Revelers in the know headed out on a Sunday night in New York are almost obliged to hit up Jonny Lennon’s Funday party at Goldbar. For the last four years, the wild weekly bash has steadily grown into an international brand, with offshoots in France, Miami, Las Vegas and at Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The parties, which Lennon describes as “musically driven, culturally diverse and free spirited,” are so packed guests often have to suck in stomachs to slip through the room just to make it to a table, so crazy that patrons sometimes lose their clothes, and so successful that cash registers are full halfway through the night. Lennon reveals the secrets to his event's success to NC.
NC: Why would a venue want to start a bash like Funday?
Lennon: The top two reasons are revenue and credibility, and Funday is a prime example of both. This is the most financially successful and notable night of the week for Goldbar. To have a credible night like this is super important, especially among the industry set. But regular patrons who have a birthday on Sunday will see the room and book another table for the following Friday because they have so much fun. So it helps drive a solid revenue stream.
NC: What are the top things to consider when throwing a weekly party?
Lennon: Give people what they want. Let them feel free. With that mindset comes a diverse crowd, which is key. You’ll get some hardcore party people standing next to nerdy downtown types. You want it to be rock and roll and hip-hop and punk and everything else all wrapped up into one night. The clubs I grew up with in NYC were diverse; you could see everything in one spot and that was the amazement. You weren’t simply around your little clique; you were influenced by the different cultures and people in the room. I want Funday to embody that feeling.
NC: What do most party planners not think about when throwing a bash like this?
Lennon: You can’t judge the crowd. You want to give them a quality experience as opposed to expecting them to bring a quality experience to your venue. And pay careful attention to what’s coming out of the speakers. The music needs to be right. You should be experimental. It doesn’t sense to play all the hits all the time. Mix it up a bit.
NC: How important is the DJ?
Lennon: Super crucial. When branding a party, you want people to know what they’re getting is consistent, musically. So using the same, named DJs, like Sinatra, Jesse Marco and The Chainsmokers is key. But I’ll also do guest DJ sets with everyone big. We make sure it’s all open format, though. You’ll hear everything from '50s hits to '90s hip hop to electronica. Don’t limit yourself with one genre. When we started we did live bands for a while. We try to keep with the trends but mix in our flavor by tossing in a metal song or a swing band or whatever we feel can spice up the room.
NC: How should a venue promote a bash such as this?
Lennon: Word of mouth is the best. I want it to be good enough to promote itself. In the beginning, or when we take the party on the road, I’ll do an electronic flyer that we put up on social media sites, but mostly we invite a core crew of people I want to see in the venue and it takes off from there. Trusted recommendations are always the best.