Doorly's Guide To Throwing The Best Pop Up Rave
Since the day I got into music I’ve always enjoyed creating, curating and throwing my own events, it’s become a very large part of my career and something I’ll never stop doing no matter how busy I get!
My first were warehouse parties in my old home town of Huddersfield and in the last 20 years of my career I’ve done it in pretty much every corner of the globe from programming huge festival stages to to hosting my own label parties at the worlds most renowned clubs such as fabric, MOS, Sound (Los Angeles), Electric Pickle (Miami) to name a few highlights, plus of course in Ibiza at the legendary Space, Mambo & Pikes!
But nothing beats the intimacy of throwing a free last minute pop up rave in an extraordinary location and it’s something over the last couple of years I’ve really been enjoying having fun with.
Here’s some tips on how to throw your own pop up rave in six easy steps!
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1. Location, Location, Location!
Throwing a great and memorable party is about heightening all the senses of your crowd to create the most euphoric atmosphere. So pick somewhere really interesting, and ideally not used before to make it a truly once in a lifetime experience for those lucky enough to attend.
We’ve done some ridiculous stuff from hiring out loads of jet skis and creating a jet ski rave in the middle of the sea, a party in a nude sauna at Snowbombing, a medieval castle for 100 invites in the north of England, and a one-man working mens club in Marsden (where they film League Of Gentlemen) to name a few.
It’s all about finding that place that’s going to either make people chuckle or engulf your senses and lower peoples inhibitions.
2. Add people
This is very important, the mix of people you invite and involve in your pop up can make or break it. First you need some DJ’s! Likeminded easy going DJ’s who, like you, are up for an adventure!
At Snowbombing last year I was joined by the lovely Mall Grab whilst we took over the working kitchen at the main hotel in town (the Strass) because all the best parties are in the kitchen right! The chefs and waiters loved it! On the AMF Friendship cruise we ran a competition and asked the winners who their fave artist on the cruise line up was , they said Rufus du Sol and we granted their wish and threw them a cabin party! A two-birth cabin and about 40 sardine rave!
Don't forget you need to select some equally fun, positive, easy going peeps to come to the party. Ask everybody to contribute, whether that’s bringing some beers or lights or whatever and make sure that everyone knows to clean up after themselves - leave no trace!
Obviously each different location has different needs depending if there’s power, space available etc. For general ease and as an all round solution I always take one or two of my trusty Soundboks speakers as they are a great sounding Full PA speakers run on battery with bluetooth connectivity and are even water (booze) proof! For DJ equipment I love the Pioneer DJ Wego controller - it’s very portable and you can DJ very well using iTunes playlists on your phone or iPad using any number of apps (I like the “DJay Pro app by Algoriddim”).
Using this stuff you can add a decent battery pack such as the Lemur and you can do a party anywhere with no power for all day and night. Or of course you can use a laptop or any number of DJ apps on your devices as well.
Or if you’re less organised or skint and it’s a small room then stick your phone in a pint glass and play some YouTube bangers!
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If there’s a way to ask permission for the location you have chosen then it’s always best to go down that route. Yeah illegal raves are fun and old school but nothing sucks more than it being closed down just as you’re really getting going and then potentially landing yourself in trouble to boot.
Last summer we did a series where we took the pop up parties into the work places of people in ibiza who really felt like they needed a little dance and they had been working seven days a week all season watching everyone else have fun. So we arrived with our sound system, plus a pop up cocktail bar and gave a little break to the staff at a nail salon, an Irish bar (where I took over on the bar whilst they partied), and a vegan kitchen where I made lots of hummus and washed up in-between tracks and those parties were some of my most memorable!
Of course permission isn’t always an option but again, be respectful of your surroundings, don’t take the piss with the volume and as long as you’re not disturbing anyone then you should be fine. There’s certainly enough places on this fine planet where you can have fun without that being at the expense of others peace and quiet.
You don’t want your party to be dry or all that effort will be wasted! So grab lots of ice, enough booze for you plus extra so hopefully you won’t run dry, and bin bags to clear up. Also if it’s a bit bigger bash and worth it, look for a local pop up bar supplier to see if they would like to come along and get involved. The crowd won’t mind paying for their drinks with that kind of service! We threw a pop up with 50 strong crew in an abandoned outdoor theatre in Ibiza and got bar service from Taste of Ibiza.
6. Be safe
Don’t pick anywhere unsafe, look after each other, and if you’re running the party try not to get too loose yourself incase something goes wrong! Don't forget water.
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Catch Doorly at this year's Snowbombing 2019 (April 8th - 13th).
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