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Party Planners Work Hard So We Can Play Harder

It takes a lot of work to get the party started. Saxon / Flickr

It takes a lot of work to get the party started. Saxon / Flickr

When we think of the one thing that drives our student body and keeps people going through the week, we all think of the same thing going out! However, nobody really knows the preparation that goes into our nights. What exactly do these entertainment groups go through, which inevitably leads to students drunkenly singing along to “All the Way Live” at 1 a.m.?

So, to get in contact with one of these companies, I replied to one of the Facebook messages from “Edge Entertainment” we get all the time to see what I could learn. I knew I had to speak their language for the message to be effective, so it looked something like this, “For this week only YOU could be part of a Minaret article! Last week’s story had a staggering 850 words, and with your help, we could get it all the way up to 1,000! You don’t want to be that guy hearing about how great the Minaret was from all your friends and knowing you could’ve been in it! P.S. Ladies get in free all night!” I figured that last part would to get them to respond.

Soon enough, I got a reply from the CEO (impressive title) of Edge Entertainment, Cameron Fulks. Willing to inform me on the world of “entertainment companies” Cameron said, “There really is a good amount of preparation that goes into each of these events that people don’t know about. A lot of people think we just sit on Facebook all day and send out messages.” (Ironically said through Facebook chat.)

After meeting Cameron face to face I was actually surprised to learn how much time is spent bringing these events together. There are numerous meetings with staff to discuss: how business is going; meetings with bar and club owners to work out contracts to do business with them on certain nights; projections of whether or not an event could be worth running at the risk of losing a profit; figuring how much security should be hired for each night; how the club/bar will be set up; developments of charity events; and evaluations the next day of how the previous nights events went! Who knew there was such a legitimate business behind the gathering of 1,000 drunken college students every weekend?

First off, to bring an event together, deciding where the event will be held is a big factor. The decision is based on how convenient the location is for students, if it’s in a nice area of Tampa, and the relationship between the Entertainment Company and the owner can decide what spot is picked for what day of the week. For example, if an event was being held at some sketchy bar named “The Consent Basement” in Ybor, most likely nobody would show up (I might). However, by hosting an event at “The Kennedy” obviously more people will show up. In fact, if you want to go out any night Tuesday through Saturday, Edge runs an event on every one of those nights, including venues such as Hyde Park Café, Cheap, The Kennedy, Latitudes (the former Aundreychuck’s) and The Hut.

Cameron went on to stress that a huge part of his job was “keeping people happy” by making sure everybody’s satisfied with their experience and being treated right. To give me a better picture of what exactly he meant he gave me the example, “Imagine you’re running the door at a club, and four Bucs players show up and want to get in immediately, but there’s 150 already waiting in the general line. How would you deal with that situation to try to keep everyone happy?” Don’t let the Bucs players in until they can score a point against the Giants? (So never.)

Cameron even gives out his personal number through all his messages and responds to anybody who calls or texts. While talking to him, I’ve never seen anyone get more text messages in my life related to their work. The only thing I could compare it to would be a surgeon getting pages from the hospital, except instead of something like, “Head trauma in the ER.” It’s more like, “YO CAM CAN I GET ON FREE GUESTLIST? THX BRO!” (All caps = serious business) “I’ll probably end up with arthritis through all the texting I do,” Cameron said.

Besides keeping people happy, a big part of the success of an entertainment company is through getting the company name out there and the promotion of the event is beforehand. It’s a unique business in the aspect that it has the same structure as any other legitimate business, but the promotion side is unlike anything else. Like you’ll never see an ad for a law firm stating, “The first 25 clients to call Friday night get free legal service!”  And as annoying as those Facebook messages may be, the fact is they’re effective. The same kids talking about how stupid they are are always the ones who end up coming out.

“Dude did you get that Facebook message about The Hut tonight? God I’m so tired of those, seriously every day it’s getting so annoying!”

“I know what you mean man, when are they just going to leave us alone, so any idea what you want to do tonight?”
“I heard The Hut was going to be fun tonight, want to go?”
“Yea sounds awesome!” (High five, bro hug)

So through everything that these entertainment companies to do plan for one night of your weekend, nobody ever realizes the amount of time and detail that went into the night. All those velvet ropes and fences set up to structure a line are manually set up hours beforehand, just so you can step over them to cut in line with your friends. Now every time you go out you know that numerous staff meetings, negotiations with owners and hours of setting up the club went into the production of one event, just for you to wake up the next day thinking, “What the hell did I do last night?”

John Jacobs can be reached at jjacobs@ut.edu.

2 Comments on Party Planners Work Hard So We Can Play Harder

  1. Incredible story John, hopefully everyone will now see what goes into the making of an event… Keep up the good work

    Like

  2. Baby Chester // October 17, 2009 at 1:46 pm //

    hey uhh…just me Isaac again. Wait so like…What is this?

    Like

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