Top British DJ Paul Oakenfold braved thinning air and freezing temperatures to host the “highest party on earth” at Everest base camp today, playing to around 100 climbers — all in full mountain gear. The 53-year-old artist, who trekked for 10 days to reach base camp, mixed his beats on a makeshift stone stage set against the spectacular backdrop of the world’s highest mountains. With brightly coloured Tibetan prayer flags fluttering overhead, climbers and trekkers danced as best they could in their heavy hiking boots and thick down jackets. “It was truly amazing. I feel very lucky to have played here. We did a wonderful event and had people from all over the world. I feel very blessed,” Oakenfold told AFP by phone from base camp after the performance.
Base camp lies at an altitude of 5,380 metres (17,600 feet), and around 100 climbers and trekkers were there for the gig. “It was pretty cool. I’ve been here many years but never seen anything like that,” 38-year-old American climber Ben Jones told AFP by phone.
The number of trekkers at the camp will swell in the coming weeks as the climbing season gets into full swing.
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Hundreds of climbers spend weeks acclimatising to the altitude before attempting to reach the summit during the brief spring window when the weather is at its best.
It was a dramatic departure for Oakenfold, who admitted he was more used to playing at the world’s top clubs and the beaches of Ibiza and Goa than the mountains of Nepal.
Oakenfold, who had never trekked before, trained for four months before arriving in Nepal, fitting it in between a hectic schedule of late night gigs. “I’m not going to pretend it was easy to get here…but it has been a wonderful trek. If you could see the view I’m looking at, it is very inspiring,” he told AFP yesterday.
The gig is the first in the record producer’s SoundTrek series, aimed at drawing attention to the effects of global warming and raising money for charities.
Oakenfold, whose three-decade-long career has included collaborations with Madonna and U2, is also raising funds to help survivors of Nepal’s devastating 2015 earthquake, which killed nearly 9,000 people and left thousands homeless. “I want to support in the rebuilding and to shed light on the environment…I would like to do my bit,” he said.