While Ibiza is the leader of the nightlife dance music movement, there’s one city stateside that’s making its case by bringing in the best talent on a consistent basis: Las Vegas. While Miami plays host to the annual Ultra Music Festival and Winter Music Conference, there’s no denying that the caliber of clubs in Vegas easily surpasses the competition in South Beach… outside of LIV, of course. They’re bigger, louder and the hospitality is incomparable. What DJ wouldn’t want to receive the royal Vegas treatment while on the job?
Vegas nightclubs, such as XS and Surrender, pack their spaces with dance music fans ready to rage throughout the night. But one nightclub recently became the leader of the pack and carved a path that is set to change nightlife in Las Vegas as we know it: Marquee.
With just one year under its belt, Marquee has made an unprecedented impact in the world of entertainment. With this nightclub, the Strategic Group is tapping into a scene that’s brought nightlife into a new age. DJs always have been a key ingredient for nightclubs, but once names like David Guetta, Deadmau5 and Afrojack started popping up in the Top 40, they became the main draw.
Many clubs now are perceived as concert halls that host favorite DJ-producers. While Marquee is a “nightclub,” the scene on any given night provides the kind of visual and auditory onslaught that you’d get at a music festival.
Considered by many to be the most popular dance music club in the nation, to say that Marquee had a successful opening year is an understatement. They’ve enlisted the help of some of dance music’s biggest names, including Avicii, ATB, Sunner James and Ryan Marciano, including a residency by America’s Best DJ winner, Kaskade.
“It was an amazing year, and we’re proud of many accomplishments,” says Strategic Group co-founder Jason Strauss. “For the first time ever, a group and a casino allocated dramatic resources to invest in a concept of a true nightclub for electric dance music. It was the first of its kind to spend those kinds of resources on sound, light and production. ”
Now that the club has the world’s attention, everyone wants to know what’s next. Which names will grace the Marquee DJ booth? Who will be featured as a resident? What can they do to remain relevant in a business where the average lifespan of a venue is just shy of two years? Everyone’s familiar with the success of the Strategic Group, so chances are they’re prepared for it all.
“The explosion in Vegas of nightlife in general and dance music specifically has absolutely helped to legitimize the industry,” says Strauss. “Clubs are often now features for hotels and casinos. They drive real and noticeable business to these places, just as the big shows and gaming experiences have in the past. With a club like TAO, for example, going into its sixth year, I think we’re proving a properly run nightclub can be a long-term business model.”
The beauty of Marquee lies in the balance that it has created between the average club-goer that pays the cover to see his or her favorite DJ perform live and the upper-echelon crowd whose successful experience heavily depends on bottle service. While most would think that both would not be able to coincide in harmony under one roof, it seems as if they go hand in hand.
“We designed Marquee ourselves from the ground up, and we did so with balance in mind,” Strauss says. “We believe that the energy and diversity of both bottle service and straight up ‘clubber’ crowds exist in an exciting harmony at Marquee.”
For this year, they've already announced the return of Kaskade's infamous residency, as well as hints that there will be other Top 20 DJ talent joining the club. After such a successful year, word has spread among the DJ elite, so chances are they're all chomping at the bit to play the venue. Marquee’s dayclub also will have a dramatic re-haul, with production elements and performance staging. The dayclub will be investing a dramatic amount of resources into performances that will deliver daytime experiences no one has seen before. Marquee faithful have been told to expect "flying people on bungee cords" and things that have never been seen in a daytime setting. The budgets already have been set, and soon the club will announce it all.
The Strategic Group has created a unique brand that’s set to capitalize on a wave of entertainment that’s captivated the attention of nightlife connoisseurs across the country, and they’re looking to make it an international brand.
“This is the first time we’ve taken a brand in our portfolio internationally, and we’re so excited,” Strauss says. “Our overseas partner is really the perfect fit for us, for the ethos of the company and for our brand. We look forward to officially announce the full scope of the project soon.”