When you experience the Stafford Brothers’ “Welcome to Las-Stralia” residency at Light, you’re not just partying in a nightclub. You’ve entered a different world, a wild and woolly Aussie jungle.
The tech is outrageous—carefully curated, all-custom digital content flashing and moving across 720 screens and 150 horizontal feet. But it’s the planning of these themed parties that’s most impressive, the way the club brings together every piece of the landscape and every ounce of talent and creativity to make real memories on any given night. This intense and thoughtful strategy has become the signature of Play Management and its partners Colin Comer and John Pettei.
“We realized early on that if we were going to compete with the massive companies around town and all the really talented people working on events and marketing, one way to differentiate ourselves and our events is to take the theme and narrative we put into every thing we build and add another dimension,” Comer says. “When you look at why guests are coming to Vegas in the first place, they’re already coming to a nightclub, because they want a bit of escape from the everyday. We’re already offering them a world-class nightclub experience, and then we’re adding another transformative angle, from theme to decor to costumes.”
Light’s initial successes in this realm occurred with Wild Life, the roving dance party anchored by Disclosure, and Studio B, the genre-bending musical carnival built around Baauer. Then came Las-Stralia, where the Light crew really changed the entire club. “It’s already a pretty malleable space, with all those screens and projection mapping a ridiculous amount of content, but that really took over,” Comer says.
The thematic efforts continued with last fall’s Halloween Forbidden Ball, and more recently with Laidback Luke’s Super You & Me superhero-based party—where you didn’t even need to wear a costume, because you could get your picture taken at several setups around the club—and Claude VonStroke’s Birdhouse residency. Several events cross over to Daylight, also at Mandalay Bay.
“The key is getting the artists themselves to really get behind doing something like this,” Pettei says. “Their enthusiasm really sparks a lot of back and forth with our staff.”
Whether it’s something as simple as costuming for servers or more complex ideas carried out behind the scenes by the marketing team, getting the entire team involved in the theme creates a cohesive and comprehensive experience. “The marketing team definitely carries the ball across the goal line, but input from the entire staff plays into it,” Comer says.
The Light/Daylight team is working on a new local party that might not kick off until next year; Comer, Pettei and company want to make sure they get it right. We know for sure it will be fresh, fun, and tell some sort of story. “It’s never just one element. It’s a bunch of things working together in harmony and making the sum much bigger than individual elements,” Comer says.