Ever so often there comes a party that reminds us of how good it feels to be young and alive! This type of party doesn’t takes us on any flights of fantasy only to leave us shipwrecked on the tarmac. Rather, it delivers and takes us on an excursion through the finer yet simpler side of life. It would be untrue and disingenuous to describe Starburst as achieving the aforementioned, however, this event came very, very close!
On January 5, 2010 the Pink Report in its first ever posting wrote that “it is clear that Fierce and Company (FACE) has positioned themselves as the UPT (party) planners of choice, which is good, but they must be careful that they don’t become an English Tea Party”. Indeed we further commented that “that if they are going to position themselves at the top of the society pile, then they need to put away the cheap and efficient stuff. For example:- Smirnoff is good for making regular mixed drinks that you can get at any party, but for a high society bash WHERE WAS THE GREY GOOSE, THE BELVEDERE, THE KETEL ONE, THE ARMADALE OR CHOPIN? Bartenders shouldn’t just pour drinks but they should mix drinks and make new and exciting concoctions on the spot. Food should not just be the plain old Escoveitch Fish and Jerk chicken but shrimp; lobster; the nicely arranged hog head with the apple in its mouth and the thinly sliced strips of ham, or strips of chicken marinated in something exotic, interesting or new.
Those who attended this fest must be singing what a difference 365 days make! Yes, at this event food was still the plain old Escoveitch Fish and Jerk Chicken and the Grey Goose, Belvedere, Ketel One and their motley crew were still absent. However, in their stead came the widest and most complete drinks menu that Pink has ever seen at a gay event. Patrons did not just get the regular run of the mill standard drink selection; in fact these were so noticeably absent that there seemed to be a concerted effort to ban regular from the bar. Patrons at this event could select from a menu that included mojitoes, martinis and a signature Starburst shot that would warm the heart of a stone. Notably, whilst the mojito taps ran dry at approximately 3:30 am the bar remained well stocked to the point that an alcoholic would have thought he had died and gone to Liquor heaven!
The crowd that was assembled for Starburst were the under 25 crew in the main, and as such the music selection by the DJ was good for that age group. This is not to imply that the selection and selecting wasn’t generally good, sure there were low keyed moments, but rather the statement is said to indicate that if one was a geriatric or an asthmatic St. John’s ambulance service would have needed to be on standby! More importantly the music got better as the night wore on to the point that by the time the “Good Good” Dancehall section came on, the venue was rocking with all the energy of a club UPT style of course. Thus there was no splitting or head top dancing but a whole lot of Whining and Gyration.
Unfortunately for FACE, they had to learn three harsh lessons. These were namely that:-
- What the Council giveth with one hand, it can taketh away with the other; and
- It doesn’t pay to oversell
- Practice makes Perfect or at least gives persons a new reference point.
For NYE 2010, ticket sales for FACE’s maiden event were driven largely by the open and unmitigated support of Council members. With the Council hosting its own NYE2011 event Starburst no longer remained the hottest ticket in town. In fact, so hot were council tickets that a virtual black market opened up for them and persons were offering as high as J$8,000 for a pair. Going into Starburst there was the feeling that persons were simply just not going to show up and that it would be a snooze fest.
Yet whilst some of the migration of support can be blamed on the withdrawal of Council support, a majority of the blame falls squarely at the feet of the management of FACE. In the first instance, Council support for a group that had no experience in organizing a party was a gift that they failed to manage. The most egregious example of this is FACE’s failure to have a properly seasoned DJ playing at their marquee and most important event on the calendar. In the second instance, because FACE failed to have any events for 2010 the lone reference point that persons had for their events was the flaccid NYE 2010 event. The result was that many persons, simply did not feel encouraged to make the same mistake twice.
Recommendations and Conclusions
If we could offer Fierce and Company any recommendations to improve their product it would be:
- Offer a Signature Drink that is complementary to the Signature shot
- Forego offering heavy food at the parties unless it is a dinner; simply put at events persons prefer light finger foods as opposed to those which may cause snug fitting outfits to burst at the seams
All in all Starburst was a premium event worth at least J$4000 and made up for the underperformance of NYE 2010. In deed on the Pinkometer this party gets 1.5 stars or a score of 8.25 out of 10.