Photo from the popular EDM club Vanguard, which is now a partnership with… (Jorge Mercado )
Last week, Live Nation drew close to finalizing the acquistion of about half of the L.A. EDM promotion firm Insomniac. But that isn’t Insomniac’s only new partnership of note. The firm has just announced a new collaboration with the hospitality firm SBE on a new venue, Create, located in the former Vanguard space in Hollywood.
“Insomniac had done work in that space in the distant past, and they know and love the space,” said Costas Charalambous, the senior vice president of night life for SBE. “Now we can play with music, fashion, art and presentation for our clienteles. It’s a clean slate, and we can be spontaneous in taking all that to the next level.”
The partnership and name change comes after SBE purchased the Vanguard room and threw its first party, with the Swedish DJ Avicii, in February. SBE promised a full slate of dance bookings to accompany the interior revamp, but the schedule since then had been fairly quiet until now.
The new venue kicks off on May 11 with a set by the Dutch trance act Dash Berlin. Neither Insomniac nor SBE has publicly announced any further sets, but Charalambous said a full lineup of headliners and recurring weekly genre nights is impending.
With the collaboration, SBE gets a marquee talent buyer with Live Nation muscle for its third EDM-focused venue (alongside Greystone Manor and Agency), one far larger than either of those with three distinct rooms and an outdoor patio. Insomniac gets a second club-level room in L.A. (to accompany its own popular Exchange L.A., in downtown) to try out younger acts and give superstar DJs a flexible space for underplays in the heart of Hollywood.
The partnership is also apropos given each firm’s major recent plays in Las Vegas. Insomniac’s Electric Daisy Carnival is set to grow even bigger with an infusion of Live Nation money and logistical support (the fest moved there from L.A. in 2011), and SBE’s own SLS Hotel and Casino is slated for a 2014 opening, and will include many established L.A. dining and nightlife concepts. With Insomniac’s talent-buying acumen and SBE’s venue stable, “the partnership could be endless,” Charalambous said. “We definitely want to see where else it can lead.”
In the more immediate future, however, L.A. gets a new, flexible dance-music space that can veer between tableside bottle-service blowouts and GA floor space for underground nights. The upside of such a big and converted industrial room, Charalambous said, is the ability to transform the room to meet any artist’s specific vibe. Insomniac’s broad reach means they’ll have plenty of opportunity to experiment. “A drink tastes the same anywhere, but this combination of great music and ambience can make that drink taste a lot sweeter,” he said.
Al Walser calls his Grammy nomination a win for independents
The Lash whips into action downtown
Live review: Avicii at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
PHOTOS AND MORE
COACHELLA 2013: Full coverage
THE ENVELOPE: Awards Insider
PHOTOS: Grammy top winners