Following its 2010 opening, Surrender Nightclub in Encore began booking high-caliber talent—names normally slated for the marquee weekend slots—for its Surrender Your Wednesdays industry night, which offered free admission for locals. That formula made it one of the hottest nights on the Strip, and continues to produce epic midweek parties featuring the likes of Skrillex, Afrojack, Calvin Harris, Eric Prydz, Steve Angello, Diplo, Porter Robinson, Steve Aoki, Lil Jon and A-Trak.
On June 5, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis will perform for the third-anniversary party. The evening’s festivities will also include the cast of Le Rêve, who will perform aquatic acrobatics in the nightclub’s pools. In anticipation of the milestone, Vegas Seven tapped Pauly Freedman, director of operations for Encore Beach Club, Surrender and Andrea’s, to reflect on Surrender Your Wednesdays’ remarkable run.
What have Wednesdays at Surrender meant for Las Vegas nightlife?
Wednesdays are a staple for the locals, first and foremost. We have offered great programming, everyone from Bruno Mars to Eric Prydz to Afrojack to Calvin to Skrillex, LMFAO, Aoki, Dada Life. … We’ve helped break a lot of artists that were coming up in the ranks, and they’ve had hits when they were residents with us. We’ve always teased the market by doing them on our Wednesday night so the locals get out there and say “Wow.”
How have you sustained the industry support?
It’s a handshake business. It’s all about taking care of people, and we’ve never lost sight. Whether we’ve had a huge artist with a high demand and high-ticket price or a celebrity star-studded event, we always made sure that we took care of locals. Locals know they can come to our industry nights and get in for free. Grey Goose is our partner, so the comp bottles on our Wednesday night is a premium product. It could be a huge Wednesday night during CES or even International Council of Shopping Centers trade show, [but] we’ll sacrifice the mighty dollar to make sure that that local group still gets that premium table.
How do you maintain the event’s relevance after three years?
It boils down to consistency, customer service, offering a good product and evolving. We’ve updated our lighting, we do special effects, such as lasers and pyro, we added confetti to it and we most recently pulled out all the carpet in the entire venue and put a wood floor in. You evolve, you put money back into the business and you don’t cheapen the product. Andrea’s is now our partner restaurant, and since that’s opened on New Year’s Eve, we’ve offered Wednesday night dinner programs for the girls. If you’re not ambassadors of goodwill, and you don’t take care of your core customers, you don’t have anything; you’re just a turnstile.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have an exceptional social presence. What do you consider when booking talent?
It’s the whole package. If they’re up-and-coming, do they have a good hit? [Macklemore and Lewis] already have one great hit, and while working on [booking] them we got lucky: They got a second one. They’re a no-brainer, and the fact that they’re very active in their social media is important to us, because you sometimes struggle with that with some artists. Our staff has a social media requirement also. On any given week, we get our own trend going in Las Vegas because we’ve got 300-500 staff members who do social media each week from Instagram, Twitter and Facebook posts.
Anything else planned for the anniversary?
We’re making it a three-week promotion. We’ve got the Macklemore live show [June 5], the following week we’re doing Akon [on June 12], and the following week after that we’re doing Nero and Morgan Page [on June 19]. It’s Morgan Page’s birthday, so we’re blowing it up big.