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  • Jack Starr

La Rumba – Sheffield Events Brand Announces Spring Season, Including Mega 7th Birthday Party



La Rumba is one of the biggest and best names for parties and gigs in Sheffield. Started by DJ and organiser Román Rocha in 2017, La Rumba has brought the city a wide range of globally-inspired events, combining different genres and both local and international acts at venues across the city.


This year, the La Rumba brand celebrates its 7th birthday – and on Friday the 8th of March, they will throw a spectacular birthday party at Hope Works. The line-up features hand-picked artists and DJs. Headlining is DJ Seinfeld, all the way from Sweden, who is inspired by the classic house pioneers and brings ‘sweeping emotive cuts, verdant dancefloor workouts and discerning dips into jungle and breaks’.


Co-headlining is Romare, an alias of Archie Fairhurst. A live electronic act, Romare takes a ‘cut-and-paste’ approach to music, making creative collages out of existing material. Supporting acts include Sheffield locals alex.aubyn, Control.'s Aaron Dynamic, and the Fortythree crew, with La Rumba founder Román warming up for Romare.


Mr Scruff, La Rumba

The birthday event is just one of many new events announced for the spring season – multiple parties are taking place at the Factory Floor venue in Kelham Island, along with two more parties at Hope Works and another at Peddler Warehouse. In June, La Rumba will bring genre-fluid collective Nubiyan Twist to the Leadmill on a new album tour.

 

We reached out to Román to ask a few questions about La Rumba. Here’s what he had to say:


What is La Rumba all about? Do your events have a common theme? 


La Rumba is all about sharing global dance floor culture through live events with world-class artists and home grown talent in Sheffield and Leeds in grassroots venues that serve as a safe space for everyone.


A layperson might assume on first glance that we’re strictly a Latin night named after the Cuban dance style or genre, but “La Rumba” is a slang term in Latin America for “the party” which stuck with me when visiting family in Venezuela, so people would ask their friends “dónde está La Rumba este fin?” [where is La Rumba this weekend?] 


Whilst we do host Latin artists like Coco María and Mafalda, each event has a different inspiration, whether that be a dub-reggae night with Channel One; an Afrobeat jazz night with Dele Sosimi, or a UK underground focused night with Anz, Call Super and Peach this May with house, garage, and techno born out of London, Chicago, Detroit, and Berlin.


Sauti Sol, La Rumba

How did you get started with La Rumba? 


Like with many promoters starting out, I was a passionate club-goer and house party DJ that wanted to hire out a space to blast out tunes to my mates, say no more. 


But I wanted to create something different with La Rumba, a night where one could hear a range of genres from around the world whilst still maintaining that party atmosphere. Nights like Nice Like Rice, Banana Hill, and Hope Works really spoke out to me, so I thought, let’s have a go.


I managed to book a Wednesday night at The Harley in March 2017 and put tickets up at £1-5 hoping at least 50 mates would come down, and next thing the event sold out with queues at the door. It was a student DIY party through and through, with me climbing up ladders and sticking up inflatables to the ceiling, offering discounts for wavy shirts and a multi-genre line-up spanning disco, house, Latin and Balearic. 


I thought the first had to be a fluke, so tried another resident's night, this time with Marcelo Mader on the line-up, a Latino immigrant like me who I was introduced to and later became a La Rumba resident. The second event sold out and I gradually began booking bigger DJs and then live bands. 7 years later, here we are.


Do you have a favourite past event with La Rumba? Or any memories you would like to share? 


It’s impossible to choose just one, but highlights have to be Nubiyan Twist and both times we’ve hosted Dele Sosimi on the live events side, so much so that I’ve got them both back again this year in May and June.


With the club shows, the first event has to be up there which filled me with immense joy and excitement for what was possible. But some of my favourite memories sit at Yellow Arch Studios with Mr. Scruff, SNO, Awesome Tapes From Africa, Romare and Crazy P; and La Rumba stepping up to Hope Works bringing O’Flynn & Crazy P, Ross From Friends, Shanti Celeste, and partying with Manami until the sun came up.


Ross From Friends, La Rumba

Any plans for the future? Where would you like to see La Rumba go next?


I’m always wondering where to take things after each season. I can’t stress enough that things are far more difficult post-Covid and people need to support their local venues and promoters if we want to maintain a healthy scene and keep hold of our community spaces. 


But the live shows and not-for-profit events are what have been giving me a lot of energy recently. Our live series at Factory Floor has breathed new life into events for me again with a simple, stripped back model focusing on local up-and-coming artists in an intimate setting with cheap tickets rather than the big-ticket shows with eye-watering budgets in a post-Covid world, though I’m sure they will still have a place in the calendar next year with bigger concepts, bigger artists, and a whole lot more fun. 


You can check out upcoming La Rumba events and tickets on Resident Advisor here.

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