management issued this statement about the cancellation: "Nation's Friday night rave event attracted a peaceful and generally law abiding crowd. Unfortunately, it recently has become clear that an unacceptable criminal element has infiltrated this event. Despite stringent security measures on the part of Nation, including thorough pat down searches, this element has been difficult to dislodge."

The police reported the arrests to the city's Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, which is investigating Nation. Its findings "will be going on to the board, who will make the ultimate decision" regarding the club's license, according to ABRA director Maria Delaney.

According to the statement from Nation, the club does not expect its other regular parties -- the Thursday industrial/Goth night and Saturday Velvet Nation, a dance party popular with gays -- to be affected.

Buzzlife, the promotion company that ran Buzz, vowed to find a new location for event, one of the first big showcases of electronic music in America. "Buzzlife has nothing to hide," said spokeswoman Amanda Huie. "We are about the music and the scene, which is about being as you are." Huie said the cancellation decision came after a week of "intensely sad" negotiations with Nation management.

Security measures for the Friday party had become increasingly intense. "They were doing everything they could," said rave fan Moore, a 24-year-old software engineer. "You had to go through a full search when you came through the door, practically airport-level security. They would pat you down, make people take off their shoes, unfold the brim of your hat. They would throw people out on the slightest inclination."

According to D.C. police narcotics Inspector Hilton Burton, Ecstasy is a very difficult drug to detect. "The average size is smaller than aspirin -- you can hide them anywhere," he said, adding that the individuals who were arrested tried to sell the drug to undercover police officers.

The loss of the party hit Juliette Siegfried hard. "It's a good thing you didn't call yesterday," she said. "I felt like I was at a funeral." The nature of raves, and particularly those at Buzz, she said, made the event a cornerstone of her life in D.C.: "It was a place I could go and feel unconditionally accepted for who I really am -- and who I am doesn't always fit into mainstream society." In other club scenes, "the idea is to score. There's a lot of pressure to meet someone and go out on the dance floor while drinking lots of alcohol, and that's not what I'm about."

When she began attending Buzz in 1997, Siegfried was a teacher at Sidwell Friends School. Since then she has left the teaching job and opened Metatrack, a studio and school where people can learn to be DJs. "I grew up a lot and finally accepted a lot about myself," said Siegfried, 35.

The scene at Buzz, she and others say, involved drug use, but it did not dominate and has visibly declined in recent years. There are other raves in D.C., but they are not as well run as Buzz, fans say. "It was nice to be in a safe place and still have that liberated feeling and a lack of attitude among the patrons," said Siegfried.

That lack of attitude was essential to the Buzz atmosphere, although it also meant members of the community who did not do drugs were loath to pressure those who did to stop. Siegfried explained: "Drug use is a very personal thing, I've gathered. It's not easy to tell them what they should and should not do. I had to learn to accept people for who they were. I was not fitting into the mainstream well; I was a geeky, awkward person and they accepted me."

Chris Gill, editor of Los Angeles-based Remix magazine, was buzzing about the cancellation yesterday. He pointed out that musical and artistic innovation is often accompanied by a drug culture. "Jazz was associated with marijuana," he said, "the '20s with cocaine. For some reason our government decided to make Ecstasy the scapegoat."

News of Buzz's cancellation rocked the electronic music industry because the move is the latest in a series of challenges to raves. Buzzlife had spoken out against the Reducing Americans' Vulnerability to Ecstasy Act of 2002 (also called the RAVE Act), which was introduced in Congress this summer. The bill would hold promoters responsible if people attending the events use illegal drugs. Other club events have been halted in New York and Detroit.

"It's affecting the East Coast more than the West Coast," said Roxanne Calomfirescu, publicist for the music label Nettwerk America. "It takes the venues away from the artists we're trying to promote. . . . We had two artists who were supposed to play Buzz in October. Now we have to totally reschedule and find another city that will play them." The electronic music experience requires powerful sound systems and lighting that only large clubs such as Nation have, Calomfirescu added.

"I think there needs to be some kind of national coalition formed," said Gill. "I don't think the powers that be recognize what an economic force this is. My magazine didn't exist three years ago."

So perhaps a new, public relations-savvy Buzz will return. Organizers of last night's vigil outside Nation didn't just hand out candles -- they called the media in advance and had press releases at the ready.

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