The UK Chinese/East Asian clubbing scene has reached mainstream status. The economic downturn has seen the closure of many nightclub venues across the UK, but this previously niche market is doing their part by pumping hundreds of thousands of pounds every week into the economy.
Nee Hao Magazine interviews Ben Donn from the Oriental clubbing scene in Manchester. Together with his sidekick David Hoang, they run V-Town Events. We put forward a few questions to them to give readers an insight into the workings behind organising an event and the people they cater for, up in the North West UK.
Who are V-Town?
V-Town are a Manchester based Oriental events and PR company, formed in 2005 and one of the biggest Oriental events company in the UK. With a solid foundation based upon student societies from Manchester University aka MUCSS, we have been entertaining and helping overseas students feel at home in a social context. It’s a big responsibility and has taken a long period of time to perfect, our events are not just about partying but more importantly, it’s about bringing people and the community together as one, even if it’s just for one night.
What is the Manchester clubbing scene like?
After years of experience and travelling up and down the country to various different Oriental events, I would personally say the Manchester clubbing scene is the strongest outside London in terms of quality and the number of patrons. The feedback we get from our clients who travel from all over the UK is that there is a vibe and air of hype about each event we host. A buzz no other city has to offer. I think because of the history of the clubbing scene in Manchester such as the Hacienda days and the close proximity of all the clubs, it makes the Manchester clubbing experience unique.
What’s special about your events?
We put a lot of thought and effort into the event to make it special and unique. We also tend to move around from venue to venue, as a result we have secured exclusive contracts with all the premium clubs in Manchester. All our nights are themed and we have the same special promotion in all our major events, which is, ladies half priced entry if dressed to the theme. Combined with moving from venue to venue, it’s a strategy we have used to keep our clients happy and to keep our events fresh and innovative. Every V-Town event is different thus helps create the hype. There is always a gimmick whether it’s a prize or a surprise. Last year we had performances at our events by Far East Movement, Lil Crazed and Traphik and hosted an event for Chipmunk, Mario and Mark Wright from TOWIE. This year and next we plan to bring a whole roster of celebrities to further enhance our profile, so it’s an exciting period for us.
Do you think your events add value to the economy?
Yes, in terms of the nightclubs, our events generate a lot of revenue in bar sales. It is quite well known in the nightclub industry that Oriental events can be one of the key events in a nightclub’s calendar for generating revenue on a given night. Recently we have also acquired sponsorship deals from various Oriental establishments mainly local businesses. In return for their kind sponsorship we display their logo on all our promotional material. Attached to that would be a special promotion for the ticket holder. This adds more value to the ticket and creates more business for our sponsors. Although it maybe a small contribution to the economy, it’s a step in the right direction and it’s something we are working on more to help our local businesses and community grow.
What type of music do you play at your events?
V-Town originally played commercial RnB and Dance but with the craze of Kpop we have had to introduce the new music genre and it has created a major impact to our events. Music is an important factor in any clubbing event and you have to cater for everyone’s acquired taste. This is one of the reasons why V-Town has been successful over the years, when you come to one of our nights, you know you’re going to get great music. We have Manchester’s best DJs, DJ G2 (RnB), DJ Vendlus (Kpop Dance), and DJ Bubble T (Kpop Dance).
Tell us about the ‘Prom Night’ that was the talk of the town?
The idea behind Prom Night was to create an event that the people could all relate to and also interact with. We thought if the people were more involved in the event it would create a buzz. We needed something for people to talk about. We all know about the saying Chinese whispers, well this event put that saying to the test lol. One of the partners came up with the theme one Saturday night at home watching American Pie, yep how sad. But we have no complaints now, as our Facebook group has grown from 2000 members to around 4000. It has created such a big buzz in Manchester that everyone has been talking about it. We sold all our tables a week and a half in advance, which is something we have never done before. So it was a huge success.
What kind of atmosphere/vibe are your parties?
All our events have different vibes and atmosphere depending on the venue. But we try to make the event as close to home for the overseas students as possible. An Oriental clubbing experience blended with the Western vibe. We try to create an euphoric experience.
What’s in the pipeline?
Lots in the pipeline, over the summer we are starting a new Saturday night but we cannot disclose the information as of yet. August Bank Holiday will be held at Sankeys, on Sunday 26th August. Then onto one of our main events of the year ‘Back to School Detention’ the most famous Oriental party of the land. This event is our pride and joy and has been running consecutively for 7 years. ‘Oriental Back to School Detention’ originated from V-Town and we even have a small following in Hong Kong. We never knew how big this event was until last year when 6 people from Hong Kong contacted us and purchased tickets. We were all so shocked but that goes to show if you have a winning formula stick to it and thus you will be rewarded.
What is the most satisfying part of being a host/organiser?
I would say people’s positive feedback and the buzz and excitement on the night. There is no better feeling when you have a packed out venue with music blazing and everyone is enjoying themselves, that’s on a personal side. On the whole the important factor is about bringing societies and communities together as one, even if it’s just for one night. That is something that rarely happens in Manchester within our community and we are happy to continue to do so, as long as the people want us to.