Robbie John Dean Explores How the Promoter Has Lead The Revival of a Sex Club Scene Many Thought Was Over Just 12 Months Ago.
Hi Jamie, How did you get involved in club promotion on the London scene?
I was also working with The Hoist at the time and became alarmed to witness scene that was dying on its feet. I already had some experience of club promotion and could feel what was missing, including huge gaps for younger customers. The explosion of the gay Apps market assured me that the potential was still there.
The Hoist were open to my ideas and it wasn’t long before new events were replacing older formats at the venue. I began working with other venues too, hiring them for private events such as our monthly pool and sports parties.
Do you see last year’s closure of The Hoist as a loss to the fetish scene or an opportunity for change?
The Hoist was an institution and a huge brand on the scene, but even though the new parties were bringing in greater numbers the faces were similar and the venue always retained its own distinct flavour and history. The Hoist had a frightening aspect for some younger people.
A move to Fire followed and shocked many at the time. How has this worked out?
The decision to close The Hoist forced the search for a new venue and Fire was one of only three clubs to have a SEV (sex on premises) licence in London.
Fire couldn’t have been more welcoming and trusted our experience totally, leaving us autonomous in terms of creative control and even allowing us to bring in our own team, including the bar and coat check staff.
You now host around 12 London parties every month. That’s a busy schedule, especially considering one Vauxhall promoter forecast the end of gay sex scene not so long ago.
He could well have been right. But it wasn’t the potential that was over, but what was on offer.
As a result we now work tirelessly to ensure each of our parties remain unique, current and appeal to fresh or wider audiences.
Customers make choices where to go out. Money is tight, to live, work and play – so it’s vital that customers receive what they are promised from each event.
We also like to give things back – a free drink at the bar, sweets and treats, or variety by mixing up the entertainment. You can’t rely on the same thing week in week out.
We work hard to offer the best experience possible.
How has this approach influenced your flagship Sunday event, the naked party SBN?
Top DJ’s Tony Latex and Lee Harris now take turns to fill the dance floor whilst the porn stars who perform now work in duos to ensure stage shows fully charged with sexuall energy.
We’ve invested in a new darkroom that now covers a space half the size of a 5 aside football pitch and changed how we market, adding an extra 200 customers a week. The average customer’s age is now 25-45 compared with 45 and over when at SBN was at The Hoist. The club feels more welcoming to new customers as a result.
Why did you decide to target some parties specifically to 18-40 year olds?
We realised that the fetish scene did not look attractive to younger gay guys who were looking to party and to have sex with people like them. They didn’t necessarily associate with sex venues where customers wore leathers or chaps, whilst at the same time some fetish clubs operated more like social groups than club nights.
Would you describe your clubs as attitude free?
Our clubs are definitely attitude free, but elitism has been a huge problem for the fetish scene in the past, often revolving around cliques and promoters who preserved power by making it difficult for new people to get involved.
All my customers are important and equal. Our clubs are for everyone and we always welcome new faces.
We don’t see photos of your parties in the gay press like we do with some other fetish events. Why is this?
A visit to one of our clubs is our customers private time. There is nothing to gain by publishing customers personal pictures.
How big is JamieHP’s community following?
We have a live database in excess of 28,000, 70% UK based. We receive many requests to take our parties overseas and elsewhere in the UK, especially from the north of England.
You co-promote the Friday night club OUT at the stylish Protocol club. How does OUT differ to your other club events?
OUT is open to everyone, gay, straight or bisexual. It’s the lightest fetish party we do and set in a commercial club environment. You can bring your friends, have a dance, cruise the darkroom or take part in the Amateur Strip contest. The door charge of just £1 for under 25s appeals to young up for it guys who are out for Friday night fun. OUT is a busy club that starts late.
You recently resurrected The Hoist at Fire for its 21st anniversary, retaining it’s ultra strict dress code.
That was a great night with familiar faces and a lot of newbies making an effort. It was an opportunity to dress up for an occasion and we are planning a more regular return, but we need to find the right home. We are also considering an international tour.
Are there any plans for more SexCircus events with Orange Nation?
Yes! Save the date Saturday March 2nd in your diaries. Plans are already underway but it’s all top secret just now so watch this space.
What advice would you give to anyone reading this but have so far been too shy to try out one of the JamieHP parties?
Join us at Fire for the Jamie HP 1st Anniversary Birthday Party. It will be huge celebration the Saturday before Christmas with a six live stage shows from your favourite porn stars plus plenty of other surprises.
And don’t be afraid to dip your toe in the water if you are tempted by a particular fetish or club night. We have plenty to try and you can can always chat through the options with others by following us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram (@JamieHPEvents).
Jamie HP 1st Anniversary Birthday Party takes place Saturday 23rd December at Fire Nightclub, (Mirror Arch Entrance), 6a South Lambeth Place, Vauxhall, London, SW8 1SP.
For further info and tickets visit: www.jamiehp.co.uk