What Roam is has a lot to do with when Roam is. First, the what. It’s a serial dance party thrown by three D.C. DJs — Chris Nitti, Morgan Tepper (who performs as DJ Lisa Frank) and Sami Yenigun (who occasionally contributes to The Washington Post) — who wanted to experiment outside of the city’s nightlife grid. So they started spinning techno tunes in jampacked rowhouses and eventually graduated to more spacious warehouses where they could accommodate bigger crowds, louder speakers and more DJs. Because the party never had a fixed address, they named it Roam.


The crowd at Roam, a recurring after-hours rave that changes locations in Washington. (Kill The Lights Photography)

When is Roam? So late, it’s early. The music might begin around 9 p.m., but it percolates deep into the night, all the way past sunrise. It’s also relatively hush-hush — organizers email ticket-buyers the address of the venue the day of the party. In other words, you can’t just stumble in off the street. Attendance requires curiosity, faith, commitment and stamina — the very stuff that allows Nitti, Tepper and Yenigun to make these gatherings happen in the first place. The symmetry isn’t lost on them. They call their crowd a “community,” and they want everyone on their dance floor to feel safe, equal and free — club-culture values being celebrated outside of the club.

“Dance music started with people coming together: gay people, minorities, everybody who didn’t feel like they had a place,” Tepper says. “So they came together to make that place. We can’t lose sight of that. [Roam] is about providing an escape in a safe environment for people to express themselves and be themselves.”

Chris Richards

Show: Saturday at 9 p.m. at an undisclosed warehouse in Northeast D.C. For information the day of the event, email roaming.dc@gmail.com. For tickets, visit bit.do/ROAMXII. $20 in advance, $25-$30 at the door.