Article Title:The keys to Salvation
Author or Credit:Jacqui Stanford
Published on:15th August 2011 - 08:03 am
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Story ID:10725
Text:Marty Roberts More than eight years on from his first event, Salvation promoter Marty Roberts reflects on what drove him to start promoting gay dance parties in Auckland and what keeps him, his partner and the team driven to continue. The first ever Salvation party was held on 9 May, 2003, Roberts recalls. "There weren't many gay dance parties happening in Auckland at the time, and Michael (my partner) and I were despairing of this lack of entertainment over a coffee with DJ Donald Bennett one day, when we all came to the conclusion that running a good dance party couldn't be THAT hard … so we decided to give it a go! Famous last words!!" he says. "Michael had had lots of previous event management experience so there weren't too many dramas, but being very new to the industry it took a couple of months of hard work (and the odd grey hair) before the first Salvation party debuted at Bed nightclub on K'Rd." Roberts says Salvation was inspired by Sydney events like Frisky, as they didn't want it to be just another night at a club. "So we filled Bed with as many lasers as the budget could afford and Donald and I DJ'd, playing all the tracks that we'd seen going off at the Sydney dance parties. There was also a special guest performance from the ever-talented Buckwheat. Fortunately people seemed to appreciate our efforts and Bed was sold out. In fact, before we'd even had a chance to pack up after the first event people were asking us when the next one was going to happen." Since then the Salvation crew has run a variety of gay dance parties ranging in size from intimate 150-person parties like the early Phoenix parties in the Galatos Basement, through to the large scale, 1,500-person HERO parties at Auckland architectural icons like the Civic and the St James. Roberts says he and his partner have kept going because both really enjoy dance parties and over the years have found them to be a great way of meeting new people in a fun, safe, attitude-free environment. "We also like to have a party in the pipeline so there is something fun for people (including ourselves) to look forward to – something a bit different that can spice up the Auckland scene." The couple also likes checking out overseas parties, but Roberts says quite often they'd come home wondering why they had to go overseas for a quality event, and why something similar wasn't happening in Auckland. "So that was, and still is, part of our motivation. We see something good happening elsewhere in the world and decide that it would be nice to have something similar happening in Auckland." Roberts loves DJ'ing and says getting to play a favourite track to a packed dance floor and seeing people go off is by far his favourite part of the night. "There is always a good energy on the dance floor and you get to see everyone enjoying themselves and having a good time. It makes all your hard work pay off," he explains. To keep things fresh the Salvation crew checks out what's happening in the mainstream market and what's happening overseas. "We talk to other people about fun events they've been to, or just come up with our own ideas. It's quite a challenge generally, as the New Zealand market isn't big, so you have to find something that's fun and looks and sounds great, but that is also affordable." "Unfortunately innovation often comes with a hefty price tag so we have to balance cost versus benefit. It would be nice to run a big 10,000 person event in Auckland with all the latest production and technology, but sadly our population is small and people don't have the money to pay $150 - $200 a ticket like they do at some of the big events overseas. I think we're getting a pretty good balance though … you won't find too many events around the world with a similar level of production in the range of $20 - $30 a ticket." When asked what the couple do in their downtime to relax, Roberts laughs that organising parties generally is their downtime. "Michael and I both have full-time jobs so the party stuff is our after-hours hobby, what we do in the evenings instead of watching TV. Other than that we have a slowly evolving house renovation project happening and also like to get overseas for a break whenever we can." The next event on the calendar is Phoenix Trade which will be held at K' Rd's 4:20 nightclub on Saturday, 10 September. Mind-blowing lasers, pumping tunes and friendly faces are promised. Roberts says the Trade theme is chance to "trade dance moves, trade phone numbers, maybe even trade nailing tips," as there will be Trade card provided on the night - or patrons are welcome to bring their own. Tradesman dress-up is also encouraged. He will be DJ'ing along with Antony, Donald Bennett and Raj. More details here     Jacqui Stanford - 15th August 2011
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