The most important names in the cutthroat world of UK promo

One in one out


Some call them events co-ordinators. Others call them promoters. A dirty word to some, but they are the people that assure you have fun at uni.

But who are the people behind the artwork and flyers and cheesy statuses, guaranteeing “the best night of your life”? We profiled some of the most notorious promoters in the country.

Joshua Small, 22, Oxford

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Nickname: JS

Events: Fuzzy Ducks, WeLove, Lost In The Zoo.

Known for: My shit beard.

Uni: Oxford Brookes (“dropout”).

Celebrities met: All the Z listers you can imagine. We had Katie Price at fuzz the other week. That was weird. All the Geordie Shore, MiC, love island, TOWIE lot.

Fave vodka: Snow Queen. It’s this new Kazakhstani brand. That on ice with a bit of lime is the dream. They don’t sell that in the little Waitrose up the road so more often than not Waitrose own brand will have to do – an exceptionally middle class problem.

Louise Johnstone, 26, Cambridge

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Nickname: Not one I’m prepared to share.

Events: I run Big Fish Ents, Sunday to Thursday clubbing in Cambridge.

Known for: The most beautiful people, brilliant drinks deals and banging tunes. Every week.

Uni: Cambridge.

Celebs: I know some celebs but they will remain nameless.

Fave vodka: I am a gin girl personally, Bombay.

Lewis Wildridge, 26, Leeds

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Profession: Director at Voodoo Events.

Events: Monday – quids in at Pryzm, Tuesday – Space Tuesday’s, wednesday – Antics at Pryzm, Thursday – Thursday’s at Space, Saturday – Projekt at the O2 Academy.

Uni: Leeds Metropolitan University.

Best known for: Being friendly (although that’s very quickly being overtaken by my puppy).

Fave vodka:  I only drink brandy to be honest.

Celebs: I’m good friends with England cricketer Jonny Bairstow.

Sickest night you’ve ever put on: The Halloween Projekt at the O2 Academy, the scale of production, the attention to detail on our decor and stage set and the fact we fully sold out over a week in advance all made this the most unbelievable event we’ve ever run.

Jason Mallia, 26, London

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Nickname: Jay if that counts?

Where you work: Wicked Student Nights

Events: SNEAK at XOYO, RED CARD at Walkabout Wednesdays, Magic at Proud Thursdays. As well as all of the Official Nightlife Events for KCL, Westminster, UAL, City & UCL.

Uni: University of Westminster – Harrow Business School.

Best known for: London’s Coolest Student Night – SNEAK Tuesdays at XOYO.

Celebs: More of a hang out in the DJ booth than sit on tables with celebs.

Fave vodka: Absolut, but I prefer a Hendrick’s Gin.

Sickest night you’ve ever put on: Has to be Fabric this year with Danny Howard hosted by SNEAK for KCL – that was pretty special night. Hosting the covered Terrace at Space Ibiza was another amazing night also.

David O’Reilly, 36, Belfast

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Nickname: Rigsy, “blessed with a ridiculous nickname since the age of nine”.

Age: 36. But that’s okay, on a good day I can look up to two years younger.

Profession: I work promoting and DJing at club nights at The Limelight in Belfast and The Academy in Dublin. I also host radio and TV shows for the BBC and do a few other bits and bobs.

Events: Everything at The Limelight and The Academy – but Sketchy, Thursdays at The Limelight, is particularly close to my heart as I’ve been running that night for 15 years in various venues and had some of the best times of my life.

Uni: Queens in Belfast. Best days of my life. School was horrible, uni was great.

Best known for: Being incredibly neurotic, a total control freak, constantly on edge and generally hard work. Though I will always argue that’s passion and enthusiasm.

Favourite vodka: Who actually drinks vodka based on brand? Like pretending it doesn’t all taste the same? Is the whole point of mixers not to get rid of the taste anyway?

Celebs: Yes actually. I’m not naming them though, that’d be rare.

The sickest night you’ve ever put on: I should really say the times we had the likes of Mark Ronson, Calvin Harris or Annie Mac at Sketchy (all of those were £5 in) but the last good night DJing is always the one I remember most fondly. Just a night where I was the right amount of drunk or the crowd were randomly really up for it or I played some awful piece of music but got away with it or something like that.

Adam Stevenson, Liverpool

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Company: Cool It! events.

Events: Six nights a week in Liverpool. Block Party, Dirty Antics, Love Wednesdays, Solar, Rewind, Level Saturdays.

Uni: University of Liverpool.

Known for: Still being able to drink all the staff under the table.

Favourite vodka: Vodka is the devil. Pass me the Sailor Jerrys.

Celebs: I’ve met plenty of Z-listers, and once put Jamie Laing in the recovery position. But not friends. Would probably say some former staff and DJs who made it big. Alex Mansuroglu now at Kiss FM, Danny Howard at Radio 1.

Best ever event: Love Wednesdays is our biggest night in terms of numbers. Student Fest, our annual T-shirt event has a special place in the heart.

Charles Graham, 20, Oxford

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Nickname: Cinnamon.

Profession: Student.

Where you work: Varsity events, Oxford.

Uni: Oxford.

Favourite vodka: Grey Goose.

Celebs: Yes.

Sickest night you’ve ever put on: Azeem Ward live at the Emporium.

Dave Gardner-Chan, 32, Leeds

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Nickname: Chany.

Age: 32.

Profession: Club promoter.

Where: Voodoo Events.

Leeds – Monday: Quids In at Pryzm, Tuesday: Space Tuesdays, Wednesday: Antics at Pryzm, Thursday: Offset at Soba, Saturday: Projekt at O2 Academy.

Newcastle – Thursday: Beau Monde at Bon Bar, Saturday: Voodoo at Riverside.

Sheffield – Monday: Sunken at Tank, Tuesday: Luau at Viper Rooms, Wednesday: Hallamnation at Crystal, Friday: Socialite at Crystal; Saturday: Scene at Paris.

Manchester – Wednesday: Voodoo at Birdcage.

Uni: Leeds Met.

Best known for: I’d like to think I’m best known for working hard and running good parties, but the lads in the office would say for having the worst memory in the world and being stubborn.

Favourite vodka: I don’t like vodka, I prefer gin.

Celebs: I know a few but I would never name drop.

Sickest night you’ve ever put on: This Halloween at Projekt in Leeds was one of the most special events we’ve run. The stage set took a week to build and 2 days to programme the screens. Music wise, our MK/ Cristoph Freshers gig at the O2 Academy last year was amazing and our Chuckle Brother’s Quids In event last week at Pryzm was definitely a highlight.

Tom Packham, 25, Aberdeen

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Nickname: Rack’em Stack’em.

Profession: Promoter/Event Manager.

Workplace: The Underground Nightclub, Aberdeen.

Nights I Do: Carwash Tuesdays, Awesome Sundays. Also Saturday resident DJ in the Abercrombie Bar and cover DJ at Campus Aberdeen.

Alma Mater: University of Aberdeen.

Favourite vodka: Absolut or Smirnoff Black.

Celeb friends: JP McGivney (apparently). On good terms with acts we have booked in the past particularly Aaron Chalmers and Vicky Pattison from Geordie Shore.

Sickest Night you’ve ever put on: Carwash Paddy’s (17th March 2015), featuring actual leprechauns (well, dwarves) or the Wolf of Wall Street Party (3rd November 2015), featuring dwarf-tossing and making it rain money.

 Jack Wilson, 25, Lincoln

Profession: General Manager.

Where work: Major Label.

Nights: Union at Home, Entourage at Home, Superbull at Moka.

Uni: Lincoln Uni.

Best known for: Earpieces, clipboards, refusing entry, queue jumping and giving people jobs on the spot.

Fave Vodka: Prefer a rum but easily pleased with vodka.

Celebs: Not personal friends but have worked with some great names for our nights. Alex Mytton loves to DJ an Entourage.

Sickest night you’ve ever put on: Every Halloween we run a Zombie Apocalypse pub crawl which has ended up with a queue over three streets which is pretty cool. We also make sure we go all out with our themed nights. Memorable ones include a Wolf of Wall street where we had stock market drinks, dancers strapped with money, casino tables and even a human dart.

Joe Jackson, Birmingham

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Nickname: Joe Vodbull.

Age: “11 years in the industry.”

Profession: Vodbull Manager / DJ.

Where you work: Vodbull UK and Fab.

Events: The Monday night social @ 6, Stupid Tuesday @ Players, Sports Night On Tour @ many places, Vodbull UK @ Snobs, Fab @ the guild.

Best known for: Anything with an orange bull on and sometimes wearing pink.

Favourite vodka: Smirnoff, but only with red bull.

Celebs: The Stig, and Armin Van Buuren wrote on me with a sharpy one time.

Sickest night you’ve ever put on: End of term Vodbulls are always another level of insane.

Andy Hoe, 43, Nottingham

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Nickname: My wife refers to me sometimes as Lord Hoe, because some friends bought me one of those titles for my 40th…. she does also call me many other less pleasant names though.

Profession:  Poor man’s Peter Stringfellow/owner of Ocean.

Where you work: Ocean, Nottingham.

What nights you do: Weds night for Trent Uni, Friday for Nottingham.

Uni: I didn’t go, I was supposed to go to Leeds many moons ago, but sacked it off and became a DJ. Turned out alright in the end.

Best known for: My poor taste in music as a DJ, if it’s pop… it’s in. And my infamous Erection Section at the end of the night, 30 mins of epic pop ballads. Think Enrique – Hero, or anything by Westlife and you’re not far away.

Favourite vodka: I’m a rum drinker, my current tipple is RL Seales 10 year Barbados Rum, just with ice. Vodka is for pretentious people who like sparklers on their bottles [wink].

Celebs: I wouldn’t exactly say friends but I do have his number and email: The Hoff, and he does follow me on Twitter. He also told me I had a nice ride when I picked him up to come to the club. Imagine that, Knight Rider tells you you have a nice ride. Life ambitions fulfilled right there.

Sickest night you’ve ever put on: Definitely, without question the night I booked the Hoff as surprise and literally didn’t tell anyone, even the staff. He just rocked up and walked on stage and the whole place went mental.

Joe Slingsby Hunter, 21, Oxford

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Nickname: The Viking.

Profession: Student, promoter, bricklayer in summer.

Where you work: Joe Eskimo, The Ox Events

Events: Ox Events.

Uni: I’m still at Oxford Brookes balancing my degree with my job.

Known for: Being The Viking, tall, blonde and handsome.

Favourite vodka: Smirnyyyyy!

Celebs: Sam Zappi.

Sickest night you’ve ever put on: Whatever I touch.

Youssef Loutfi, 21, Bath

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Nickname: Youssi, Youss, Youheff, Yousless.

Profession: Event Manager/Nightclub promoter.

Where you work: Currently at, Second Bridge Nightclub.

Events: Monday nights, MNB.

Uni: Bath and currently studying in Cardiff.

Best known for: Getting far too excited when I win at Fifa (my housemates have videos).

Favourite vodka: Ciroc, red berry.

Celebs: I don’t know if I’d call it friendship, but I got quite pissed with Alex and Alik from MIC, last time they were down at MNB. I was also sat at the same table as Scott Baldwin, the Welsh rugby international last night at an event in Cardiff.

Sickest night you’ve put on: Probably has to be Secret Garden Party in the summer, usually the last MNB of term, we turf the whole club out and turn it into a bit of a festival.

Christian Samuel, 22, Cardiff

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Nickname: Cwish.

Profession: Events coordinator.

Works at: Paper Agency.

Events: Ministry of Sound student tours (UK), Smack (Cardiff), Splott warehouse (Cardiff).

Uni: The sign said long haired freaky people need not apply.

Best known for: Viral Facebook campaigns.

Favourite vodka: No preference.

Celebs: None to mention.

Sickest night put on: Chase and Status at Splott Warehouse.

Millie Galashan, 20, Glasgow

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Nickname: Millie is a nickname.

Profession: Bookings Manager for Society Wednesday’s at Viper

Uni: Economics and Sociology student at Glasgow University

Best Known for: You’ll have to meet me to find out, can’t give away all of the good stuff.

Favourite vodka: I’m more of a Gin girl.

Celebs: Do Rugby players count?

Best night you’ve put on: Thirsty Apres-Ski is always my favourite. Think snow machines, champagne sprays, and live saxophone solos.

Mike Hesketh, ’21 ;)’, Newcastle

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Nickname: Mike Mishmash.

Profession: Director.

Company: Mishmash Events.

Events: How much time have you got? ICE CREAM Tuesday At TupTupPalace, NAKED Wednesday at HouseOfSmith, REHAB Wednesday at Floritas, REBEL Thursdays at ThinkTank, ADVENTURES Thursdays at Digital, DP (Dirtypop), Fridays at O2 Academy, HUCCI Fridays at Beyond (Our 1st and longest running event!), LOVE SATURDAYS Digital Saturdays.

One off events include: NORTHERN LIGHTS, ELEKTRIQA, MODULE, RUB A DUB DUB, BATTLE OF THE UNIS BAR CRAWLS, PROJECT X, and our all new exciting brand KIDNAPPED, coming in 2016.

Uni: Marketing at Teesside.

Best known for: Bringing the cream of all types of events to Newcastle.

Favourite vodka: Random question, Ciroc id say but the amount of Russian Standard I get through at Digital is ridiculous.

Celebs: Does Chris Williamson count?

Sickest night you’ve put on: I would have to name three, sorry. Firstly Northern Lights 2014 which sold out with 7000 people in Times Square (See picture). Second, Hosting the first dance event of its kind inside the corridors of the Sage Gateshead at Xmas last year with Above&Beyond and 2500 people overlooking the river Tyne. Finally, Putting on Disclosure twice at Digital was also an honour, such nice talented lads who deserve all the success they have! Wish I could persuade them to come back.

Sam Zappi, 21, Oxford

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Profession: Semi Pro Footballer and Club Promoter.

Where you work: The Ox Events.

Events: The majority.

Uni: Oxford Brookes.

Known for: Running Oxford.

Favourite vodka: Glens.

Celebs: Georgia Toffolo.

Sickest night you’ve ever put on: Gentlemen’s Fight Night 2015, May Day 2015. Fuzzy Ducks 2010-2012.

Ali Van Mehrkar, 25, Bath

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Nickname: Arms.

Profession: Difficult to pin down.

Where you work: Discotheques located mainly in Bath, London and Bristol along with churning the corporate ladder midweek.

Events: Origins, MNB, Forever Fridays, Throwback, Redlight, Klass.

Uni: Bath.

Best known for: Pre 2011, my nose. Post 2011 – lolly pops and headbands.

Favourite vodka: Jack Daniels. Honey.

Celebs: The lead singer of Origins Sound.

Sickest night you’ve ever put on: Probably having Dusky play for us in 2013 – but I’d say our upcoming Origins series will be our best yet. Next up we have our return to moles with Patrick Topping & Third Son.

Piers Rhys-Lodwick, 25, Oxford

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Profession: Events manager, Varsity Events (Oxford).

Events: All Oxford uni nights at The varsity club, The Bridge and Emporium.

Uni: Never floated my boat.

Known for: Ruining people’s nights with free jugs and unnecessary all night after parties.

Favourite vidka: If I had to I would say absolute but more of a gin or whiskey drinker if I am being honest.

Celebs: I have taken Mark Crown and Piers from Rudimental out in the Alps and partied with them at a house party. Got pretty messy with Jon snow and Samwell Tarly (Game of thrones) plus the directors and smashed shots with DJ fresh.

Best night you’ve put on: Either my first party I held when I was 17 I ran a massive under 18 taking on the best promoter in the city or the black tie mayday ball at bridge last year.

Ryan Keary, 30, Sounthampton

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Nickname: Keary.

Profession: Director of DBP, Soundclash Festival, Owner of Switch, Southampton.

Work: Across South-Coast as a booker, Switch Southampton, AAA Southampton Uni’s, Brighton Uni.

Events: Juiced Fridays, WH Saturdays, Official Freshers programmes for Southampton Solent, Southampton & Brighton universities – arranging Fresher week events including Fresher Balls. Soundclash Festival – 15,000 cap festival – twice a year – May & September. Voted for Best Small Fest & Best New Fest at National festival awards this year – we’re all headed to the awards this Thursday to see how we got on.

Uni: Southampton Solent Uni, studied Journalism.

Known for: Probably Carnage, was Southern Area Manager from when it launched in 2005 to 2014. I left the company to concentrate on setting up, Soundclash Fest & Switch – however still remain very good friends with the guys there. Hopefully it time, our working legacy will be based around Soundclash Fest . We’re pretty excited about where the brand is heading.

Vodka: Pineapple Ciroc with Appletiser – it’s a taste sensation.

Celebs: I’m pally with a fair few DJ’s but i worry they are only my friend because we give them £1000s to play a few songs once in a while [wink].

Sickest Night: Soundclash. Literally months of hard work and preparation had gone into attracting large crowds from all genres across 5 stages and putting them in one field, making them party together for the day. The weather was amazing, the atmosphere was electric and its the first time for a long time we all put ourselves out on a limb and challenged ourselves. It was scary, exciting, but really rewarding – whilst teaching us all lots of lessons along the way!

Let the games begin.