Superstar British DJ Paul Oakenfold has spent his entire career throwing epic parties and collaborating with music legends like Madonna and U2. So to mark the 30th anniversary of his first trip to Ibiza, which forever changed dance club culture, the DJ wanted to do something monumental: like throw the highest dance party on the face of the earth.
Yesterday, Oakenfold did just that at Everest Base Camp, which sits at 17,600 feet. The gig, an unexpected stop on his Generations World Tour, is the first in the DJ’s SoundTrek series, aimed at drawing attention to the effects of global warming and raising money for charities. Oakenfold streamed parts of the show on Facebook and plans to release an album and documentary chronicling the trek and performance. “I’ve played all of the main festivals and all of the main stages and clubs, and don’t get me wrong, they are great, but they start to feel all the same,” he says. “Everest opens exciting new doors and that is what inspires me. It allows me to be challenged at this stage of my career and really think about my legacy.”
The three-time Grammy-nominated artist has performed at other headline-grabbing locations, including the Great Wall of China and Ushuaia, the southernmost tip of the world. Everest isn’t a publicity stunt, he says. During the ten-day trek to Base Camp, Oakenfold donated coloring books and pencils to village children in Khumjung and challenged them to a soccer match, played impromptu sets at tea houses in Namche and Pheriche, and recorded local music that he plans to mix into a forthcoming album. Proceeds from his tour will go to Supporting Nepal’s Children and Himalayan Trust UK and his Denon-brand DJ equipment will be donated to a local DJ school in Kathmandu.
Oakenfold is the first to admit that he’s far from an outdoorsman. In fact, he says he’d never hiked in his life prior to this expedition. It was his friend, nightclub owner Mark Brimblecombe, who approached him about the idea for SoundTrek and performing at Everest. The 53-year-old DJ admits he was excited, but also quite nervous about the challenge. “Something like this has never been done,” he says. “Who even knows if the equipment will work at that altitude. We…