Hed Kandi, Markus Schulz, Stonebridge, A. Skillz, Cosmic Gate… This list of DJs sounds like a playlist on any up to date electronica addict’s iPod, but for Ben Brown-Bentley and the busy crew at Twisted Productions, these great artists represent the high caliber of chart-topping talent that Twisted Productions brings to Vancouver.
Ben co-founded Adrenaline Productions which pioneered alcohol free teen parties at some of the hottest nightclubs in the city and is currently in charge of Operations and Bookings at Twisted Productions. His party rocking expertise and astute business acumen made him the Surrey Board of Trade’s student entrepreneur of the year when he was 20 years old.
He currently studies Mechatronics Systems Engineering program at SFU and now reflects on his successes and gives some insight to his future plans.
VANCITY BUZZ: Prior to starting your own company, what aspect of event planning attracted you the most?
BEN BROWN-BENTLEY: I really had a passion for music; I played several instruments, unfortunately I wasn’t any good at any of them! So my dream went from being the next big rock artist to helping others pursue their dreams by hosting events. I’m really for the whole experiential part of event planning, creating those unique moments that people remember for the rest of their life. The best feeling is when the event comes together and you see hundreds or thousands of smiling faces doing something they love.
VCB: How did winning Entrepreneur of the Year affect your business?
BEN: It really boosted my confidence in my business, and I think confidence is one of the most important things in the business world. If you believe in what you are pitching, you can convince others the same. Having the recognition of the City of Surrey for what started as a fun side project really legitimized what I am doing. Who would have thought throwing parties and concerts would get me Entrepreneur of the Year?
VCB: What was the most exciting event that you planned?
BEN: My next event is always the next exciting thing I’ve ever planned. You have to keep it fresh in the ever changing world that is the music biz. We’re always going for bigger and better. One of the most fun events I have been involved with was our New Years and Halloween events at Science World. As I child I would have lived in that place if I had a choice, and now I come in and get to take it over and create very unique event.
VCB: Do you get to spend a lot of time with these superstars that you and Twisted bring in? Any unique experiences that you would like to share?
BEN: I probably spend the least time out of anyone in the company with the artists. It’s never been a huge thing for me, I’d rather spend my time meeting the people that pay to be at the show then the guys we pay to perform. I do have to say booking Infected Mushroom was a bit of a dream come true for me. They got me started on electronic music way back when; it’s the only time I’ve been a bit starstruck.
VCB: In the world of parties, music, dancing etc., there are probably a ton of really stressful logistical aspects that most party goers rarely see. Can you share a few?
BEN: Vancouver was giving the nickname “No Fun City” a while ago and it stuck, for good reason. This has been changing recently but it’s always a pain finding a new venue here, getting licensing, dealing with the city or police, liquor permits, etc. The big parts of the event that people see like the artists and lighting & sound is the easy and fun stuff, it’s all that technical work that has to be perfect that is the hard part.
VCB: With summer on the horizon, what event that you are planning are you looking forward to the most?
BEN: We always do some free outdoor shows that are a blast, just by donation type thing. Yacht parties are always great too, have a couple of those planned. Have one secret project we’re working on with some big American partners that I can’t talk too much about, but if all goes through it will be the biggest thing to hit Vancity in a few years! Hopefully I can share more in the next few weeks.
Follow Ben on Twitter: @BenBrownBentley