Being a DJ has become such a routine aspect of Blake Ward’s life that he can’t pinpoint the exact moment he began doing it. The 31-year-old is an established staple in Dallas’ dance music scene. His schedule is packed, but since March, he has primarily served as the regular DJ at the Stoneleigh Hotel.
Ward’s weekly schedule includes Thursday nights at East Dallas’ Lounge Here and Friday free yoga nights at the Stoneleigh pool followed by night swims. Saturdays and Sundays are for daytime pool parties, followed by Saturday nights at Beauty Bar and Sunday nights at Double Wide on Commerce Street. He says his pool parties can draw crowds of 300 to 400 people, and his ticketed penthouse parties that cap at 250 are guaranteed to sell out.
Ward has worked as a DJ in Dallas for about seven years, and the Stoneleigh holds a special place in his heart.
“The thing that I like about the Stoneleigh is that it’s different than Deep Ellum, but it still sort of has the inclusive vibes of Deep Ellum,” Ward says. “It’s luxury for everyone. We want everyone to feel included, and we want everyone to feel like they can come there. … We really pride ourselves on being the kind of place where everyone’s supposed to go.”
The lifelong music enthusiast found himself isolated during his time as an undergrad at the University of Oklahoma, which ultimately led him to establish friendships with those interested in electronic music up the road in Oklahoma City.
“I met all these people in Oklahoma City who were DJs and really enjoyed it,” Ward says. “They gave me a chance to start opening up for them, and I paid my dues there.”
Ward got his residency at Beauty Bar, called Glamorama, shortly after arriving in Dallas.
“Beauty Bar is really eclectic in that it’s a dance music party, and it’s always a dance party and there’s seriously never been a week when it was bad,” Ward says. “I basically play whatever I want. It’s the one place I get to play exactly what I want, and if nobody wants to hear it, there’s a neon sign that says ‘no requests’ above me, so that’s their problem.”
Beauty Bar is about to face some changes. The venue is making the move to Deep Ellum, next door to Stirr Restaurant and Bar, and Glamorama is going with it. While Ward cannot disclose some of the logistics behind the change in location, it’s evident that he plans to make the most out of the shakeup.
“It’s gonna be bigger and better, and it’ll be fun and we aren’t gonna change,” Ward says. “Beauty Bar is gonna stay the same. All of the people who play there are going to play the same thing.”
Plus, he can't complain about getting a coveted Saturday night time slot in Deep Ellum.
Although Ward says being a DJ is his top priority, he manages some others in the area, and he has started a social media community called Curate Dallas that promotes his peers in DFW’s arts scene. He says he also has record releases in the works and anticipates more growth in his Stoneleigh parties.
“I kind of consider myself a promoter more than I consider myself a DJ,” Ward says.
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