Calling all aspiring electronic music DJs and producers! Beat Retreat, a week-long music education retreat offering a unique experience for up-and-coming music producers and DJs, announces their spring dates to commence on March 6th-11th, 2024, taking place in the kitesurfing capital of the Caribbean – Cabarete, Dominican Republic.

Guided by industry experts, Beat Retreat seeks to enhance artist skills and expand their network in the electronic music industry. Mentors announced for the second edition includes dynamic DJ, producer and ​​co-founder of Manjumasi records – Atish, music industry aficionado and A&R at Insomniac Music Group – Nick Garcia, founder of Beat Retreat, artist and entrepreneur – DJ Neekola, Anjunadeep’s forward thinking DJ/producer Enamour and one of dance music’s most beloved producers over the course of more than three decades in the game, Saeed Younan. We caught up with Beat Retreat founder DJ Neekola to discuss the spring edition and its mentors, giving back to community, her intentions and purpose of launching the retreat and more! 

If you’re an aspiring DJ/Producer APPLY for the Beat Retreat Spring edition! 

Register for the FREE WEBINAR, this Monday, February 5th, 2024 at 5:00PM EST

This March you’ll be hosting the spring edition of Beat Retreat, in Cabarete Beach, Dominican Republic. What was the inception of Beat Retreat and what initially sparked your interest and purpose to launch it?

When the pandemic hit, both my DJ and events businesses shut down. I was out of work and feeling super lost. I had lost my sense of purpose, direction, drive, identity. During this dark time, I got a random request from a friend to come and DJ in the Dominican Republic. I never had an interest in visiting the DR, but I took a chance and just did it. I needed a change, anything to get me out of the downward spiral I was in.

I went, and I ended up staying in the DR for weeks, months, now three years! I had fallen in love with the way of life, the community, the beauty of the island, the culture and the athletic and healthy lifestyle. This shift gave me a new perspective on my old life and how I wasn’t truly fulfilling my purpose of being a creative.  

I realized so many people in my industry need this shift, this rebirth of creativity and wellness. I decided to share this experience with my industry first, starting from individual experiences at my bed and breakfast on the beach, to now a 25 person experience that I host at Paradise Project – a lovely little resort equipped with mixing rooms and a state of the art recording studio.

DJ Neekola

Each edition, key mentors from the music industry will attend to participate in the workshops and lessons throughout the week. Who are the mentors for the Spring edition, and what topics will they be discussing in the workshops? 

Enamour – an international DJ and producer who has an undeniable global presence in the electronic space, known for creating masterful soundscapes with no boundary of range, and also a mentor through Patreon. He will share all of his top tricks and techniques for getting inspired in the studio, being creative and innovative, and coming up with ideas. 

Atish – a well known and accomplished DJ, label owner, mentor and music producer who’s achieved so much in a short amount of time will be discussing how to transition your music hobby into a career. He will delve into things such as finances, mindset, strategy, building a team and a brand all from the perspective of ensuring we remain authentic to our own voice.

Nick Garcia – a DJ who works for Insomniac Music Group in A&R, will be going over all the details on how to get signed by a bigger record label. He will discuss everything from the pros and cons of record labels, how to approach and communicate with labels, how to prepare demos and more.

Saeed Younan – a 30 year veteran in the industry who has been named one of the Top 100 DJ’s in the industry, runs his own label, has produced heaps of well known music and performed at some of the best festivals in the world has a lot to share. He will focus on marketing yourself as an artist in social media, public relations and more.

Last but not least, we have myself, DJ Neekola – I’ve been in the industry for 15 years performing, producing music, creating characters and building companies around the event industry. My talk will focus on how the new generation of up-and-coming music producers can create music with an impact to change the world for the better using positive lyrics, chord progressions and frequencies in their productions.

“I’m super excited to pass on my knowledge and connect with mentees at Beat Retreat. I’m hoping my 30 years in the business will shed some light on the obstacles and hurdles that can be avoided.” – Saeed Younan, DJ + Producer 

Beat Retreat, Fall 2023 - Photo Credit: Angel Bracho

Beat Retreat is a 6 day all-inclusive music education experience in paradise. What else is on the agenda for the week? 

  • We engage in a variety of educational activities, while simultaneously fostering a sense of fun and community. Two meals are arranged in town on the beach, providing opportunities to acquaint ourselves with each other and explore Cabarete. 
  • We’ll head to the Inspire DR after-school program, participants will connect with local emerging DJs and producers. 
  • Guest speaker Manuel Salazar, a 30 year military veteran and clinical worker specialized in healing arts and trauma will lead discussions on navigating boundaries, self-care, and mental health in the music industry. A beach group meditation will also be part of the session.
  • Optional excursions include surfing lessons, kite surfing, trapeze and/or aerial silk lessons, artist photo shoots, and additional recording studio time.
  • Collaborative activities include scheduled one-on-one mentorship sessions, a collaborative studio session, two mixing studios for independent or joint work, and an exciting catamaran party where one fortunate participant will have the opportunity to DJ alongside all the mentors on the boat.

As an artist and entrepreneur yourself in the entertainment industry, what are you hoping the participants will walk away with post-Beat Retreat?

Pursuing a career as a DJ or music producer can feel overwhelming and lonely. The biggest thing I want to see happen here is that the artists walk away with a new sense of confidence to be able to pursue their dreams in this industry due to the knowledge, and most importantly the community and connections they’ve built during this experience.  

Giving back to the local community is always so meaningful and fulfilling. Can you tell us how Beat Retreat is involved with the non-for-profit InspireDR?

Since the pandemic, I’ve collaborated with Inspire DR to establish a DJ and music production program for kids after school. The program has been successful, cultivating a group of aspiring young DJs eager to pursue music careers.

To enhance the program, I’ve engaged one mentor at a time, a professional in the music production world, by offering accommodations at my bed and breakfast in exchange for teaching a class or seeking equipment donations. This connection allows the youth to meet international professionals, fostering inspiration and support beyond their community. Now that I have a group of professionals coming to the DR, it’s more opportunity for the kids to make connections, get inspired and meet professionals! 

The impact is evident. Our last retreat, Julian Castenada, the founder of WAYU records, was so inspired that he decided to contribute a compilation album featuring work from Beat Retreat participants. All proceeds from the album will directly benefit the school, showcasing the positive outcomes when everyone comes together.

Beat Retreat offers a sense of community for all participants. Will the community of Beat Retreat continue afterwards? What can be expected post-retreat?

The sense of community is the best souvenier you’ll carry from the retreat – even more valuable than the Beat Retreat gift bags! Participants and mentors alike can maintain ongoing support through exclusive groups designated for Beat Retreat participants. We’re also capturing mentor discussions for access on our Beat Retreat portal, exclusively available to participants for convenient recaps. Additionally, our DJ sets are recorded and shared on Soundcloud to promote artists, while fostering mutual support on social media.

Our most recent retreat is still going strong with collaborations for the WAYU compilation, constructive song feedback, joint promotion efforts, event bookings, and more. With each successive retreat, this supportive community grows larger. So, why not join now and seize the opportunity to be part of this expanding network in the intimate setting of our retreats?

If you’re an aspiring DJ/Producer APPLY for the Beat Retreat Spring edition! 

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