Social Avenue is a new socially distanced soiree taking place in Trafford Park in Manchester. Here we chat to Jorge Meehan and Brian Murphy from the brand about how they have orchestrated the events with new rules and guidelines to keep their audiences happy…
Hey guys, a huge welcome to DMCWORLD. Please introduce yourself, give us some background on how you got to where you are…
Hi, so we are Jorge Meehan & Brian Murphy. We’ve worked in the music & events industry for over 10 years. Starting off from running our own events and for other people and continued pushing forward and moved up to where we are today.
How did the idea for Social Avenue come to you? Who is involved?
Social Avenue was created for the simple fact that events were completely off the cards. Pretty much our full year plans for 2020 had been wiped and we had to do something! We had initially been working on Social Avenue around 2 months before the project was put into action. A lot of thought and hours has been dedicated by us and our team to make this work in the current climate and to make it work safely for people to enjoy events while the standard events are out of question. This series is supplied by our company JBM Music and our strong relationships we have built over the years with world-wide DJ’s and brands which will be featured at Social Avenue over the coming weeks.
What challenges have you faced to get this off the ground?
So many! Literally, where to even start. We have had to work extra closely with the health and safety team, the government guidelines which have been forever changing, the local councils and lisencing authorities. The measures we have put in place have been costly to say the least, but we have managed to get the green light and passed this off with the local authorities who are happy with our safety plans and actions we have in place from our own initiative.
How much legislation is there for this sort of thing or is it a case of you baring the brunt for being responsible and doing things right?
To an extent there is some guidance, but still lots of grey areas. We have followed any government guidelines that have been released, and continue to do our absolute upmost to make our event space the most safe and enjoyable for everyone who attends.
What measures will be in place to keep people safe?
We really have gone above and beyond to make this project work. We have limited capacity because of distance between each square for each social bubble, we have table service, we provide bottles of disinfectant for every table, toilets, bar area and the one-way systems even have hand disinfectant up and down them. If you walk around the site, you MUST wear your face mask but once back in your square you can take off and MUST remain in your square with your social bubble. There is much more we are doing behind the scenes and still working on making our event safer each and every time. Peoples safety and enjoyment is our main priority so getting these perfect means a lot to our team.
How have you approached the curation – who is your target audience?
The curation of Social Avenue is potentially not what anyone would have expected. We are as far as we know, the only social distancing event in the UK which is booking artists from the highest calibre as well as working with huge brands from across the dance music industry. We have kept our target audience very wide by working with multiple brands which host all different audiences, there is no doubt that in our Social Avenue series, there will be an event upcoming which suits everyone’s taste in dance music. We work with lots of amazing DJs and brands throughout the year, and we have continued to include them within Social Avenue and ultimately provide work at a very difficult time for all in the events industry.
Aside from music, what can people look forward to?
Since starting the Social Avenue series, our first initial thoughts were music, to be able to create something for event/music lovers to go to after being stuck inside for over 4 months. Since starting the series, we have listened and asked for people’s feedback and it’s been amazing! Some people enjoying a safe place to come and enjoy drinks and company in their social bubbles. Some coming for their favourite DJ, each time the atmosphere is different as mentioned before, the audience changes on each brand/event from one weekend being a young crowd to the next being an older crowd with a totally different vibe to the last! Our series is mostly about the music and being in a place where you can listen to it safely as well as have a great time doing so.
Have councils etc been helpful in helping you get this set up and off the ground?
The council have been really helpful in the way of offering assistance and guidance for our Social Avenue site to be the best it can be. Our health & safety team have worked very closely with the local authorities and continue to do so on a weekly basis to ensure we are maintaining our high standards to keep a safe and enjoyable event space.
What are you most looking forward to about the events?
The main thing is seeing people enjoy themselves again. To be able to go out and socialise and actually listen to some amazing DJs and performers. It’s really important for the social aspect to be brought back in to society, and we are really proud to be able to provide a safe, secure environment for people to be able to do this. Another great feeling about this project for sure is that we have provided around 70+ jobs per week for those who have currently had little or no work at all since the pandemic hit the UK so it’s a very humbling feeling to be able to provide this support to people. Also, we can’t forget about the 500 people who turn up at Social Avenue with a smile under their masks ready for a great day of music they have been eagerly waiting for since events where stopped for the foreseeable future.
Will there be more if these are a success, can you do them as the water changes for example?
Most definitely something we are already starting to put together/think about. Depending on how things do change and if events will re-appear this year at all will all depend on the length that Social Avenue series will run for. Plans are also in place for a (fingers crossed) COVID free summer 2021 season, and some great plans are already in motion for that.