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After Nine Years, Coming Down From the Buzz

By Eric Brace

Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, September 27, 2002; Page WE05

FOR THE SECOND Friday in a row, Nation will be dark. Buzz is no more. Last week, the promoters of Buzz, the nine-year-old dance party that brought world-famous DJs to town and became internationally known itself, pulled the plug on their creation.

The decision followed a recent edict by the military banning all service members from the club, and the arrests outside the club three weeks ago of eight people charged with distribution of the drug Ecstasy.

"When you have a nightclub with 2,500 to 3,000 people in it on a weekend night, yes, there are going to be drugs in there," admits Scott Henry, a DJ and the founder of Buzz. "But Nation did more than any club I know to curtail drug use. We worked with police, we instituted very tough search policies, put in additional lighting, we asked what else we could do. I strongly feel we were being scapegoated, and we weren't going to let them have the upper hand by tarnishing the name Buzz, so we decided to end it."

Buzz has been co-promoted by its parent company, BuzzlifeProductions, and Primacy Inc., owned by Nation owner John Boyle, who would make no comment about the end of the popular Friday night event.

Henry, however, says it might be a blessing in disguise. "Those four walls of Nation may have been holding us back," he says. "We've been planning to expand into other cities and going to other venues, taking Buzz around the country, maybe starting a record label. The name is so well known and respected, we did what we did so that we could move forward."

In its wake, Buzz leaves memories of some of the finest dance club moments Washington has ever seen. It brought such stellar DJs as Paul Oakenfold, Moby, Fatboy Slim, Sasha, John Digweed and Dieselboy to town, and one wonders where such elite talent will perform now. "I have personally dealt with Buzz for years," says Stephen Levy, president of the influential L.A.-based electronica label Moonshine Records, "and it's one of the most important nights in the world for the kind of music we're doing. I send DJ tours through there all the time, and I've always found it to be one of the most professionally run, world-class venues anywhere. I can't stand the fact that it's gone." Neither can thousands of Buzz fans.

Henry promises news soon on the future of Buzz and says it'll appear on the Web site www.buzzlife.com/bz/index.php. Nation, meanwhile, will continue to host the goth dance party, Alchemy, every Thursday and the primarily gay event Velvet on Saturdays.

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