Beautiful Nights and Purple Funk (Australia) have teamed up to throw the ultimate Prince party.
W2AUS: The Prince Anniversary Party will take place 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. May 31 at The Hi-Fi, 125 Swanston St., Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Marcus Scott, of Beautiful Nights in Chicago, will be the host. DJ Phil K and special guest DJ Philvester will be featured on the turntables all night long. Tickets are $25, plus a booking fee (AUD) and this is an 18 and over event.
The night's theme will celebrate the one-year anniversary of Prince's Welcome 2 Australia Tour stop in Melbourne. Highlights will include, songs, concert footage and music videos from Prince and related artists; special cocktails; a “Sexy MF” contest (with three categories including “purple,” “Princely” and “sexy”), with prizes donated by Seattle Artist Troy Gua and a special performance by Scott.
“This is a purple night that you are never going to forget,” said Party Organizer Sofie Hendrickse, who has been a Prince fan since 1981. “So 'let's get crazy! Let's get nuts!”
The event was the brainchild of Hendrickse and Karen Parrish, both of Melbourne. The two met last year in Parrish's “Princepirations” Facebook Group which she started in May 2012 after seeing Prince on the Welcome 2 Australia Tour. This will be the first Prince party hosted in Melbourne, according to the pair.
Hendrickse said the idea was formulated when she made a comment on the page that she thought someone in Melbourne should throw a Prince party, as a way for local fans to “cope” with only seeing him in concert intermittently. She added that he has only been to Australia three times in the last 20 years: The Diamonds and Pearls Tour (1992); World Tour (2003) and Welcome 2 Australia Tour (2012).
She said Parrish, who has been a Prince fan for 33 years, joined in the online conversation and assured her that they could make it happen. The two had never met in person, but, not long after that exchange, they were on the telephone brainstorming and discussing ideas. They launched Purple Funk (Australia) as a business venture and “the rest is history.”
Hendrickse added that his last stint in Oz left many fans with what she called “P.P.D.,” or “Post Prince Depression,” especially since he started touring the United States earlier this year.
“Melbourne went into a frenzy” when Prince had his afterparty at the Hi-Fi last year. More than 5,000 people lined up to get inside, but, only 900, including Hendrickse, got in. While he did not perform that night, he did DJ for a bit (with DJ Rashida) and she got the chance to meet Cassandra O'Neal, who was then a keyboard player in Prince's band. When the ladies approached the club with the idea for a Prince party, the booker was very interested, Hendrickse said.
They have promoted the event through the W2AUS Facebook event page, Twitter, the Purple Funk (Australia) Web site (purplefunk.org) and press releases to radio and print media. There has also been strong word of mouth in their local Prince community.
In addition, there has also been a whirlwind of planning including hiring DJs and a photographer, selecting music videos, concert footage and music for the party, arranging accommodations for Scott and much more,said Hendrickse, who has past experience as an event manager.
Parrish said it has been “months of hard work, late nights (and) networking,” but, that the response has been “fantastic.”
As of this writing more than 580 people have responded to their event page to say they will attend the party and that although that figure does not represent everyone who has already purchased tickets, sales have been moving “very nicely,” Hendrickse said.
"The fun part has been interacting with Prince fans on our event page, witnessing their excitement and feeling appreciated,” she said. “It's exciting to know that we are bringing everyone so much 'purple pleasure.'”
The ladies met Scott online when he joined the Princepirations page, around the time he was planning the very first Beautiful Nights Prince party in Chicago, hosted by Maya and Nandy McClean, better known as The Twinz, who originally hail from Australia. The three began talking and they asked him if would be interested in hosting their Prince party in Australia. He readily agreed, Hendrickse said.
Scott said he is grateful and honored that he was asked to host this party. He arrived on May 23 and will spend two weeks in Melbourne. He is looking forward to meeting a lots of new Prince fans at the party and sharing music and stories with them. He will perform a couple of times during the course of the night, but, that it will be “nothing extravagant.” He will focus on answering questions and taking pictures for anyone who is interested. His goal is to be a “respectful American representing Chicago.”
He also said he's not going to the party to “be Prince” and that he hopes people don't expect to see him in ruffled shirts, high-waisted pants and a purple jacket. In fact, he has another role model in mind for the night's party --James Bond-- and said that watching a 007 movie recently inspired him to likely wear a tuxedo to the event.
“I want to be a smooth operator,” he said.
To add to the festivities, Scott will be celebrating his 36th birthday May 25 and the ladies arranged a gathering for him at the Blue Diamond to celebrate.
He said that he is thrilled to spreading the Beautiful Nights message across the globe, but, he wants to let his stateside fans know that he hasn't forgotten them.
“Since we had the first (Beautiful Nights party last November), I've been in high demand,” he said. “I'm going constantly going to all these different parties. I tell people they will just have to wait (for another Beautiful Nights party). There's only one me, (but), I haven't forgotten about the Chi.”
He added that he hopes this bash will lead to more Prince parties in Melbourne.
Parrish, on her part, hopes that this event will have even far more reaching effects.