title taken from "Everyday is Carnival" by KUTTiT
10 Things Promoters Got Right This Weekend
I was so ready for this weekend to be horrible. With all of the parties that were cancelled and shut down last year, I was prepared for multiple "Due to circumstances beyond our control" posts. Surprisingly, this was not the case. I saw very few cancellations and they were mostly due to the storm that never came. In fact, I had a lot of fun at the events I attended. Therefore, I decided to blog about what my fellow party goers said worked well and what they want to see promoters do more often.
1. POST A LOCATION
We are running around all over town Labor Day weekend and we need to plan accordingly. There are also some places that we don't want to go to (Tropical Paradise aka The Sweat Box). Secure your location so that your patrons know where they are going and can include your event in their fete list.
2. OVERESTIMATE TURNOUT
Lots of folks buy last minute tickets during a party weekend because they meet people and plans change. Don't end up on Instagram with people bashing your brand.
3. GET PEOPLE IN AND OUT QUICKLY
If you expect a big crowd, make sure the venue has a good security process to get your customers in and out quickly and safely. Trust me, only promoters like seeing a long line and your patrons know you're stunting for other promoters.
4. check the other events happening that night
There were about ten parties on Thursday night including Angela Hunte's first solo New York show, Shorblu's VICE, and Ransom, but there were only a few on Friday night. Keep track of what else is happening. I ran into folks I hadn't seen in a while at LOUD on Wednesday. This was one of the few outdoor parties happening that night and Caribbean Quiet Events managed to book great deejays like DJ Big Reef.
5. DRINK TICKETS
Most of the congestion at the bar happens because bartenders are dealing with making drinks and counting cash. Drink tickets can help with this. King Swady did this at I Am Soca and it kept the bar moving. To simplify this further, I recommend a "mixed drink" ticket, a "chaser only" ticket, and a "hard liquor bottle" ticket. Also, make sure you staff your bar with seasoned bartenders. I've actually gone to an event where the bartender didn't know what a Jack & Coke was. True story.
6. SPEND YOUR MONEY
Book the best artistes, deejays, riddim sections, photographers/videographers! Too many promoters pay attention to the money they make with ticket sales and don't think about their brand reputation. Give your customers a memorable experience so that they become loyal to your brand. Soca Brainwash sells out because people tell other people about their experiences. I event met women on the Super Soca Cruise who represented so hard for I Am Soca that I thought they were actually on King Swady's team. That's brand loyalty!
7. BOOK KEVIN CROWN!
Disclaimer: Kevin Crown and I are not close friends, we are not related, and I'm sure he wouldn't be able to pick me out of a lineup so this is not a "that's my boy" mention.
I have seen him give the same energy to a party with 3 people (not an exaggeration) as he gave to a party with 3,000. He plays everything. The man got the Float Boatride hype with gospel. I love DJ Private Ryan, but Brooklyn has its own most versatile deejay.
8.SHOWTIME IS SHOWTIME
Don't make people wait all night to see artistes. While the medley at Ransom was great, many people only saw the recap because they left by the time the show actually started. It's not fair to the crowd or to the artistes to have lights coming on, music cutting off, or people tired when they perform.
9. THINGS GO WRONG. OWN IT
Despite your best efforts, things can still go wrong. Be honest and don't tell us it's not your fault. Customers really don't care. Release a statement immediately about how you intend to make it up to your patrons. This is why I support certain promoters/deejays. They have integrity and care about their reputations.
10. INVITE BLOGGERS
This is a bit self-serving, but it's the truth. We are sort of your secret shoppers. We are in the crowd and we see what they see. Plus, we work hard to create living marketing material that you can use to promote your next event.
Hopefully the party weekend continues to improve. I know many people who opted to leave New York for the weekend or simply skip the festivities because they say it's no longer worth the money. This really saddens me. This is our time to showcase our culture. Let's make the most of it!
As for the parade and j'ouvert... well, that's going to have to be another post. No really, stay tuned.