DJ Jazzy Jeff's Playlist Retreat

Inside The Mecca of Collaboration That is DJ Jazzy Jeff's Playlist Retreat

The muffled sound of bass-saturated music bumping in the distance is loud enough to hear from the car. Up the long driveway, a food truck parked in the grass produces billows of grill smoke in anticipation of the guests arriving in just a few hours. Two towering white tents stand in an expansive space that could either be classified as a gigantic backyard or a small field.

Either way, there’s more than enough room to fit the tents, 12 RV campers, a row of portable showers and toilets—and a children’s play set. The setup has all the trappings of a legendary cookout or even a family reunion, both of which aren’t too far off the mark from what’s actually about to go down: DJ Jazzy Jeff’s second-annual Playlist Retreat..

For the next four days, around 100 DJs, producers, singers, engineers, and songwriters will come to Jeff’s home to swap notes, create music, and engage in industry talks. The idea for The Playlist Retreat hit Jeff a few years ago during Thre3style, Red Bull’s international DJ competition, where he serves as one of the judges.

"You don’t really get a chance to bond with your peers. Every time we do shows or festivals there may be one or two guys that you get a chance to say, 'what’s up' and hang out. But Red Bull Thre3style gave us a week," Jeff says. "In that week, we eat together, everybody swaps music, and you tell horror stories, and that camaraderie was something we don’t get all of the time. So I was like, I want to do a DJ retreat."

The framework for a retreat was in Jeff’s head but he didn’t know if it would be feasible until his wife, Lynette Townes, threw him a surprise party for his 50th birthday at their home.

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