Article Title:Hero Party 2006: Bigger space, more imported DJs
Author or Credit:Chris Banks
Published on:28th January 2006 - 12:00 pm
Story ID:1099
Text:Just as Auckland's annual glbt festival Hero has clawed its way back from near oblivion, so has the fest-ending Hero Party begun to grow back into the mega-event that it was in the mid-90s. Organiser Michael Modrich says 2006 is a year of consolidation for the party, and all indications are that Hero as a whole has well and truly put its troubles behind it. "The party has gone from just being a good night out to being a really memorable event, because it's actually catering to more people," he says. "We re-introduced the women's space last year, and we'll do that again this year. We're trying to engage more of the community rather than just the gay males. Part of the problem before was we weren't engaging all the community, so it lost that community feel. We're trying to have something for everyone, but without really losing touch with the fact that it is still a dance party." Some DJs are yet to be confirmed, but the schedule shows imports from London, Brisbane and Sydney alongside local names. "We're putting an awful lot into the party, ensuring we've got a good selection of DJs, so that the range of music will appeal to a wider range of people," says Modrich. "There's more dance spaces. Most genres of house music will be covered, there'll be trance...we're getting support from Sydney DJs. We've got Ruby who runs the Ruby parties in Sydney coming to play trance, we've got Matt Steer coming back from Brisbane, Paul Heron who plays at Crash in London. Therese, a vocalist that does a lot of the Stonebridge tracks..." The mega-Hero parties of the past were more than just dance parties. Some of the best created a universe unto themselves for an evening. "The last really big Hero Party in recent years was at the Town Hall. That has a fairly large outdoor area where people could escape, with outdoor entertainers, stuff like that. For last year's party we closed off Galatos St to create that outdoor area. It was going to become more of a community-type thing, not just for people that like dance music." This year's Hero Party will build on the growth of last year, which Modrich says was touted by some partygoers as the best since the Town Hall. "We're still using Studio, which is the old Staircase, whch has been refurbished inside, and the three spaces at Galatos. We have a full street closure of Galatos St. That's totally fenced off, and blocked off from the genreal public. We put marquees out there, and leather sofas, and rubber matting on the road as well. We'll actually add some enhancements to the outdoor area to make it a little bit more attractive and entertaining." The layout of two venues joined by an outdoor area was inspired by Sydney's Mardi Gras party. In fact, Modrich says they're aiming for a mini-Mardi Gras feel. "Moving forward for 2007, there's a great opportunity to reinstate Hero on the international circuit. We're currently in discussions with Mardi Gras about the possibility of creating packages for 2007. We'll jointly promote Mardi Gras, which is a week after Hero. People can come and do Auckland then onto Sydney. This new era of co-operation is exciting for us." Even the infamous Hero Parade could be up for revival in the future. "There are some people interested in doing it. Whether or not there's financial support to make it happen, I don't know at this stage. There's always factions in the community for and against," he says. "If we had a parade before the party, the number of people attending the party would increase. But if that doesn't go ahead, there's a plan to change the format for 2007." As for this year, Modrich hopes to continue to attract the community back to the Hero Party. "Hopefully it'll be a bit bigger," he says. "The expanded outdoor area, the number of international DJs, the range and scope of entertainment outside, as well as inside and in the main spaces... there'll be some enhancement to our production as well." Chris Banks - 28th January 2006    
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