Diplo Announces New Project, Higher Ground, at The Menagerie

The Midway hosts a five-stage Burning Man fundraiser this Saturday, July 6, with the DJ and producer headlining.

As one half of house supergroup Silk City — Mark Ronson being the remainder — Diplo studded his set at the revived Treasure Island Music Festival last fall with some choice remixes. As something of a titanic figure in electronic music, he commands high rates to perform. But S.F.’s own indoor-outdoor venue The Midway has flexed its muscles to get him to play at The Menagerie, an art car-filled Burning Man fundraiser this Saturday, July 6, at which the DJ and producer will also announce the debut of a new project, a house-focused project called Higher Ground.

There have been a few teasers since early May, but Brendan Ward of The Midway tells SF Weekly that this Saturday’s party is the real deal. Taking over the sprawling, multi-venue complex with five stages and room for 4,000 to 5,000 expected attendees, it will be similar in feel to Fresh Start, the New Year’s Day rave that enlivened this far corner of the Dogpatch six months ago. 

Diplo “goes to Burning Man almost every year,” Ward says. “The money that’s being fundraised is going back into Burning Man camps for the art.”

In other words, Diplo is essentially donating his time and the Midway isn’t profiting off of tickets sales. To fill out the rest of the bill, organizers got some 40 artists, many of them local, including Super Flu and Jonas Rathsman. Venerable B.M. art camps like Opulent Temple, Root Society, Duck Pond, and Camp Questionmark are curating much of the experience, with art cars like Dancetronauts, Rynobus, and Bounce present for people to interact with — in the event they missed them at festivals like Electric Daisy Carnival.

With respect to Higher Ground, Ward explains that it’s catering to house music and may be a departure for hardcore Diplo fans who are more accustomed to heavier-hitting music.  

“He has an incredible team that he works with, and he’s gifted at collaborating with other musicians that are pushing the envelope,” Ward says. “He’s a genius at crafting new sounds, and I’m excited to see what’s in the horizon for him musically.

“The Midway is honored to host the Higher Ground-presented stage at The Menagerie,” he adds. “I think people will be pleasantly surprised and refreshed by what they experience.”

The Menagerie, Saturday, July 6, 2-10 p.m., at the Midway, 900 Marin St., $30-$150, tickets here.

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