A-WAKE: Social Memorial Play from DJ Decks

Plant an acorn and be the seed that grows love in your world

DJ Pumpkin, AKA Nick Alvarado as honored in Los Angeles. Similar memorial events have been happening in many cities since his passing on Easter Weekend.
Origami cranes, candles, photos, art and memorial items honor Nick on the DJ booth altar

This is a story of a community that joins together to dance, play, flow and beam love across the planet. This is also a memorial to one of our favorite artists, a clown who chose to share love through music, performance and creating festival experiences.

When a beloved DJ dies, it ripples through us

Musicians, MCs & DJs are modern priests of the new dance floor church, sharing the flow of elevated collective consciousness. Deacons drop the beat, doling it out across dusty floors around the world as we move to the rhythm they give us.

When DJ Pumpkin died on his way to a festival in Texas, his communities from around the world began gathering to listen to his music.

Community altar lighting candles to the altering spirit of Nick the Neck, DJ Pumpkin

A DJ to Fall in Love to

Much in the way Bowie brought people together through icons of rebel nature and embracing the inner rockstar evolving within us, Nicholas Alvarado (DJ Pumpkin, or Nick the Neck as he was known to the house clowns) had a way of elevating our kindest nature together. He beamed love in music mixes. He gave himself to his acorns, his fans around the world who shared those songs at every house party in town.

At Nick’s Memorial A-WAKE in Los Angeles his friends danced to his music for a day. Similar events and dance parties bring old friends back together to honor fallen friends
Nick played for tens of thousands and passed at the peak of his career, doing what he loved
Thousands of guests came to the memorial and left notes for Nick and Chance’s families

Now Nick and his ally Chance are gone and our community of dance floor friends, cirque berzerk performers and shy geeks who love a good groove has grown up to be parents and even grandparents, still gathering to listen to EDM created by a friend who curated his mixes to transmit love. Some of us met on his dance floors. 24,000 followers on Soundcloud on one page alone, thousands more from festivals and other networks who found his music through friends. He was 33 and found a way to bridge generations and space-time through music, mixing everything from the Muppets to the Mowglis. He made the soundtrack to our lives.

Art, music, dance and friends — dance floor community has a unique bond

I hope he was eating pickles & smiling at his eulogy in Billboard. He came a long way in the 10 years we knew each other as two shy people who love to dance to great music. His tango was on point. Very few people talked about his AMAZING hiphop album Little Giants with EVeryman. He was no Average Joe, weaving martial arts into his rap rhythm and flow.

In tribute for Nick and his lost driver Chance, from his lyrics to our hearts:

To our Soul Man,
In the First Union Church of House….You gave us a Brand New Key.
Sweetness, We Count to Ten and find you. HOME.
You made sunshine from clouds on the greyest of days…No Rain. The Dog Days are Done, Scrumpty Dumpty. Mna Mna!
Music Be the Movement, so Don’t You Quit!
Rest if you must…but don’t you quit.
One of Nick’s last shows, Envision Festival in Costa Rica in February of 2016, playing a special staff show

For now we keep the palo santo and incense lit, the candles bright and our hearts wide open, thanks to you Nick. The altar items have come home and the acorns are being planted with your people. Thanks for giving us a lifetime of songs to share with our families and friends, and thank you for being the quiet yet ever-present Jedi master of our dance floor church of the soul. Ladybinx at Lost in Sound said it best:

Both Pumpkin and his ‘Acorns,’ a.k.a. his friends and fans, expressed appreciation for one another by putting up their hands in the shape of a heart. His ‘spirit animal’ was a Muppet. We joked way too often about The Rugrats — his favorite characters were Phil and Lil. We were conspiring a top-secret plan to release an April Fool’s interview, chock full of silly antics and utter debauchery. Photos from festivals, shows, sunrises, and sunsets are surfacing rampantly on Facebook, capturing the essence of his vibrant soul. He recently posted on his Facebook page, “I was a clown, am a clown, and will always be a clown. “
A future without Pumpkin tangles my insides, but in the dimmest of lights there must be a reason. How can we spread Nick’s contagious magic? How can we continue this ripple of love through music? How can we be grateful for the impact he made on this world while accepting that he is no longer on this astral plane? What is our role as the community who supported him? While we can’t “eat an elephant in a single bite,” all of us Acorns must continue his mission as leaders of light and love….

Why the Acorn?

I invite you to embrace the symbol of the acorn, which can teach us all a lesson about our own potential. Acorns symbolize luck, prosperity, and growth. They represent youthfulness, strength, and stability. One little acorn can sprout into a giant oak tree and germinate an entire forest. Now Nick is the part of the oak tree we can no longer see, the roots that navigate underground as tall and wide as the tree itself. The roots of the oak tree are the foundation, the crucial system that grounds and provides stability.
Let us take this unfortunate life lesson to heart — be your own acorn. Find your potential and live every day to its fullest. Tell your friends you love them. Find strength in community and ask for help when you need it. Open up to vulnerability, and hold space for others to be vulnerable. Be brave enough to grieve and cry. Follow your dreams. Live with no regrets. Be present. Embrace your inner Muppet! Appreciate life as a blessed gift and don’t ever take it for granted. And never stop dancing.
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