Final Clampdown Dance Party Takes Place This Weekend
Since 2004, The Clampdown has been the go-to monthly destination for your fix of dancefloor-friendly alt-rock music, but that will all be coming to a closure at the end of 2016. Clampdown founder Charles Erickson announced today that he plans to end the long-running series with two final shows in November and December.
“It’s been amazing that it has stayed so strong for so long,” Erickson told Columbus Underground over the phone today. “No one is more surprised than me that it’s still around after 12 years.”
Erickson chalks the longevity up to the simplicity of the event format, and a focus that puts music at the forefront.
“Basically, we’ve been successful because we’ve always had a good mix of songs, and a cool neighborhood bar that caters to the hipster crowd,” he explained. “We try to stay fresh by adding new songs in the mix, but always play the crowd favorites too.”
The reason for ending the series — which will go out with its 150th installation in December — falls upon a multitude of factors that have all come to a head within the past year. Erickson said that he’s watched attendance decline a bit as younger generations go to clubs less frequently. Additionally, after 12 years, Erickson himself is just ready to move to something newer, like focusing on the Damn Girl parties that he co-created three years ago.
“The reason I lost personal interest awhile ago in The Clampdown is because it’s pretty much the same thing,” he stated. “It’s very straightforward, and it’s never going to be more than what it has always been. In the early years I got a lot out of it by helping to build the community and I am proud of that.”
Additionally, Erickson said that the genres of dance-floor friendly rock that were quite prevalent in 2004 have fallen out of favor over the past decade, making it more difficult to find new music to rotate into the mix each month. In 2004, when Erickson was a new transplant in Columbus, he saw a need in the market to fill for those popular genres.
“I had been frequenting similar events in my hometown of Minneapolis and other cities like Cincinnati and it boggled my mind that nothing of the sort was in Columbus, especially because of how prevalent the rock music scene was here,” he said. “I remember going to see Interpol play a big sold out show and I saw that crowd and it seemed silly that there wasn’t a regular monthly event dedicated to that crowd.”
The Clampdown was born soon afterward in the venue formerly known as The Ravari Room, and currently known as the side room at Hounddog’s Pizza in Old North Columbus. After experimenting with live bands for the first two months, The Clampdown concept was streamlined and found immediate success.
“By the third month it was incredibly packed, and by the fourth month there was a line out the door with 600 people coming through,” said Erickson. “That slowly leveled out and was always comfortably busy, but there was never really a wait to get in again after the first year.”
Erickson thinks that the final two events coming up could be just as busy again, as long-time fans will be given the opportunity to revisit the classic party for a final time. That doesn’t mean this is the last you’ll see of Erickson playing music around Columbus though, as he continues to be more frequently booked for special events, and is always working on other new party ideas.
“It’s always more fun and exciting to create something new,” he stated. “Regular Clampdown DJ Donnie Mossman and I already talking about a new event in the coming year that has kind of a kinship to Clampdown. It will have a different name and space and theme, but it would still be related.”
The final two installments of The Clampdown take place on Saturday, November 12th and Saturday, December 10th.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/clampdown.