Throughout their nearly 50-year history, Fleetwood Mac have played hundreds of shows around the world. But there's one place they have never played: Burning Man. So a pair of U.K. DJs/producers decided to bring the spirit of the ubiquitous classic rock outfit to the far-out festival in the desert.
Alex Oxley and Lisa Jelliffe are the masterminds behind Fleetmac Wood, a touring Fleetwood Mac–themed party featuring dance-floor edits of the classic act's catalog. Attendees are encouraged to dress up for the events, and Jelliffe says that "both women and men have arrived dressed as Stevie." Past themes have included Gold Dust Disco and Running in the Shadows. As Fleetwood Mac have experienced a popularity surge among the young and the fashionable during the last few years, so too has Fleetmac Wood taken off in cities around the world.
Jelliffe performs under the name Roxanne Roll and says they were inspired to organize the first party when she found that the crowd response during her sets was especially huge whenever she dropped Fleetwood Mac. Jelliffe felt the fervor could be harnessed into a stand-alone party, and she was right.
Oxley and Jelliffe have worked in various realms of the music and advertising industries, and they hosted the first Fleetmac Wood in 2012 in a "sweaty and suitably hedonistic" basement club in London. In the years since, they have brought shimmering Mac remixes to England's mighty Glastonbury Festival (where they've hosted Fleetmac Wood four times), Australia and throughout the United States. Los Angeles' first Fleetmac Wood party was held at the Short Stop in Echo Park; it garnered more than 650 RSVPs and created a line down Sunset.
The married duo has since relocated to L.A. They live in Laurel Canyon, in a house just down the street from a place Mick Fleetwood used to own. They also throw a party called Kaftan Discotheque at the downtown Ace Hotel.
This Friday, June 10, the fifth L.A. incarnation of Fleetmac Wood kicks off downtown at the Regent Theater. The theme is Crystal Visions, and audience members are encouraged to wear their finest fringe, vests, gypsy vestments and top hats.
Oxley and Jelliffe mix live at the events. They incorporate tracks procured from Soundcloud's thriving Fleetwood Mac remix community as well as exclusive remixes from other producers, their own Mac edits and original tracks. They welcome producers to pass them new Fleetwood Mac remixes for consideration for the next party, and while they mention that audiences go wild for classics like "The Chain" and "Dreams," the intention of Fleetmac Wood is to illuminate the richness of the vast Mac discography.
“I wanted to make it more than just playing their greatest hits,” Jelliffe says, “and instead get deep into the back catalog and add a club context to it. The originals stand tall as the best, but it’s fun to hear the music we love in a new way.”
Fleetmac Wood parties incorporate everything from the band's early Peter Green–era output to far more recent music, and Oxley and Jelliffe say the band's catalog is so robust that they're even still discovering new Fleetwood Mac material. They note that the London crowd is most into the late-’80s Tango in the Night phase, while Australia prefers Steve Nicks’ early-’80s solo work and L.A. goes hardest for Rumours, which was recorded up the coast in Sausalito during what was arguably the band's most hedonistic era.
As for why Fleetwood Mac are so fashionable among young clubbers, Jelliffe theorizes that it has to do with the band’s authenticity, air of mystery and sense of romance. They're all factors that often feel stripped away from many modern bands, who overshare their lives on social media. What's definitely true is that the Mac catalog is cluttered with hits that many of us grew up listening to and thus pack more of an emotional punch than many disposable club tracks.
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“People have such strong memories with this music, with their families, their parents, breakups,” says Jelliffe. “It’s great to be able to let go and get a little emotional in a club environment where you can dance and get lost in a song. I think it’s a very joyful experience for people, and a very cathartic one, too.”
Fleetmac Wood is also one of the few dance parties in town that attendees can confidently bring their parents to, and many have. Oxley notes that there have also been two "successful" marriage proposals at Fleetmac Wood parties, and that many people who initially came alone have made long-lasting friends at the parties.
“It’s not about us; it’s about the music, the audience and how the audience is celebrating, letting go and connecting with one another," Oxley says. "That’s why we keep putting them on.”
Fleetmac Wood gets nostalgic Friday, June 10, at the Regent Theater.