Just over twenty years since Brian Belle-Fortune published All Crew Muss Big Up: Journeys Through Jungle Drum & Bass Culture (Deptford Forum Publishing, 1999), drum & bass music remains as vibrant as ever and despite recurring claims over that period about the genre’s demise. Yet, the drum & bass scene and industry has changed in numerous ways since 1999; the people, sites, practices, and cultures captured so evocatively by Belle-Fortune in 1999 have evolved and developed since. It also necessary to acknowledge how the current public health situation in the UK and beyond is introducing new challenges for drum & bass practitioners and followers. All Crew Muss Big Up intervened at the end of an extraordinary decade of drum & bass music’s growth and expansion. Against the backdrop of a diminished role for the traditional music press and media, All Crews Muss Big Up is an excellent example of the continued relevance of book publications for shedding light on under-documented underground dance music.
A further two decades on – with so much good music having been released, with record labels shifting from vinyl to digital releases, with prominent venues coming and going, and indeed with the passing of some well-known drum & bass artists – it is time to take stock of the book’s impact and significance on drum & bass culture, while also using it as a vehicle to consider the future of drum & bass. In this panel discussion, then, we place Brian Belle-Fortune at the centre by asking him to reflect on the book’s impact. We then invite contributions from one of the best-known female drum & bass DJs, DJ Flight, and two academics who have published articles on drum & bass music in Dancecult, Dr Chris Christodoulou (Course Leader of BA Contemporary Media Practice at the University of Westminster) and Dr Alistair Fraser (Lecturer in the Department of Geography at Maynooth University, Ireland). Their focus will be on noting facets of the book’s significance; and on how a reading of All Crew Muss Big Up might be able to illuminate the future of drum & bass culture.
The full agenda is available here: dancecult-research.net/2021-agenda/
Panel members: Brian Belle-Fortune, DJ Flight, Dr. Chris Christodoulou, Dr. Alistair Fraser
Panel Chair: Dr. Alistair Fraser