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Paint the town

Paint parties—imagine dumping litres of fluorescent paint on a rave—are selling out nationwide, thanks to the Facebook factor

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Paint parties—imagine dumping litres of fluorescent paint on a rave—are selling out nationwide, thanks to the Facebook factor

Early in 2009, while looking for a house-warming theme, Wellingtonian Floyd Morgan happened across a new iteration of an old idea—the paint party.

Sweeping the American dance music scene, the paint party concept is simple, primal and a lot of fun. Basically, attendees arrive at warehouse-sized raves dressed entirely in white. Several hours into the event hundreds of tubes of nontoxic, fluorescent paint are released into the crowd. The results? Well, one look at the photos says it all.

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Captivated, Morgan decided to organise a similar event in New Zealand under the brand Illuminate Paint Party. Having previously run the New Zealand Freestyle Footbag Nationals (competitive hacky sack) he knew a thing or two about event management, but with no real music industry experience he wisely brought on board several experienced advisors. In July 2009 he staged his first Illuminate Paint Party to an audience of 1,500 at Shed 6 in Wellington.

What’s remarkable, though, was that the event sold out a month prior—with no physical marketing.

“After seeing the videos of paint parties in America I decided the only way we would get the numbers we were after was to make a video of painted people having fun and get it to go viral,” says Morgan.

He hosted a miniature paint party at his house and documented the results. From there, photographs and video clips were posted online and, in Morgan's words, “the Facebook generation did the rest”.

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Following the first event, Morgan teamed up with rising Wellington event promotions star Jamie Templeton (aka DJ Dirty Needlez) who possessed what Morgan describes as “the vision and experience to take the party national”. With Templeton fronting the event brand, the party has done exactly that: over the past few months, events have been organised in Wellington, Dunedin, Christchurch and Auckland.

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Having already achieved a second sold-out night in Wellington, again at Shed 6, Morgan remains confident, yet tightlipped, about future plans. “Tell you what we're going to do next? That would be too easy,” he says. “We've got massive international expansion plans, but you'll have to join the Facebook page to stay in the loop.”