December to Remember: Launching EEEmpire into 2017
Posted on December 27, 2016
Cliche I know. Nevertheless this December was the first event I’ve planned with over 500 people in two years.
In 2015, everything had changed. At the end of the semester I had been accustomed to looking forward to maybe six large parties. I remember events like Cooler Parang, Zen’s Christmas Party, Insurance, Dutty Santa, Everything Jouvert, even Ceasar’s Army had a Christmas Party. All these events defined December. Maybe what caused this was the rise of the spots on Rust Street and Ariapita Avenue or maybe it was that people didn’t want the cooler parties anymore.
In 2016, I needed a stage, a platform to unmistakably say: Hey! I’m not a camera man, please don’t call me that. I also needed a platform to showcase the talented artistes I’ve been around for the past 24 months; where they would be the center of the show. So my objective was to host a launch for Soca music, surrounding my friend and colleague Sekon Sta and my event company EEEmpire.
Putting this together I approached a bunch of old and new friends, most of whom now have blossoming businesses and careers after starting around the same time I started my event company. Calling everyone felt like summoning the avengers to save Trinidad from a mundane December.
Several site visits, probably 100 meetings and at least 1000 private messages later I was finally about to have my event. The idea was to bring the ‘best’ of everything together – so I chose what in my opinion was the best, most ambient venue I could find and began carefully crafting a unique experience. Key to this experience would be the performances of the Soca Squad, a collective of young, talented soca artistes lead by Sekon Sta.
Guiding myself and my team through the uncharted 2016 entertainment landscape was like captaining a ship in stormy water but watching my crew with a straight face and telling them everything would be ok. Most promotions seemed dependent on using other crews to get the word out, or radio ads or other mas marketing mechanisms. The Launch for me was a much more personal matter – I didn’t want random attendees, but I wanted the right people. The right people would make the experience much richer and would appreciate a ‘real event’ for ‘real people’. For this event you would want to focus on brucking out or networking – while posing and selfie taking would be a distant second thought. To get this done we deliberately focused our time and efforts on the tedious process of personally inviting each attendee.
The hardest part was something we never expected. It was the venue we already paid for giving us the most headache that my team and I had ever experienced in our entire event planning careers. Estate 101 dished us the rawest of deals, making internal mistakes and giving us an ultimatum to pay more than double the rental or cancel our event. We only pulled this off because of the close relationships established with our team and suppliers. Even up to the day before the event, the venue refused to let us set up the night before. On the day itself we rushed to set everything up in 6 hours sacrificing our grand plans for the bar but still pulling it off in the end.
Finally everything was set, ticket holders arrived in droves. Suddenly, the sky burst and everyone scattered. Patrons dressed to the T in their dresses and suits scampered for cover. We had such elaborate plans for covering the venue but at this point we were just grateful to survive Estate 101’s issues and not be forced to cancel.
Somehow we rallied through and the acts of the night began. The dancers wow’d the crowd and from that point on the sheer goodwill we put into the universe could not be stopped. Neither Rain, Estate 101 nor anything else could stop the vibes from escalating beyond control. If you told me 4 years ago that the reigning International Soca Monarch Champion would perform in the rain to hundreds of people in one of my parties I may have doubted you. On December 18th this became a reality.
Click here 🚀 for a full event recap.
— Ken Sambury (@ksambury) December 26, 2016
I still don’t understand how none of the microphones shorted throughout his entire performance in the pouring rain. As if the performances were not enough, Dj Private Ryan and Selector Caleb whipped up a selection of hip hop and dancehall that had the entire party jumping.
A video posted by The EEEmpire (@eeempire) on
I’m happy to start 2017 making my contribution to events in December 2016. This event reminded me that I only shoot video of events because I believe that our Carnival, our fetes, our events are something that deserves a special approach. Our cultural events deserve to be exported internationally and the vibes that happen for a fleeting Private Ryan set should last forever in my videos.
December 2016 will forever be one of the most important dates to us. In the midst of skepticism and a drastically changed entertainment landscape Ken and his band of faithful EEEmpire committee members put on a show. An unforgettable show.
The video above gives a brief peek into what was the EEEmpire Launch Party 🚀. An event like no other.