Paul Oakenfold is a DJ with a purpose. There is a philanthropic component in many of his recent shows. His 2017 set at Mount Everest base camp benefited Himalayan Trust and Supporting Nepal’s Children, two efforts helping survivors of the 2015 Nepal earthquake.
Last September, he and fellow U.K. legend Carl Cox performed at Stonehenge to support English Heritage, the organization that manages historical sites in England. And in March, he headlined Special Olympics opening ceremonies in Abu Dhabi.
“Where I am now in my career, I’m really enjoying major challenges and supporting, helping and giving back,” Oakenfold tells the Observer. "With these unique shows, it all falls under that banner."
There are good ol’ fashioned paid festival gigs too — “Okie” plays this Saturday, Day 2 of the three-day Kaaboo Texas music, comedy and foodie festival at AT&T Stadium. His set will happen from 5:45 to 7 p.m. The festival also has dates in San Diego and on Grand Cayman in the Caribbean. Bush, Lionel Richie, Kid Rock and Alanis Morissette are also on the eclectic bill.
“I’m looking forward to playing at AT&T," he says. “I haven’t met Jerry Jones, but I heard this stadium is magnificent. Looking forward to seeing it as the Dallas Cowboys are an iconic football team. And I’ve looked at the lineup; I’d like to check out Sting, The Killers and Ms. Lauryn Hill.”
Dance music is nothing like the secret society Oakenfold helped shape in the early '80s. An underground culture then, today the scene rakes in more than $7 billion annually with sponsors, organization and investors. A young Paul Oakenfold would be surprised to learn where his humble DJ beginnings have arrived in 2019. Today he has a relationship with Bentley Motors and owns a tequila company.
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“Perfectomundo Tequila, in my opinion, is one of the best tequilas on the market," he says of his product. "We spent years working on the flavor and taste. It’s more of a sipping tequila. Try it, you may like it."
While the scene has changed, his purpose remains the same.
“I love seeing people happy from music,” he says. After all, dance music’s foundation is an organic sense of unity. Its origins were both unplanned and ideal — principles that continue through Oakenfold’s efforts to support the disadvantaged.
Now living in Los Angeles, this is Oakenfold’s second show in Dallas just this year. He rang in the new year on the decks at Lizard Lounge and calls “Big D” one of his favorite cities in America.