Andy was one of the top club promoters in Toronto in the 2000’s. He, along with his partners Andrew Christoforou and Peter Weil, formed Mystery Entertainment and would later have ownership stakes in various nightclubs like Zubar in Burlington and Fiction in Toronto. Since 2013, Andy has moved down to Playa Del Carmen in Mexico to be Sponsorship Director at BPM and as manager of the Blue Parrot.
What do you miss most about promoting in Toronto?
– To be honest, I really don’t miss anything from the business side of it. Social media killed the love I had for event promoting in Toronto a long time ago. However, I do miss my business partners and the teams I worked with.
What is your best memory as partner of Mystery Entertainment?
– Winning our TNC awards of course! Best New Generation and Best Promoters if I’m not mistaken along with a couple others. In terms of memories specifically from the event side, I’d have to say the early years of weekly events at places like Afterlife, Lot 332, Jai Bar and Embassy have to be some of the best memories. Our entire crew of friends would come out week after week for about 5 years straight. It literally felt like a birthday party every weekend.
What don’t you miss about the Toronto club scene as a member of the industry?
– Well to be honest I think what I don’t miss can be applied to a lot of nightclub scenes around the world. The “Me” generation and the change in socialization behaviours has kind of killed what I liked most.
What does a typical week schedule look like for you in Playa?
– I don’t think I could ever refer to my work week here as typical. Running Blue Parrot is 24/7 hour job. Whether that means I’m in the office, on the venue floor, at the door or in the bar, we are open everyday and there is always work to do. I’m also the Director of Sponsorship for The BPM Festival and after taking the last 2 months off from that to refresh my mind, I’m back at focusing on making year 10 of The BPM Festival, the best yet. Exodus Las Vegas season 7 is around the corner on the weekend of May 18-23 so our team is getting organized for that also. You may find me working from home or the office at anytime of the day, any day of the week.
Would you say its very similar to promoting in Toronto or is it a completely different animal?
– Completely different animal here. This is a tourist town. Majority of our guests are in town for 1 week. So there is a stronger focus here on grass roots marketing than back in Toronto. Poster campaigns, billboards, word of mouth through locals and hotel staff along with social media and sites like trip advisor. Along with that we focus new weekly and monthly special events that are usually the biggest in the area so it keeps Blue Parrot top of mind with locals and tourists alike.
Is this a permanent position for you or are you planning to return to the Toronto club scene in the future?
– Right now Playa del Carmen is where I live, Toronto will always home. However, I can’t really seem myself getting involved in the Toronto club scene in the sense of opening another venue there. My time away from it has really opened my eyes to whats going on globally and has made Toronto less attractive to me in a business sense for nightclubs. I will continue to throw one off events back in Toronto and will always be open to business opportunities back home but probably none that involve a nightclub.
Ive known you for over 15 years, how do you see the club scene has changed?
– Listen I can go off on this subject but I will sound like the old, grumpy man. It is what it is, the world is changing. Not just the Toronto club scene. Young kids are growing up in a different generation then we used to. The way they enjoy music and socialize has completely changed. These are the 2 key ingredients to a successful club scene. Both are not as important to 19-25 year olds these days. Also, the Toronto scene used to have way more love from competing venues and promoters. Now the business is so fragile that competition has become fierce. Everyone is fighting over the same small demographic of people. The days of everyone in Toronto going out 3-4 nights a week are over. People are finding other ways to socialize. Whether this is good or bad, I think the business just needs time to evolve to support the change in mindset. However, I grew up going to clubs to meet new people and to hear good music. That doesn’t seem to be the focus anymore.
In as little as 5 years ago, people used to go to a nightclub to meet people and listen to the latest music. Now they have Tinder and Spotify. As a promoter, how challenging is it to reach millenials and get them off their phones and into a nightclub?
– I think the club scene has to evolve as people are not going to change now. We are more into our phones and social media than ever and it’s going to continue this way. Everything is at your finger tips, new music or a new girl friend. Clubs are no longer needed for those 2 things. Millennials have so much info at their finger tips, they know way more than any other generation did as the internet is and has been in their hands for such a long time. My generation and the ones passed, needed to adjust our old lives to the social world we now live in. Millenials only know this social world. So if you are a promoter who thinks you are going to get kids off their phones and into your club by doing the exact same thing you’ve been doing for years then good luck. Toronto is filled with a lot of smart people and experienced promoters. Someone will figure it out and I look forward to seeing what comes of it.
Where do you see the club scene in 5 years, will people be partying with an Oculus Rift on their heads sitting at home on their computer?
– Good question. I actually think things will go backwards from a technology stand point before anyone is wearing something on their head and partying. I see things going back to more of a party. Less focus on bells and whistles and more of a focus on good music and a fun environment. I definitely think there will be a decline in the festival explosion which hopefully will bring back some life to nightclubs. But I also think more people will party less where they live and travel more often for their party and social needs. I’m curious to see where Toronto’s nightclub scene is in 5 years.
What do you enjoy most about living in Playa Del Carmen and working at Blue Parrot?
– I live in a magical town. There are very few places on the globe that compare to the energy and vibe that is unique to Playa. I go to work in flip flops and nobody is here trying to be “cool.” My work commute is a few minutes by feet and I have access to fresh seafood and fruit along with a beautiful ocean steps away. It’s hard to argue with that. As for Blue Parrot, I’ve put a lot of time into this project. I moved my life for it and my partners and I invested a great deal into the property. Year 1 wasn’t easy but I really took the first year to learn about the town and how things work. My 20 years in Toronto’s nightclub scene were out the window when I got here. I had to reinvent what I know and learn a new way of thinking when it comes to nightlife. I’m happy to say as I go into my third year running the operation that we are moving in the right direction. We are the go to spot for tourists, locals and all major events in this town. I have a great team of over 100 staff and everyone is trying to work towards the same goal.
I know you’re coming off a massive renovation at the club, What can people look forward to this year at Blue Parrot? Any surprises coming up?
– Well first thing is that everyone only thinks of Blue Parrot as a nightclub. However, we are open daily as a beach club and restaurant. We have a fresh and organic restaurant right on the beach with an open kitchen. There has been a strong focus on the food aspect. Something that has never been a priority at the old Blue Parrot. We have a beautiful pool, great beach and refreshing cocktails. When night falls, that’s when Blue Parrot transforms into the largest bar and club in Playa del Carmen. Some are also surprised when I tell them that we are a great wedding venue. Destination weddings are very popular these days but people end up getting married at an all-inclusive with the entire hotel watching. We offer you the destination wedding in Playa but in private. Last but not least we will continue to book the largest djs in the world throughout the year. Some upcoming shows include The Martinez Brothers, Nicole Moudaber, Timo Mass, Stefano Noferni, Marco Carola, Sasha, Lee Foss & of course Blue Parrot will be the home to the biggest events of The BPM Festival over 10 days and nights in January 2017.
If people are planning a trip down there either this summer or for BPM this winter, how can people get ahold of you so that they can have a blast at the club or crash at your place lol?
– For all inquiries regarding Blue Parrot, I can be reached directly at email@example.com. For BPM Festival sponsorship opportunities please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for your time Andy, we cant wait to have you back in Toronto someday soon!