Monday, January 16, 2012

Piazza NYE Party, from my perspective.

Piazza Party People Partying Properly


Brains of NYE, Brian Nagele, Sofia & Jen
Happy MLK day y'all and Happy New Year too. I had to start my blogging year with my own personal recap of New Years at the Piazza. I'll try to give some insight on what it took to produce this extremely successful event. Ever since the Piazza opened I have viewed it as a very viable large event venue and had looked forward to someday being involved with something big, cool, fun and profitable there. Piazza management wisely turned the event over to four of the anchor restaurants at the Piazza to promote and produce the event. I was lucky enough to be hired to coordinate food & beverage service in the 20,000+ square foot tent. The owners of King's Oak, PYT, Raw and Gunner's Run were the event promoters/producers, and their diverse talents, connections and staff was a huge contributing factor to the event's success. This was truly an all-star team of event and hospitality professionals, but to succeed the team is more important than the individuals, and with six weeks from green light to doors open there was dozens of compromises and consensus that needed to be reached to keep moving forward.

One of the first major hurdles to producing the event was getting the tenting from concept to budget to finalization and the gang at Event-Quip was extremely professional and worked with us as a true partner. Alan Pavlik, you are the man; never a train wreck when your team is on the job! Many on the production team wondered why a tent was so expensive until they saw the dozens of 3000 pound concrete weights trucked in and meticulously positioned for a whole day of set up on the Wednesday prior to NYE Saturday. 
Pitchin' a half acre tent ain't easy, unless you are Event-Quip!

3500 Guests need lots of lubricant to ring in the New Year!
Many other challenges and decisions were hashed out in  a fairly democratic and collaborative fashion. How much vodka? What kind? How much Brugal rum (yum)? How many BTUs of heat would be needed, based on the unexpected warmth? What menu items should each restaurant produce? How much would people really eat at an event where everybody seems determined to drink their money's worth? How big should the main bar be? Where do we get lounge furniture at our budgeted amount? How did we decide all this stuff? Lots of experience. A decent amount of research. Twice weekly meetings. Compromise, compromise, compromise. Many thanks to our first year sponsors: Red Bull, Svedka Vodka, Origlio Beverages, and my favorite Brugal Rum. It's tough in this economic climate to step up and commit to sponsoring a first year event, and these market leaders reaped great benefits from their involvement.
Steanmroller Picnic and Jewelz Dancers

The paying "talent" was as impressive as the paid talent!
The entertainment was stellar: from all the DJs who played in each of the restaurants and the tent, to Steamroller Picnic, the headliner to the dancers from Jewelz who added a sultry edge to the evening. One beef I often have with NYE parties is not getting the countdown right. We had a pre-arranged solution for that, we followed Dick Clark's Time Square Ball on the Piazza's huge video screen, 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 Happy New Year!!!                                                   

From sliders and fries to sushi and champagne. 
Soon it was time for clean up and recap of what we did right and wrong to better plan for next year's bigger and better NYE at The Piazza. As most who know me are aware, I don't do something like this for one shot only. A good deal of my motivation for this event was to build for the future, not just NYE and large ticketed events, but to help show off the Piazza as a venue for private corporate, social and fundraising events. That is a major reason why I am writing this blog today. If you are an event planner, and you want to bring your clients something new and VERY special, call, text, email, or Facebook me. I can help you make your next major event happen at The Piazza, in the heart of Northern Liberties the hippest neighborhood in Philly.

Thanks for reading,
Harry