Everything is there for the mix of music and cocktails, and the rest is also very well prepared. If the evening is still a flop, either the drinks will not be enough, or the guests will leave, and those who stay will dry up on the spot. So: you have to be careful about certain things, especially at large parties, such as round birthdays or graduation ceremonies. What we have to be careful about is what the expert I interviewed will explain in a moment. Silvio Müller has been organising parties in Berlin and Brandenburg for more than 15 years, including in the famous “Tresor” club. Some Partysan parties are of course also part of it. Silvio is also the editor of this official organ of the festival and also owns two renowned Berlin labels.
Now, the questions:
Professional evenings obviously do not play in the same court as private evenings. Even so: on some occasions, a crowd of people gather, or at least that’s what’s planned. You can surely give us some advice from your daily life as a professional organizer.
Certainly! Whether it is a private party or a mega-event, in many cases, the course of a successful evening remains the same. We send invitations, prepare the appropriate place, buy drinks, take care of the sound system and DJs. The differences can be seen in the details. And that is where the difficulty lies. A lot of people have hasty parties. You already have to be a small organizational genius, know the market inside out and cushion the financial risk. It is always wise to make an orderly calculation, as well as to aim for a realistic goal.
Let’s start with the preparation: how far in advance do you think we should start preparing for the evening?
It depends completely on the size of the evening. Huge raves require a good year of preparation. Club events, smaller, up to 6 months. Spontaneous private parties, or spontaneous outdoor parties, can be set up in 48 hours. However, most evenings are organized in clubs. If you want to book a good DJ, you need to send him a request in time, and if possible, look in advance for cheap flights/transportation and accommodation. However, before we begin, we must calculate the costs. And this calculation must be done well before the preparations begin.
Concerning the place, what should we pay attention to?
Most of the locations are offered according to the classic entry/bar deal. The organiser collects the receipts from the entrance fee and the club owner the receipts from the bar. The place must have a good reputation and be able to prove the existence of a brand clientele among regular customers. But today, the more people who are used to a place, the less willing it is to give the organiser the receipts from the entrance or bar. If, in addition to the known places, a place has been found that has not yet been exploited, it is up to the organiser to ensure that attention is drawn to “the new kid”. This means more work, but it can also pay off more because the event attracts more guests’ curiosity. Equally important is the location of the venue and the means of getting there; after all, guests should be able to arrive at the event without difficulty and know how to get back. Once the appropriate venue has been found, contracts are signed and a date for the evening is set. The costs of rental, security, sound and light, GEMA (German copyright management company) and cleaning are fixed in writing. The length of the evening always depends on the guests and of course also on the music class. Electro evenings require a high-performance sound system. Without the “boom boom”, nothing is going well, and the evening can end very quickly. The same applies to the lighting system. A good place has both from the beginning. This includes standard DJ equipment such as a mixer, CD player and turntables. If you want to rent a good audio installation in addition, you must be very careful about the costs involved and seek professional advice.
How to find the right DJ when you don’t necessarily have a long arm? How much does it cost?
You’re already going the wrong way. When you don’t know many people, you shouldn’t start planning a party. It is better not only to have your favourite titles and artists in mind, but also to look elsewhere and get an idea of where the market is going. Artists come and go and few succeed in establishing a solid place for themselves on the music scene. The costs are in line with this. If a DJ is renowned and very popular all over the world, he will demand several thousand euros. In addition, there are travel, booking and accommodation costs. But there are also many good local artists. It is just necessary to ensure that they do not occur too often and/or to observe how they evolve.
From when and in what form should invitations be issued, what would be too early, what would be too late?
A good advertising campaign is launched on average 4 to 8 weeks in advance, even if some evenings attract the public by creating a surprise effect: the organizers do not advertise and only announce the event 24 hours in advance. Again, depending on the target audience, there are several options that are best considered. In many cases, different media are used: leaflets, posters, advertisements in music magazines, newsletters sent to a mailing list and event announcements on various online portals. What counts is the motif and a slogan adapted to the evening. For new places, it is better to provide an itinerary as well. Many also use the many social networking portals such as Facebook or myspace.
And during the evening itself: what kind of drinks should be offered, what budget should be allocated per person? At what price to set the drinks if you want to prevent guests from being dismayed….
I’ve already attended parties where all the drinks were sold in no time. The guests were unhappy and continued their evening elsewhere. If you have to replenish at the nearest petrol station, the bill can rise very quickly. The turnover of drinks is one of the main recipes for each evening, it is an element to which we must pay particular attention. It is necessary to order consignment goods from the supplier and it is better to order too much than too little. Everyone must first gain experience to know which drinks are selling best. It is also necessary to pay attention to the purchase price. In this area, there are significant price differences.
What should I pay attention to when it comes to decoration and lighting?
For that too, it depends on the person observing. Whatever the evening, a lighting installation is essential. You have parties that rely on the stroboscope and the fog, it also depends on the music and style. Others are looking to make their products even more chic and are investing in an expensive LED installation. For decoration techniques, you can never do too much. But the result must be adapted: to the club, the slogan and the expected guests.
Where should the dance floor be located and how to manage the volume?
For this reason too, you have several variants. The place of the dance floor, if it is not already fixed, depends on the layout of the place. If the track is already there and the sound system is already installed, it is better to ask a sound technician to measure the volume to produce an optimal sound. He is able to adjust the levels according to the decibels authorized by law. What is important is that the inhabitants of the neighbourhood are not disturbed. It can also make you miss an evening. It may be advisable to agree with the local police. Finally, the guests come to enjoy good sound, nice people and great music, to feel good and dance, and then go to bed with a smile on their face. Organizing a party is not child’s play and it is better to leave it to the professionals.
That’s it! That’s it! And if you want a night party, there are some every weekend in Berlin in no less than 60 clubs and other places every day.