Tired of staying out dancing until the wee hours of the morning? Want to pregame the rest of your evening with catchy throwbacks? In Bed By Ten, a monthly early-night dance party event, is the answer for your summer weekends.

It all started in 2015 at Spirit in Lawrenceville. Originator and DJ Matthew Buchholz, 46, said that although he loved dance parties and he loved going out, events that started well after dark started to feel too late for him.

“There’s a lot of great dance parties and a lot of great events in Pittsburgh, but I just found myself kind of not feeling up to going to a lot of them, just with age and everything,” he said.

“There’s a special kind of magic that happens when it’s really late at night and you’re in that zone with a group of people, and that’s really great,” he said. “I’ve had those experiences and it’s a lot of fun, but I also think you get to a point where, if my dog is waking me up at 6 a.m. every day or your kids are getting you out of bed early, it’s nice to be able to have another option.”

From this, Buchholz had the idea to host a dance party that starts early enough so that attendees could be home to turn the lights off before double digits hit. 

This particular party philosophy began to make a name for itself throughout nightlife circles.

“It was something that I think really filled a need,” Buchholz said. “I think ours was one of the first in Pittsburgh that was monthly and really kind of touched a nerve with folks.”

He explained that the event welcomes folks of all ages and works for both people who want to get home early and people who will go on to other parties afterward.

“In Bed By Ten is not intended to replace or compete with any other dance parties,” he said. “I think that’s one of the strengths of it. We’re saying, ‘Hey, come out, do it early and then you got the rest of your night to decide what you want to do.’”

In addition to the early start time, In Bed By Ten’s philanthropy sets it apart from the rest of Pittsburgh’s club scene. Since its origination, each monthly event has raised money for a local charity. The collected cover charge plus a portion of the bar’s earnings all go to charity, Buchholz said.

Over the course of five years, more than $100,000 was raised for different, many local, charities. Some of these include the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Girls Rock! Pittsburgh, Planned Parenthood, Book ‘Em (now Pittsburgh Prison Book Project, Trans Buddy and the Latino Community Center

In Bed By Ten gives participants a chance to party earlier in the evening. Then they can go home or move on to other gatherings. (Nathan J Shaulis/ Porter Loves Photography)

But, like most things, the COVID-19 pandemic proved to be an obstacle for In Bed By Ten in 2020. The dance party’s last event at Spirit was hosted in February 2020. After that, Buchholz said he put on a handful of virtual events in addition to some summer outdoor events that allowed for social distancing and more efficient ventilation.

A June 9 event will be a homecoming for In Bed By Ten as it is the first held since the pandemic at its stomping grounds of Spirit in Lawrenceville. This month’s dance party will benefit 1Hood Media, the group that was originally slated for March 2020 before cancellation. 

Buchholz started the early night dance parties with Kelly Beall in 2015 before taking In Bed By Ten on full time himself. Now, Buchholz is handing over the reins as he begins to give his full focus to his main hustle, Alternate Histories, a shop located in Greenfield.

Spirit will begin to take over booking and DJ responsibilities following Buchholz’s transition.

“It’ll be the same event people know and people love,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of potential for the event to grow and become even better. I’m not giving it up. I’m just sort of taking a step back, and they’re holding on to it for me essentially.”

Maddy Lafferty has worked as Spirit’s talent buyer and director of programming for a little over three months. In that short time, she has seen “so many” inquiries from past attendees and staff regarding when In Bed By Ten is coming back.

Because Spirit’s mission directly aligns with the event — shining a light on local DJs, nonprofits and giving back to the community that they love so much — the people there are excited to take on the monthly early-evening dance parties, Lafferty said. 

“We plan to feature a rotating lineup of DJs and give back to our local community and organizations as Matt has done through this event and continues to do through his work and everyday life,” she said. “We couldn’t be more excited to add another avenue to support our community and carry out this special series.”

Buchholz said he hopes In Bed By Ten will return with its all-year-round programming and is excited to see other folks in this niche for themselves. 

“Since In Bed By Ten started, people really liked it,” he explained. “They really got the concept. It was an easy grasp — the name communicates what it is, and that’s an easy sell.”

In Bed By Ten hosts a number of guest DJs, but Buchholz said he usually plays a mix of ’70s funk, ’80s pop, ’90s R&B and 2000s pop — essentially music that everybody can boogie to. While attendees tend to be in the their 30s, 40s and 50s, different DJs bring out their own fans.

Most of the event’s advertising takes place via social media and friends talking to friends.

“I think Pittsburgh has been and I think still is a word-of-mouth town, and if you are lucky enough to kind of break through the noise and get it on people’s radar, a lot of folks just talking and sharing and talking about the event will do that promotion work for you, and I’m very fortunate to be that recipient of that,” Buchholz said.

“Music and dancing is something that fills everyone’s souls,” Lafferty said. “It doesn’t matter the age range or demographic, people love a good party.”

There is a $10 cover fee for the next In Bed by Ten — from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at Spirit in Lawrenceville — and a portion of all proceeds will go to 1Hood Media.

Hannah is a reporter at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but she's currently on strike. Email her hwyman@unionprogress.com.

Hannah Wyman

Hannah is a reporter at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but she's currently on strike. Email her hwyman@unionprogress.com.