Spring-Breaking New Ground. Electro Beach Brings EDM to College Market
by Angela Samartano, Editor
CP: Before starting Prime Social Group you both had individual event promotions companies. How did you two meet? How did that lead to the merge Social Studyz with Prime Productions?
Zach: Adam was at Michigan and I was at Wisconsin for school and we were both doing the same things are our respective schools. We each had our individual markets at the time with one of us in Michigan and the other in Wisconsin. There became a time were were started competing for the same artists or same dates as each other, with a prime example being Kid Cudi. Adam was trying to get date in Ann Arbor, MI and I was trying to get dates in Columbus,OH and Madison, WI. We were finally linked up through a mutual friend and decided to start working together instead of competing on these things. To start, we planned a three-day routed Steve Aoki college tour and it all just kind of came together and we went about things from there.
CP: You have over 250 events under your belt within the first 3 years of business together, which is a major accomplishment in itself. Last year, you started Electro Beach in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico which lasted 45 days with the biggest names in electronic music. What was the original concept behind Electro Beach? Was it always the original intention to make Electro Beach span as much time as it does?
Adam: The original intention was to provide a spring break music festival combined with traditional Spring Break travels. When we first started planning for it, we realized how are supposed to pick which schools are going to have access to this event? We kind of decided, well why not run this for the entire month of March to ensure that every school on spring break has access to come down to Puerto Vallarta and experience this really unique, one of a kind,festival like opportunity. We analyzed all of the different schools and spring breaks, trying to figure out which weeks were the busiest, which weeks we should spend the most money in talent on versus maybe a little bit of a lighter lineup. Spring break last year lasted an entire 6 weeks. Luckily this year, the spring break period only encompasses the entire month of March, with everything condensed all in those 4 weeks.
CP: Whereas Spring Break events have been dubbed as only featuring hip hop and top 40 music throughout the years, what made you both decide to capitalize on the electronic music scene?
Adam: It was kind of a right place, right time scenario. We've been doing a ton of EDM events throughout the country, just gauging what’s been popular on campuses. It seemed like for every other act we could of booked, the EDM events were in higher demand; they were going to bring more kids and make them more excited. It kind of started as us thinking that we’d start all around festival, but the demand just kept pushing for EDM and these DJs. As soon as we locked in Tiesto, it was almost like the DJs were calling and asking to play the event. We’re really happy that it turned out this way. It’s got a unique identity to it now.
Zach: Definitely! Another thing that is a big factor for us is that everything that Adam and I do has always been based on our experience; whether it was high school, college, or businesses. Adam and I both lived through the Acapulco spring break phase and we both had the experience of going there when we were in college, a few times each. There were always DJs and house music playing within the clubs that just provided such an amazing nightlife experience, while on spring break. I think that that’s were our roots and identity for this concept had originally sparked.
CP: What makes Electro Beach different from any other Spring Break party? Do you consider yourselves to be competing with major music events such as Ultra Music Festival and Winter Music Conference in Miami?
Adam: I don’t think that we’re necessarily competition. Mexico is always going to have it’s place as a spring break destination. Ultra and WMC are events in themselves, which only last a weekend, or in this year’s case two weekends. When you go away on spring break, you usually go for the entire week.The other nice thing about Mexico, is that if you’re 18 through 20 years old going to Ultra, you can only really experience the festival by day and into the evening. Once the festival is over, you’re left empty-handed on what you’re actually able to do with the Miami market and the United States in general having a 21 and older drinking age. Mexico’s 18+ drinking age allows for a little more of a high-end, resort style, out of sight-out of mind experience when you step out of the country. What we’re providing is something different because we’re taking the same talent from Ultra and all these festivals are booking, but we’re not putting them on a ‘Main Stage’ with thirty, forty thousand attendees over mapped out acres of property. We’re contained in extremely high end nightclubs that rival Las Vegas and Miami clubs. You’re in these nightclubs with 1500-2000 of your best friends from college and other colleges alike, seeing these world renowned DJs in such a small environment,with a personal and unique experience.
CP: This year the massive 4 week lineup consisted of some of the biggest names in EDM including Tiesto, Fedde Le Grand, Sander van Doorn, Paul van Dyk, Tommy Trash, and a slew of others. How do you expect to make this year’s experience top last years Electro Beach?
Zach: This year we’re focusing more on the experience factor. I know everyone’s goal for festivals or nightlife in this industry is all about the experience now, and it truly is. However, how can you make your experience different from going to EDC or Coachella? Or, how can you make you’re experience different from an average spring break to Daytona Beach or Panama City? Or even, how can Puerto Vallarta be a different experience from going to Cancun? I think it’s because of our staff and hospitality not just to the artists that we book, but to our customers. I think it’s about our branding and marketing, club decor, and special effects that we've been working on. The way our nightlife events are operated, we’re not trying to operate so that you can feel like you’re at LIV in Miami or XS in Las Vegas where there is a strict door policy or buying bottles is being a little bit more forced on you. We’re more about the general admission nightlife experience and how we can enhance that better than anywhere else in the world.
CP: You are releasing a documentary soon about the Electro Beach experience entitled #FEST. The teaser video in itself features world renowned DJs such as Tiesto, Chuckie, Laidback Luke, and overall entices the viewer to want to keep watching. What made you decide to create a documentary? What is the message that you want people to receive from watching this?
Adam: To be honest, the documentary was almost an accident. It was a first year event last year and we wanted to just record everything. We didn't want to leave anything unrecorded or undocumented. When it was all set and done, we wrapped everything up. We decided to move Tiesto outdoors to this huge venue with all these pyrotechnics, artist interviews, etc. It was all much more than what we had expected. We had a very talented videographer on board that we originally wanted to just make some weekly recaps. He approached us and said he had enough footage to really rival these other documentaries out there. This is not a typical festival. This is not just a piece of property where you have these artists for about an hour a piece. We have these artists for at least a day; we get to spend time with them, putting them up in villas. We have one scene where we have Steve Aoki jumping from our balcony and intothe pool and of him going rock climbing. You kind of get to see these artists outside of their element, and it became way more compelling than these artists just putting out recap videos.
I also think that there’s a central theme behind it with Prime Social Group, which is Zach and my company. I’m 24 and Zach is 25, and the rest of our staff is right around the same age. We’re basically the story of some underdogs, or new folks to the industry, trying to pull off a pretty substantial event. That’s kind of why we decided to just pull the trigger on it. Overall, it’s a pretty incredible film
CP: Who are some of your favorite electronic music artists that you may of booked in the past? Do you have a favorite event out of the ones you've thrown so far with Prime Social Group?
Adam: A lot of the headlining acts. Zach and I have personal relationships with them at this point, which kind of tilts the favor in their direction really. Bringing down Dada Life to Electro Beach last year, when we were catching them right on their rise, especially in the US. Their live performance and overall demeanor, Dada Life is my favorite. There are definitely a couple of up and coming acts that we’re really excited about.We’re starting to stress some of the live performance aspects, so Big Gigantic for example, is an act that we’re really excited about in the future. Also, Robert DeLong is a great person in that category.
For me, it’s about which artists you can establish a personal connection with;the ones who aren't just there to play their 90 minute set for a huge payday.It’s the ones that want it; the ones that want to build the industry and build the market that can help you build your brand along with theirs. We've done now a dozen shows with Tiesto and he’s just the greatest out there to work with.One of my favorite up-and-comers [well not really up-and-comers anymore] would be Krewella right now; the live aspect mixed with the DJs and the great timethey have there. We also absolutely love the Nervo girls; we've worked with them many times. They’re awesome.
CP: This year alone, you have been working on Tiesto’s Club Life College Invasion Tour, the first ever Abroad fest in Barcelona, Spain, and 30 days of Electro Beach right around the corner. What’s next for Prime Social Group to tackle in 2013 and beyond?
Zach: We have a very big project in the works. It’s to elevate our company in scale for the model that we’re working in for 2013, specifically in the fall. Can’t go into too many specifics, but this is a definitely a national concept that’s going to be hitting multiple big city markets. We’re building a very interesting approach to the standard festival model. We’re organically growing in the amount of shows that we’re doing and the amount of markets that we’re in. I think the most exciting thing for our company is our international growth. We’re now averaging 20+ events in Europe throughout the year. Outside of spring break season we’ll be working in Mexico year round. We continue to find international opportunities where we can capitalize and not only bring our talent booking capabilities but our marketing and promotional skills, which really keep the business fun and exciting for Adam and I.
follow Clubplanet @