What makes the perfect party, really?
That was the main question I had in mind when I followed the event business Ljudpoolen and party collective Levande Charader from Stockholm to the street festival Distortion in Copenhagen last week, where I expected to help out with the bars, not to be embraced as a future bar-boss at their events – which of course was an incredible outcome! Nils Wikland, one of the founders of both operations, took me under his wings and introduced me to the fellowship, and now I want to share bit of what I learned with you.
The bus journey from Berlin took 8 hours and for each hour the exaltation in me rose. The phrase “Are we not there yet?!” repeated in my head. I had never been to Copenhagen, and I knew Nils and his companion Filip Friedrich only on the surface, so I very much looked forward to meet them and the city. It was the last day of May and the weather was fine. Summer had just begun and I was gonna mix cocktails at a private party on a houseboat with great music and people around me. What a dream! As the bus took me north some questions popped up in me regarding why we humans even party, and what makes a good party, really. Maybe Nils and Filip could help me answer those questions.
I bet you’re familiar with the thrilling feeling that bubbles up inside you when you encounter a like-minded soul; when you meet someone you feel you already know, someone you recognize your self in – to an extent. When those meetings take place it seems like the whole world smiles at you, and that happened in my encounter with Nils. We share a lot of perceptions of life and the world and hit it off. As a bartender I know how fun it is to work with parties – to create the conditions for people to enjoy themselves, and be happy – and I recognized Nils’ enthusiastic, almost jumpy excitement when we met at the houseboat they had rented for the after party near Langebro at Copenhagen Harbor, and he explained to me in triumph that the speakers of their sound system were Ljudpoolen’s own creation, that they had constructed and worked days and nights to build, and that the Distortion party was their maiden voyage. He was proud, by all means.
We shared a drink, chatted a bit and enjoyed the calm before the storm, then I took off to get what I needed for the bar, and when I got back to the boat, more people had arrived and the pre-party was already started.
The next day we woke up early and went to Bevtoftgade where Levande Charader’s Distortion set up were taking place. The sun was shining and it was a hot and beautiful day in Copenhagen, and as we partied in street the sense of what was to come – the after party on the houseboat – left me with the grand feeling of: “This can’t get better, or wait, yes it can!” which doesn’t really happen every now, day does it?
Everything worked just fine and the sound was spot on. Nadja Chatti, Petter Nordqvist and Clea played great music all day and the people helping me in >>Gangster Baren<< did a fantastic job!
A very special thanks to Simon, Mo, Adam, Seth, Emelie, and Philip – and Dennis for stepping in at the end. Did I forget anyone? I hope not! GO GB!!!!! 💥
Ljudpoolen is a young event business from Stockholm who not only rent out sound and light for parties but also build their own speakers. It’s made up by 6 people from the Royal Institute of Technology -KTH- in Stockholm and under the name “Levande Charader” (Lively Charades – in lack of better translation) they’re arrange parties with especially house/disco music and happy summer-vibes. Ljudpoolen has earlier worked with companies like Universal Music, Acne, Stureplansgruppen and various festivals and establishments in Stockholm – to name a few. Nils told me that their company sprung out of the vision of some sound-nerds desire to create the perfect sound – and the perfect party. He and Filip found each other at KTH and along their studies and party planning they started spending time in the workshops of the University where the work for audio-perfection started.
– We’ve worked around the clock in the workshop lately and we’re happy to be finished in time. 12 hours of work goes by really fast when you have fun with it, says Nils in a big smile.
Well back at the house boat I mixed cocktails on OP Anderson aquavit. I made two different drinks, and in one of them one could pick between the clear or the aged aquavit, and of course I made customised drinks according to the guest wishes too. The bar was a success! – and it had to be there! What would a party on a house boat with amazing DJs playing music for a crowd of friends, and friends of friends, be without cocktails? You’d feel something was missing. It’s essential to have a good bar for the overall experience of a party. Luckily this crowd was very appreciative and I felt very welcomed.
My first encounter with Copenhagen had started just as good as my first encounter with Nils. I felt very grateful towards his and Filip’s initiative and towards all people who was there and contributed in different ways to the wonderful time we had created together. It went fast, we had fun. And they want me to do the bar at their future events too! What a joy 😀
So, to summarize what I learned this past week about making the perfect party, well here it is:
1. No heart, no fun! – It’s just like that. You can tell if the organisers are ‘there’ by heart or not – and it makes a huge difference.
2. Take immense care of DJs and sound – the music is the foundation and what the guest cares most about! Treat them and the equipment with the greatest respect.
3. Be fun to work with – even though things go wrong (it always does) it is key to keep up the spirit. People want to be around someone who makes their lives exciting.
4. Don’t forget to eat and sleep – you never regret eating and sleeping well prior to a party.
5. Don’t drink to much alcohol – just take it easy you know. It’s lots of work and you want your friends and colleagues around to be able to rely on you as you rely on them.
6. Make sure there’s always water and something to eat – of course water is crucial, but food is also a real treat when the party comes to an end. Whether it’s fruit, protein shakes or cheese sandwiches. Eating something makes the landing easier and it also tightens the group when dismantling the whole charade.
7. Keep it tidy – No one appreciates a dirty dance floor. Even check the toilets now and then (Freddie was always on me about this at Laika, it’s important)!
8. Dance – give yourself some decent breaks. You need to let loose too! Dance with the other kids and show them you have time for them.
9. Solve the problems – if there’s ever a problem, solve it somehow, don’t ignore it. It doesn’t have to be perfect just make an effort and be proud of the outcome.
10. And last but not least, prepare a good fucking bar – The bar is where people lean back. If you are ready for action before it has even started, the rest of the group will feel secure – both staff and guests and you can help out with other stuff. Treat your colleagues with some drinks as they work and when the guests arrive you focus fully on them and not on chopping fruit. Give the people what they didn’t know they wanted, and provide the break people are looking for – and deserve 😉
– To get to gaze over a sea of dancing people who appreciate the music and one another; to provide the space for euphoria on a dance floor and observe people letting go, with smiling faces, and to feel “we’ve created this” – that’s just the best feeling in the world, that’s why we make parties, says Nils.
The following day was beautiful and calls for a separate post. But here’s a little taste of it:
Like the sun coming out
Ooh, I just know that something good is going to happen
And I don’t know when
But just saying it could even make it happen