01 Jan 1970 |

Alex Gutierrez

Where’s my Disco? Going out over 50

Where’s my Disco? Going out over 50

by DJ Alex Gutierrez
You were once the King or Queen of the Dance floor…the crowd would part as you walked in the room. Johnny Walker flowed like water from the faucet, and it wasn’t unusual to walk in in at midnight and stumble out to the parking lot at 6 AM, but alas times have changed, Barry and Donna are gone , hair is thinning , and by 12:30 am your thinking how early you have to get up the next day to take the grand kids to the zoo.
It seems these days that most people want the ” Bang” but don’t want to give up the ” Buck”. Most people in their 50s are not really club-goers and a quiet weekend consisting of a couple of Netflix movies and dinner at The Cheesecake Factory will do. On the other hand another segment of that population who grew up in the late 70s here in South Florida and were regulars at their local ” Discos” now find themselves recently divorced and single. For those wishing to find someone in their age range , nightclubs catering to this demographic are one of the options . but finding one worthy of their business is another story.
This segment considers a variety of factors when determining where, when , with whom, and how a person in their 50s goes out.
So I asked a few people. ” We can’t do it every week” seems to be the common answer . Alfred 52 and divorced , a Car Rental Sales representative in Miami for over 30 years agrees.” It’s impossible , Drink prices are out of control . A beer for $8, premium drink for $10-13 is not something I can sustain week after week” A night out can average $ 150-$200 when factoring in the probability of buying drinks for some ladies or friends and a possible breakfast afterward . Multiply that times 4 weeks and your talking about my electrical, fuel and cell phone bill combined. We tend to think in this fashion as we age , those carefree days are behind me.”
Cost is definitely an issue with almost all those we spoke to ( all from middle Class backgrounds) . Drink prices locally are on average on the high side since Miami is popular tourist destination.
Ivette, 50 ,Married describes ” Safety” as her number one concern ” I want to go to a place with people in my age group. My generation was brought up differently , the men were more polite , a kinder crowd. The likelihood of fights and problems in and around the establishment is dramatically reduced. We are all there to have a good time. Parking is also important . Is it close by,well lit, safe , affordable?”
The question of cost kept coming up , Cover Charges were also a concern among this demographic, but as one Club owner ( also in his 50s) put it ” Supporting these special events is not only showing up , customers need to support these specialized nights if they want to see them continue, Disco music programming is a very niche market and they tire easily of a venue and sometimes opt for more sedentary activities such as dinners , movies or social gatherings at homes”
Artists of the era are still available, but bringing them in to perform is costly after paying for their flight, lodging, promotion and meals.
Tony, age 58 ” I was a Disco bunny back in the Day. Worked all week and couldn’t wait to hit the clubs on Fridays and Saturdays. Things have changed, the energy levels are not the same, but the love of this music ( Disco) gets me motivated to go out. We have No radio stations that play our music and most ” nightclubs” are restaurants where they clear some tables to make room for dancing ‘ Once in a while an existing nightclub will devote a night to the classics of the 70s and 80s and I try to go as often as I can, but most people in our age groups , especially the men are content with staying home or just going out to dinner. Now the Ladies , that’s a different story, they love to party, and they dance all night if you let them . Those are the ones I like”
Some area establishments are trying to lure the ” older” crowd by hiring a DJ and moving some tables around . Most restaurants and bars are ill-equiped to handle these customers. DJs who can proficiently program and mix this music are hard to come by. KC and the Sunshine Band doesn’t quite cut it with this extremely musically savvy clientele . This crowd lived the era, they knew the music, they were there at the Clubs, the music was not mainstream and only the true fan knew its artists and songs. Cerrone, Alec R Costandinos, Amant, John Davis and the Monster Orchestra , these were just a handful of artists in the Nightclub DJ’s repertoire.
” It’s difficult to motivate people our age to go out on a Saturday night, but we’ve been lucky to have great friends that support us” says Charlie Rodriguez , the most successful of all those have attempted to promote these specialized events. ” We are constantly working hard and at great expense to bring those artists of the 70s and 80s that still perform to our venues. We create an atmosphere at these venues that allows our customers to feel safe, and very well taken care of ,recreating both visually and musically the era we loved so Much”
People in their 50s still enjoy a night of music and dancing , but it appears that many conditions must be met before they decide what establishment will get their hard earned dollars.


March 8th, 2017

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