Celeb Event Producer Brandon Voss Chats with Kinkster MAG

Brandon Voss shares his thoughts on safety at clubs and large events, the future of nightlife, marriage, and success.
Voss Events, Brandon Voss, Gay Clubs

In light of the shooting massacre at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando in June we wanted to learn a bit more of what’s going on with safety and security at clubs and large events. We also wanted to learn more about the state of nightlife. So who better to connect with than Brandon Voss of Voss Events, a leading marketing and production company based in New York City. For years Voss Events has been building exceptional experiences for brands and consumers through lifestyle, nightlife, and entertainment programs.

Gay clubs, bars, and events have typically been considered safe havens for LGBTQ party revelers. In light of the tragic events in Orlando on June 12, how have venues, promoters, and producers changed how they plan for safety?

All the venues we work with have taken major steps to address security concerns. The steps we took during Pride this year were substantial and we’ve kept those same protocols in place. What happened in Orlando would be near impossible at one of our events as we screen everybody at the door.

What might you recommend to party goers who may feel uncomfortable about going out, especially large events? Are there any safety strategies you might recommend?

If you let these nut jobs scare you into submission then they have already won. Go out and enjoy life..it’s too short not to.

You were quoted in the New York Times earlier this year about the state of gay dance clubs and nightlife. The huge club experience and the parties every night of the week which were common during the 90’s seem to be a thing of the past. Some have said attendance has waned, technology is connecting people in other ways, and music is more readily available outside of a club. How would you define the current state of nightlife?

My opinion hasn’t changed. Nightlife, of course, still exists and probably always will – it’s just different now. While in the 90s people went to giant nightclubs on a regular basis, today they prefer special events and experiences or to just visit the local gay bar.

Credit: Voss Events (Andy Cohn & Brandon Voss)

What are party-goers looking for these days when they go out?

You really have to provide people with a unique experience to get them out. The days of putting a DJ in the booth and charging $20 to get into a nightclub are over. People want unique special events and performances. Our Halloween, Drag Race, Pride and holiday parties are a huge success but I’d venture to say if I tried to open some weekly Thursday nightclub party with a DJ that it would be a very hard sell.

This year you have really taken over Fires Island Pines; from the boisterous Drag Brunches, steamy Bathhouse Party, and the Pool Deck Performance Series. How has it all been going?

It’s been great! It’s such a special place so it’s pretty cool to get to lend my creativity out there. Working with the new owners to bring the Pines back to its heyday is pretty cool. It’s also a really fun place to do events because you don’t have to operate within all the confounds of NYC. It’s a very carefree atmosphere. The Bathhouse Party, for example, is difficult to pull off in the city. In Fire Island anything goes!

We’ve been hearing about the long lines extending around the corner here in New York for the Drag Brunches! Congratulations! How did your partnership with Señor Frog’s come about?

They approached me at one of our networking events at W Times Square and were curious about how to reach the LGBT demographic. I always thought of Señor Frog’s as a super straight tourist chain with women running around in bikinis. I was impressed with their initiative to reach this demographic. I racked my brain on what would work there and, of course, decided on drag queens. They just seem to be the perfect mix for the crazy party atmosphere the brand promotes. And the combination has worked out beautifully. It was such a success in NYC, we immediately expanded to Vegas and Miami.

So now Señor Frog’s Drag Brunch is in New York, Miami, and Las Vegas. Any plans yet to take the brunch to some of the restaurant’s other locations?

We’re considering Puerto Rico and Orlando. Most of their other locations are in Mexico and the Caribbean where drag talent is limited…maybe in the future. I’d love an excuse to fly to the Caribbean on the regular.

What does it take to make an event extraordinary?

Attention to detail.

What has been your most challenging event or party to produce?

Our annual Halloween party at Madame Tussauds is quite the challenge. It’s so massive and spread over eight floors. We have to build out everything from scratch…lights, sound, bars, ice, cups, mixers, literally everything has to be brought in for 2,000 people. It’s a huge undertaking but the result is crazy fun!

Credit: Voss Events (Milk, Brandon & Prez Hilton)

What has been your most rewarding event or party to produce?

I love producing the Drag Race events. I’ve worked with RuPaul’s Drag Race since Season Two so I’ve become really close with all the girls over the years. We all have a blast together.

You’ve been in nightlife and events for a long time, to what do you attribute your success?

Ability to adapt and reinvent. Señor Frogs Drag Brunch is a perfect example of the changing nightlife landscape. If you asked me five years ago to throw an event at Señor Frog’s I would have laughed. Giant nightclub parties are very difficult to pull off these days, so I simply don’t do them. I focus on large special events, performances and client-based projects. I do a lot with W Hotels and Equinox now which has been a nice change from nightclubs.

I understand you were with your husband for 9 years before getting married last September. How does it feel to be officially married?

It will be ten years this October. He’s a very patient man putting up with me in this industry. Honestly, we’ve been together so long long I considered us “married” but it was nice to finally make it official. It also helps with the taxes…

We like to ask all our interviewees, “What is something you have done that would be considered edgy, unconventional, or tight-lipped?”

Come watch what happens at Bathhouse around 1AM on Fire Island…

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Co-owner & VP of Operations, John is a thinker and a doer. He's a whiz at working through policies and procedures but loves taking time to explore the urban environment in which he lives and calls home. He also appreciates getting his fancy tickled.
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