Busting out the Confetti for New Year's EveDecember 13, 2012 By: Steve Lewis
The effects of sand ranged from merely inconvenienced for a few days to post-apocalyptic where early stages of rebuilding are underway. For many, the holidays with family, shopping and feasting will be joyous while for others it's just days away from the worst of times. However, in the business of nightlife entertainment, especially on New Year’s Eve in NY, the show must go on.
Even in the wake of disaster the city is in a celebratory mood for the holidays and, of course, New Year that is upon us. The economy is strengthening with more jobs, new construction and a lower crime rate. The city is again bustling with tourists and nightlife seems as vibrant as ever.
Jon Gabel owns Joonbug, a company that does many things and among them - putting the right patron into the right venue on Halloween and New Year’s Eve. He dodged a bullet this year as Halloween fell on Wednesday and most of their events were celebrated on the Saturday before Sandy hit. For New Year’s Eve Gabel will be producing and promotion over 100 events throughout NY. That's a lot of bells, whistles, confetti and responsibility! So, Nightclub Confidential sat down Gabel to find out all about it.
Nightclub Confidential (NCC): You are the dominant producer of New Year’s Eve events in NYC. Tell us about it.
Jon Gabel: We’re the dominant producer because we promote a variety of venues to meet everyone’s needs. For example, we rent out bars, clubs, lounges, restaurants, private event spaces and yachts. We also offer tickets that are incredibly reasonably priced to really expensive and everything in-between. Our philosophy is to have something for everyone.
NCC: Has Sandy affected the lead time to producing New Year’s Eve events?
Gabel: Yes. Sandy has affected NY from the perspective of planning the events, getting marketing straightened out and dealing with venues in general. Even tasks such as scheduling meetings and phone calls have been challenging. We’ve seen just an overall slight delay. We’re sure that there are costumers still without electricity, which will prevent them from buying tickets in a timely fashion. But overall there has been enough of a time lapse since Sandy hit and it was more of a bump in the road than a wall.
NCC: Is the economy better? Is this New Year’s Eve an easier sell than the last?
Gabel: The economy is definitely better than it was four years ago, but it feels the same as last year. We’re not affected in an adverse fashion, except when we see massive layoffs which fortunately hasn’t occurred recently.
NCC: Why does a place completely turn over their operations and let you/Joonbug.com take over?
Gabel: Very simple. Because doing New Year’s Eve events is a tremendous amount of work and requires a lot of time, it is more expeditious to have a company like ours that specializes in it to do the event rather than taking it on yourself. Staff can be better utilized handling other tasks rather than bogged down working on New Year’s Eve. Lastly, we guarantee a financial return where if venues do it on their own they’re not guaranteed anything and they’d also have to compete with us.
NCC: Does name recognition and "tried and true" trump "new"?
Gabel: Name recognition absolutely trumps new. New venues are much harder than the “tried and true” because the mass public feels more comfortable with recognizable venues and gravitate towards what they know, while hesitating to try the new venues out there.
NCC: Do your patrons go out regularly or are most of them dependent on your event?
Gabel: We run two really different types of promotions businesses. One is a weekly promotions business where our patrons go to one of eight weekly parties. But those numbers and the percentage of numbers of people that go out every single week are miniscule compared to New Year’s Eve.
If you take the maximum capacity of the top 15 venues in NYC, the average capacity is probably around 500 people. That’s about 7,500 people on any given Saturday night. On New Year’s Eve, we’ll do 85,000 people. So the mass majority of people are not weekly partygoers and therefore they do require our expert advice.