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Club Culture : The Truth Behind Bali Nightlife

The real life of nightlife operator in Bali.

You might come to the island of Gods, and ready to pick which party you would like to go to tonight. What I am about to tell you today is about the process and the people behind it all. The one that makes it happen, and the one who is swallowed by the industry.

For over three years, GEM has been involved in Bali's nightlife industry. We have seen many venues open and closed. Some couldn't even make it a year before millions of dollars of investment can't be salvaged. We have seen so much money, hundreds and thousands of dollars vanished in less than eight hours of events. And when things like this happen, the blame is often goes to the "management" and many people left unpaid for their work. And some people, let's say the "booking manager" and "Djs" are the one leaving with big fat wallet, and thousands of tourists spending their savings for overpaid cocktails and leaving bad reviews online the day after once they checked on their remaining balance.

There's a set of challenge that club owner, organiser, promoters, and artists have to considered before hosting a party.

1. Finding the right location

In Bali, there are a few spot for tourists to enjoy Bali's nightlife. Seminyak, Canggu, and now.. Uluwatu. Each areas have different demographic and willingness to spend. Therefore, it is important to know your area, your pricing, and the regulations within the area. Each area is govern by different "Banjar". The Banjar has to approved your activity, until what time, how loud, how many people, and how much you have to pay for the permit.

2.The Sound System

You might not believe this, but most venue in Bali does not equipped themselves with proper sound system nor sound man. I have seen many venues using used /broken sound system and throw parties with maximum blast and the next day the guests will have some ear infections. It's that bad. So most of the time, venues or organiser have to rent the sound system from vendors, and they charge a fortune. - which adding the cost of events.

It's a great advantage if one is able to do the soundcheck by one self.

3. Artists Booking

Out of all the fun and obstacle in nightlife industry, my least favourite activity is "booking the talent" part. Some artists just charge you with unbelievable fee and cruel rider list, making it harder and harder to get to breakeven point. As promoter and organiser, this cost of event will be burden to the team to make sure the revenue will hit the target. Which often caused panicked within the management, and they will start to overcharging everything.. from tickets, to drinks, to VIP seats in ridiculous price - which leads to... DECLINE OF INTEREST from potential attendees, which are mostly young traveller who are on budget, but would like to party.

4. The Music

if I mention that artists booking is my least favourite part, well deciding what music will be is the part that I hate the most. Because when you go deep into the nightlife, the music topic is like "who comes first? egg or chicken?" conversation. Techno, House, D n B, Progressive, Trance, Psy Trance, Disco, ...... this is just one hell of disaster. This part required actual passion, knowledge, and great musical direction. This part, is crucial. You can't fake it to make it. You can't mix them all, There's so many hardcore fanatics of some genre that if you can't decide your niche, they will all go away.