IN the deep and darkest days of the COVID pandemic when we couldn't barely leave our house, little alone dance in a nightclub, Newcastle DJ George Petridis kept the party alive.
Every Thursday at 5pm his dance music radio show, The Party Life, aired across the Raw FM network along the eastern seaboard, showcasing the freshest beats from around Australia and the world.
"For me and Newcastle, we suffered a fair bit, the dance community," Petridis, also known as DJ Fuel, says.
"The one thing that stayed consistent for me was going through my music promos, finding good music. People were still putting new music out.
"With my label [Pumping Records] we only really started in the midst of the pandemic. We thought this could be like this forever, so we got to work and put music out and considered that the new norm.
"With the radio show it was the same thing. It was consistent and still needed something to work towards even though there were no club gigs."
Petridis' The Party Life, not only survived, it thrived. So much so that next week Raw FM will broadcast the 500th episode.
The Party Life began in 2011 on the University of Newcastle's 2NURFM where the electronic dance show ran side-by-side with Catherine's Britt's Alternate Country.
"When I first started, I didn't think I'd get to that ," Petridis says.
"When I first started I did 001 and 002, naming episodes like that thinking I might make 100, and here I am with 500."
In 2015 The Party Life switched to Raw FM 88.0 where it broadcasts to 22 locations across the ACT, NSW and Victoria. Petridis has recently become Raw FM music director.
During that run Petridis has previewed music from the likes of Pete Tong, Armin van Buuren, David Guetta, Timmy Trumpet, Will Sparks and The Chainsmokers.
"The whole idea of the show to begin with was to actually have a platform for us DJs and producers in Newcastle to be heard," he says. "There were no radio stations to have their stuff heard.
"Even the dance stations, they pick and choose the bigger artists, so with my show I said, 'If nobody is gonna play my music, I'm going to have a radio show to help other artists around Newcastle and Australia'."
Not surprisingly, Petridis has big plans to celebrate The Party Life's 500.
On Saturday the King Street Hotel will host a live episode featuring performances from "Australia's godfather of dance music" Nicky Skitz, Sydney's Daniel Tonik and Newcastle's Sabro and Shiralee Coleman, who are both signed to Petridis' Pumping Records label.
The live performances will feature on The Party Life's 500th episode next Thursday.
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