Different desert, same fun.
Neon Carnival, the exclusive annual late-night outdoor dance party with amusement park rides and games, made famous for its popularity amongst young Hollywood who flock to a private airport near Indio that is close to a major music festival each April, is coming to Phoenix on the same weekend as the Super Bowl, TheWrap’s Party Report has learned.
Don Julio Tequila and nightclub brand 1 OAK are joining Bolthouse to throw the first traveling version of the euphoric after party at Castles-N-Coasters, an existing amusement park in Phoenix. Invitations for 1,500 to 2000 guests will start going out this weekend.
At the most recent edition in April 2014, the newly Oscar’ed Jared Leto, Steven Tyler, Carmen Electra, Diddy and the Hilton sisters were among the revelers. Usher has pulled up in a tour bus in parties past.
“Super models were very excited that this is coming to Arizona,” Neon Carnival owner, ringmaster and producer Brent Bolthouse told TheWrap in an exclusive interivew.
“Longtime homies” of the Carnival DJ Ruckus and Politik will spin, holding true to the event’s format, which eschews live music in favor of big club DJs.
“We’ve been trying for years (to bring the party to other cities), producer and Neon Carnival owner Bolthouse said. “By some miracle it all came together.”
The Phoenix city council just issued final approval of the permits this week.
Although last-minute in pulling it off, Bolthouse’s production partner Jeffrey Best (who is simultaneously busy producing The Village at the Lift for Sundance this weekend) actually has a structural advantage in Arizona.
“It is an amusement park. It’s something that already existed,” Bolthouse said. By contrast, “an army of guys” living in trailers sets about building on the tarmac at a private airport in Thermal for three days to pull off the annual spring event.
Don Julio has been a significant player on the social scene surrounding the Super Bowl for the past several years. In New Orleans, Erin Andrews and Michael Strahan hosted the Casa de Don Julio, an elite tasting dinner with seats filled by high-profile guests including Bill Simmons. Later, Diplo DJ’d with Lil Jon late into the night in the most exclusive event on Super Bowl eve.
The year before, in Indianapolis, they threw a very late party in a space reminiscent of a “Hoosiers”-era gym that was still packed at the time this party columnist had to leave for an early morning flight.
“This year we wanted to innovate and do something completely unique and unexpected, which makes the collaboration with Neon Carnival so exciting,” a rep for Don Julio tells TheWrap. “We are looking forward to celebrating together in Phoenix and we encourage all attendees and Big Game weekend visitors at large to always drink responsibly and designate a driver.”
1 OAK will help to organize tables and seating, though few attendees ever sit down at this party.
“You can hit the dance floor with your favorite DJ and then go ride the a carnival ride,” Bolthouse said. “It brings out this really fun thing in people that you don’t normally get at other parties that night.”
The other parties that night that will now be looking over their shoulders, including ESPN’s monstrous 2,500-person party at Westworld northeast of Scottsdale and Playboy’s party at the W hotel.
As for the future, the Neon Carnival could still turn up at other entertainment hubs throughout the year. The team is going to scout Austin right after the Super Bowl as a potential site to run during the same time as SXSW or the Austin City Limits festival in the fall.