With COVID-19’s remnants still apparent in the re-opening of NYC, Secret Summer the innovative 1000 person Farm-to-Bar Cocktail Festival will pivot to provide New Yorker’s a place to relax, rejuvenate, and re-group in a small, intimate, setting with loads of extra space, fresh air, and ample sunlight. We present SSUNDAZE. Secret Summer’s COVID-19 PIVOT is a multi-day health and wellness experience limited to just 60 people per session.
For a small fee NYer’s will enjoy a sun drenched Vitamin D Ivy Courtyard with COVID-19 spaced chaise lounges, comfy Adirondack chairs, health and wellness panels, spa pop ups, farmers market, and mindful meditation sessions, health expert workshops, complimentary fresh pressed juices, and complimentary farm-to-bar cocktails. In addition a variety of acclaimed chefs/NYC restaurants, local farms, interactive art installations, experiences, vendors, sweet beats and live music on the Main Stage during the sunset happy hour. Set upon the lush backdrop of the iconic FOUNDRY LIC this is the crowd free escape we all need.
A boundless journey of sensory and visual imagination at this 3rd annual festival highlighting sustainable seafood and farm fresh cocktails. The Foundry set the scene for this Arctic chic event. The historic venue is a fully-restored 19th century building, which boasts 3,000 sprawling square feet of space offers stunning views of the Manhattan skyline along with a gorgeous indoor Greenhouse filled with delicacies from the sea, complemented perfectly with premium wines and spirits.
This year, Aquarius has partnered with Oceanic Global, a non-profit that engages new audiences in ocean conservation. They tap into universal passions to raise awareness for issues impacting our oceans and to provide individual and industry solutions that drive positive change. We are working with them to implement The Oceanic Standard to ensure a plastic-free event. CupZero will provide $2 cups for purchase upon entry to use throughout the festival.
Guests will have the ability to purchase seafood with sustainable offerings as deep as the sea, all of which will be recommended by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s rigorous Seafood Watch program. Festival-goers will be equipped with the latest sustainable seafood guides and have the opportunity to sample seasonal flavors by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Executive Chef Matthew Beaudin. Hudson Square’s Houseman Restaurant’s Chef Ned Baldwin will offer Fisherman’s Stew and more and Mattitaco will serve farm to food truck Oysters, Tacos and Moules Frites, courtesy of Chef Justin Schwartz. Ca’Pisci will make its festival return offering a rustic Italian menu featuring only sustainable fish. Salsa Pistolero will be on hand with an assortment of refreshing salsa flavors to snack on and My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream will hand out their sweet treats. MF Events will provide a local raw bar highlighting 100% local to NYC oysters and more…
The festival will showcase and serve up cocktails from the world’s most prominent spirits brands including COÇA PURA TEQUILA, Boukman Botanical Rhum, Koval, London Essence Co., KAS Krupnikas Nolet’s Gin, Chinola, Barrows Intense and Barrows Intense Ginger Liqueur. Q Mixers will be the official mixer, enhance the finest spirits and fresh cocktail garnishes will be provided by Square Roots, which is building a hanging Hydroponic Garden. Guests can also enjoy the Coney Island Brewing Co lounge with photo booth, and Owl’s Brew Boozy Tea And Botanicals, while Polar Seltzer, Harmless Harvest Coconut Water and sparkling probiotic drinks from KeVita will be there to help keep revelers hydrated.
This one-of-a-kind immersive experience, outfitted with floral and tree arrangements by Brenton Wolf Design, will also feature a winter séance and a symbolic sacrifice to the God of Aquarius, an art installation by HINT, outdoor fire pits and extraordinary fire breathers and aerialists. The evening will also feature a performance from the Brass Queens, the all female group that’s disrupting a male dominated genre. Guests can commemorate the magical evening with an impromptu photo shoot in the 4Five Photo Booth with fun props to kick your pictures up a notch. DJ Ryan Vandal will provide the soundtrack for the night in the Albra Room while DJ Samantha Michelle will take over the Main Hall. Who could ask for more?
ABOUT MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM SEAFOOD WATCH
The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch® program helps consumers and businesses choose seafood that’s fished or farmed in ways that support a healthy ocean, now and for future generations. Our recommendations indicate which seafood items are Best Choices or Good Alternatives, and which ones you should Avoid. For more information, visit www.seafoodwatch.org
ABOUT OCEANIC GLOBAL
Oceanic Global is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that engages new audiences in ocean conservation. We tap into universal passions to raise awareness for issues impacting our oceans and to provide individual and industry solutions that drive positive change. Read more at: www.oceanic.global.
ABOUT CUP ZERO
Cup Zero is on a mission to change the way we think about events and festivals moving towards zero waste one drink at a time. Cup Zero is a reusable cup service based in NYC. They deliver, pick up, wash, and store so you can focus on throwing a great party, without hurting the planet. Using a deposit system, cups get returned so they can be washed and sanitized for future use, keeping the venue clean, and plastic out of the oceans. To learn more, visit www.cupzero.com.
CHEF NED BALDWIN
Inspired by the word husmanskost, “everyday food” in Norwegian, Houseman is a neighborhood restaurant where chef Ned Baldwin serves clear-headed food that ranges from the familiar to the unexpected. housemanrestaurant.com/about
HighLife was tapped by Compass Real Estate to put on their 2019 Broker Holiday Party. Using element of the venue the HighLife team designed supplemental florals and even a holiday tree installation with silk, paper, and real flowers. The room was accented by warm candlelight, hand blown glass hurricane lamps, stainless steel lanterns and rustic gold votives. The food and beverage were the focus of the evening with an incredible assortment of delicious canapés, desert buffet, and holiday grazing table. The drinks were equally as impressive with holiday smoked Manhattans, spicy Pomegranate Rosemary Margaritas, and Holiday Apple Cider Moscow Mules! ‘Tis the season.
This is especially the case when Interview Magazine taps HighLife to re-imagine the Fleur Room as the iconic Studio 54. In collaboration with The Mavenry Agency the HL team brought together various instagrammable moments as mini WOW factors. Like the custom wheat-pasted step & repeat, the branded mirrorball stage, 54 dancers, disco roller girls, and who could forget the iconic white horse.
In comparison to the wealth of event and festival experiences that occur in NYC over the course of the summer (i.e., GovBall, Pinknic, la Luna), and many many more it is very clear to me that Secret Summer is by far the best festival in New York City. Below are the reasons why…
#1 THE PRICE
The price of Secret Summer depending on when you buy your ticket is $60-$150 (At the Door) most of the 1000 people who attend Secret Summer purchase a $75–$100 ticket because there are the most of those qualities. In fact in 2019 when we release tickets in April the first 100 $60 tickets SOLD OUT in 2hrs. That’s a testament to the strength of our following. That right there is your ROI and how to judge whether or not what you are doing is working. At Secret Summer all of your drinks are free all day! No other festival can claim this. The first year we actually gave the food away in the ticket price too but that was a huge disaster as people hoarded plates and left half eaten plates all over the place.
For example Pinknic charges you a $90 ticket for the privilege to then sell you glasses of Rosé at $15 a pop. They on top of that sell you a $20 ferry ticket which is actually $2.75 at the ferry…Then on top of that they had to cancel their Saturday event because of the heat and the mayors office issuing refunds (but many people never received that refund and had to write in to request it) so how do you sustain an event with that kind of bad blood…? Other festivals like GovBall everything is for purchase and at a price of $120 plus everything you spend your budget goes up sharply. Then there are the raves in NYC where you pay a very cheap price to be crammed in a small warehouse etc with 7k other sweaty people gyrating. If that’s your thing. At $60 that’s a good value but again nothing is included.
#2 THE QUALITY OF THE DRINKS
To qualify as a cocktail it must have 3 ingredients. 2 is just an emergency and 1 is a problem. Its no secret that the cocktails at Secret Summer are of the highest quality. What Secret Summer does that is so unique is that we pair major liquor brands with ingredients from local farms to create pure magic in a glass. The freshness and quality are evident at first sip. I have attended too many other events and liquor expos where the quality of cocktail is basic and not about the complete experience. From House of Suntory to Aperol to Aldez Tequila, and newcomer Chinola, what the attendee gets is not only exposure to brands they have never heard of but a connection to local farms in their community. This wholesome experience adds to the total picture and rounds out their opinion of the brand itself. In many ways this is why the brands participate.
#3 THE BRANDS, SPONSORS, & PARTNERS
To participate in Secret Summer, a brand has to meet the festivals Aesthetic and match the level of quality. This high level of brands and the integrity of their activations are precisely why the overall experience is so great. Brands that invest in the overall quality of their experience reap the rewards of a depth of brand equity and brand value. How nice it is to effect someone so deeply that they become a fan for life all because of their experience at Secret Summer
#4 THE VENUE
The Foundry in LIC is by far and away the best event space in NYC and an Instagrammer’s dream. This coveted private venue is usually regarded for private events and weddings almost exclusively. This is a rare chance for 1000p to dance and celebrate under its turn of the century stone and ivy decked walls, its rustic cobblestone courtyard and myriad of nooks and crannies crammed with unique artists and eye catching interactions. Just 1 stop from Manhattan and a 20% Lyft discount ride away. The venue is hard to beat.
#5 THE PERFORMANCES
What is different about Secret Summer from other events is that there is no stage. The performances happen all around you all the time for the entire day. You may wander from the Albra room to the courtyard and back again thru the green house and see 4 different performances. This year we had High and Mighty Brass Band headline the festival by playing “MTV Unplugged” style in the round with everyone right there…Meanwhile Chinese dragons surprised guests while wandering thru the courtyard
Posing for pictures, delighting attendees, and interacting with everyone. The festival opened with 2 DJs spinning for a total of 4 hrs setting the mood before the band. In the other rooms guests found bespoke haiku typewriter poetry, the Secret Summer Clique of interactive dancers, hand crafted water color portraiture, psychics, face paint, magicians and more!
#6 THE FOOD
A Small hand selected group of food vendors supplied the eats for 1000p festival goers from BBQ to Tacos, Dumplings, Ice Cream, Mochi, Grazing Platters, afghan comfort food, and more…The wealth of local delights were everywhere and just a short walk away.
Secret Summer after 5yrs is still largely a secret to many people but something tells me this won’t last for long…
SECRET SUMMER RETURNS TO THE FOUNDRY FOR THE 5TH YEAR IN A ROW
ON AUGUST 4th
New York, NY (July 31, 2019) — Secret Summer, a one-of-kind farm-to-bar cocktail festival, featuring unique food and drinks and musical performances will take place at The Foundry in Long Island City (42–38 9th St) on Sunday, August 4th
The 5th annual fete and immersive summer garden party, produced by Tyler Hollinger of HighLife Productions, Andrew Maturana of RAPT Hospitality and Allison Du Val of The Foundry, will welcome 1,000 attendees and feature seasonal farm-to-bar cocktails, unique food vendors, and live musical performances throughout the sprawling venue that includes a 3,000 square foot Main Hall, Garden Courtyard, Greenhouse, Albra Room, and Terrace.
The festivalwill showcase and serve up drinks from the world’s most prominent spirits brands like Aldez Tequila, The House of Suntory, Westward Whiskey, Aperol Spritz, Gem & Bolt Mezcal, The Long Drink, Runa, Mr. Black and more…that will pair perfectly with The London Essence Co: Fine Mixers from distilled essences, and Blue Point Brewery.
“This year, we are excited to be partnering with local farms , Brooklyn Grange Farm (Brooklyn Navy Yard), Windfall Farm (Montgomery, NY), Gotham Greens (Greenpoint Brooklyn + Hollis Queens), Bowery Farming (Manhattan) Lucky Dog Farm (Hamden, NY) and Lani’s Farm (South New Jersey, Bordentown) for the first time to supply the Secret Summer festival cocktail program with some of the most beautiful, local ingredients the season has to offer.” said event producer Andrew Maturana.
KeVita Sparkling Probiotic and Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Co. will also be on hand, serving their light, delicious and refreshing beverages, while Polar Seltzer and Harmless Harvest Coconut Water will be there to help keep guests hydrated. Elmhurst Milked is offering a variety of delicious iced lattes and coffee with 100% plant-based milks. Guests will be able to drink sustainably with HAY! Straws made from natural wheat stems that are 100% biodegradable. Delicious food offerings include a sustainable raw bar by MF Events and the return of Crazy Taco Mex, Cash Only BBQ and newcomers including Nansense NYC and Mama Margarita’s.Secret Summer gets even sweeter this year with Tipsy Scoop serving liquor-infused ice cream treats up to 5% ABV to satisfy everyone’s appetites and compliment the flavorful libations.
This year’s performers include High & Mighty Brass Band, DJ Dastan, DJ David Hohme, and Mira Fahrenheit. Secret Summer has also teamed up with LYFT to offer festival goers a discounted ride to and from the fest.
Farm-to-bar uses the same ideology that the farm-to-table movement has brought to our food. These vibrant seasonal sippers are prepared with only raw, peak-season ingredients sourced from local farms and paired with the best quality spirit brands on the market. These locally sourced items are skillfully incorporated into the Secret Summer program in many different and exciting ways. Secret Summer’s farm-to-bar program is our way of sharing and celebrating a lifestyle of wholeness, happiness and a passion for quality ingredients and experiences.
About Secret Summer:
Secret Summer is the nation’s first and only “Farm-to-Bar” cocktail festival. It’s a celebration of sustainable mixology, fresh eats, music, art, dance, fashion and more. Vibrant seasonal sippers are prepared with only raw, peak-season ingredients sourced from local farms and paired with the best quality spirit brands on the market. The Foundry in Long Island City provides the perfect location for the party. The fully restored 19th century building boasts 3,000 square feet of raw space with a lush outdoor courtyard that will be open to ticket-holders offering up stunning views of the Manhattan skyline along with a gorgeous indoor Greenhouse. General admission tickets begin at $125, which includes unlimited cocktails and beverages and access to all rooms and performances. For more information, visit www.secretsummernyc.com
Honestly I think grooms get a bad rap sometimes. Too often in today’s society the groom is not involved in the wedding planning or the preparation for the ‘Big Day’. How often do you hear “Oh she did all the work… I just showed up.” Why are weddings now considered only something a woman can come up with or a gay man can design. Maybe we underestimate straight men. Maybe we put boxes and delineations on people in general that simplify things so we don’t have to change our own perspective on how we view others. Labels. Titles. Confines. Everyone tells you, you can’t do something until you do it. Then everyone can’t believe it happened until you do it again. The only difference is those people sit around talking while we go out and do the things. Just do it. Couldn’t say it better myself.
I had the pleasure and the honor of putting together my fiancés bridal shower. We got engaged in Champagne France so I came up with the idea of a French Countryside shower with all the trappings (including a mischievous French Mime). Actually, it was the Mother-in-law who came up with the mime idea. But the mime is actually a friend of mine. The kids are a special part of all showers and we wanted to acknowledge this.
Early summer 2019 HighLife produced and designed an intimate yet whimsical French countryside bridal shower for beauty and make-up industry trendsetter Lauren Maffettone. This gilded affair was designed straight out of Champagne where the couple got engaged.
From the selection of fine French cheeses, French wines, Champagne, and tea cocktails served in quaint baroque provincial china to the ornate golden flatware and lush floral arrangements this classic country side fare was a feté for the ages.
Classic Coq Au Vin was on the menu as well as gruyere croque monsieurs, summer tartines, beetroot cured salmon, Chevé croquettes, seafood tower, pepper cress tossed salad, and an over the top dessert bar for Marie Antoinette herself.
This event hosted at the Foundry in LIC featured a custom Bossa Nova playlist, French Mime, handcrafted water color portraiture, and model staff dressed as Parisian hipsters!
Inspired by the couples engagement in champagne itself HighLife sought to bring France to NYC. Working within the budget parameters we quickly gravitated to a more rustic countryside menu and look. The ethereal decor and whimsical cocktails and setting provided the perfect back drop for a bright, fun, relaxed bridal shower fit for a queen.
Opulence was on the menu for the decked our desert bar by SO SIMPLY SWEET with many different and unique choices. Not to mention the equally lavish cheese and charcuterie table. Each element had its place and the ultimate gem was the venue itself. The Fouundry LIC is a turn of the century restored iron foundry now premiere wedding venue.
Looking back on such a lush event probably the best kept secret that I myself am the groom. The Groom and the wedding planner. LOL what a perfect combo. Can’t wait for the wedding!
Next week the perfect storm. Whether you are from the south or the way south (Mexico) Derby Day and Cinco De Mayo back-to-back. The Mint Julep or the Margarita? Pick your horse and place your bets. No matted which side of the bar you are on these classic cocktails have stood the test of time for a reason.
THE MINT JULEP (MAY 4th)
The classic Mint Julep looks a little like this… beaded silver cup, crushed ice, sprig of mint and the bourbon…. Ahhh, can you hear the horses getting ready. Maybe its the excitement of the race or the festivities of the hats (oh derby hats) but a lot of ceremony surrounds one drink. The julep first got its start as a medicinal concoction used to settle the stomach. As a cocktail, it blossomed in the American South in the late 1700s, with a decidedly elite air, because not everyone had access to ice nor the silver or pewter cup in which the drink is served. Known as the unofficial drink of the South, the Mint Julep became the official drink of the Kentucky Derby in 1938. Nearly 120,000 Mint Juleps have been sold at the race every year since. That’s a lot of silver cups (which people at the race used to steal, so now they sell them instead).
So if on Saturday, you are tuning in to watch the race, enjoy Derby Day with friends be sure to have the iconic, perennial, best in breed Mint Juleps on hand for if your event/party does that you will always be sure to win, place, or show!
THE HIGHLIFE MINT JULEP
The Recipe 8 mint leaves + 1 mint sprig for garnish 1/4 ounce simple syrup (Best made ahead of time) 2 ounces bourbon, such as Rebel Yell or Ezra Brooks, Crushed ice, Mint Bitters
Gently muddle mint leaves and simple syrup in the bottom of a julep cup, then add the bourbon and pack with ice. Swirl it all around in the cup so that it gets frosty, then add more ice to the top. Garnish with the mint sprig and dash of mint bitters.
CINCO DE MAYO — Sunday May 5th
If the all day drinking of bourbon on Derby Day didn’t wear you out then the quickly following of Cinco de Mayo certainly will. Cinco de Mayo is not a celebration of Mexico’s Independence (which is actually September 16th), but rather a celebration of Mexico’s victory in the battle at Puebla on May 5th, 1862 during the Franco-Mexican war. An unlikely victory but thank god they did or we all might be drinking French 75s instead of the classic Margarita!
One of the earliest stories is of the Margarita being invented in 1938 by Carlos “Danny” Herrera at his restaurant Rancho La Gloria, halfway between Tijuana and Rosarito, Baja California, created for customer and former Ziegfeld dancer Marjorie King, who was allergic to many spirits, but not to tequila. So its understandable that the limited ways to disguise the tequila existed. But how did the Margarita become so famous. Synonymous with spring break, Mexico, and wild nights dancing on the table. Why did the Margarita get cast into super stardom? It’s a perfectly balanced cocktail, and like the Mint Julep has its own glass! There are few other tequila cocktails as well known nor do they have as many variations. Spicy jalapeño, Cucumber, Prickly Pear, Strawberry, skinny… the variations are endless. Which is why we are going to pick just one to highlight today.
4 ounces blanco tequila
4 Ounces of homemade mix (thats lime juice, lemon juice, sugar, and water to taste) err on the side of less sweet here
2 ounces of prickly pear syrup (this is the best because it adds a level of sweetness without being cloying)
Salt for rim (optional)
Lime wedge, for garnish….
VIVA LA MEXICO
No matter which side of the border you are on. There is a cocktail for you. Next weekend is one of the most exciting times to be in NYC and one of the most delicious. So wear that sear sucker and derby hat on Saturday and drink that Mint Julep! Then get up bright and early on Sunday and celebrate with sombreros and Margaritas in the streets even if you don’t speak Spanish, we all speak the language of great cocktails.
A Branded event is different and yet the same as a private event. The thesis is always the same — to provide the best time possible for your guests. With branded events however you want to maximize your brand’s exposure and impressions — and not all impressions are good impressions. So how can you do this?
GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR EVENT 1. Who are you inviting? The guest list, especially at a branded event, is of utmost importance. These are the people/press/influencers/VIPs you are trying to reach with your message/product. This carefully cultivated list should be filled with people who actually care about you and your product. Depth not width. What I mean by this is that the people who are your fans will propel your message and support you more than the person who is attending because they are getting paid/free drinks/doing it for their own agenda. Carefully think about those around you who are on YOUR side and will be YOUR champion.
2. Interaction/Immersion A branded event should be all about your brand. It is the star. it is the focus. From the minute your guests walk thru the door and beyond the star of the show should be your brand. This is a delicate line to walk because you want your branding to be present but not “in-you-face.” Classy vinyls on the window, signature cocktails, thematic color schemes all communicate your brands vision and aesthetic w/o saying “BUY ME.” Aggressive, in your face branding and advertising can actually have the exact opposite effect you are trying to build. Think about it like dating. Woo the girl/guy, charm her, flirt, tease, entice. Don’t try to get to home plate at the on the first swing.
3. The Staff. At a branded event every staff member is a brand ambassador. From the bartender, to the check-in staff, to the waitresses, to the DJ. Everyone is a representative for the brand so having a staff that is courteous, attractive, professional and attractive all help cultivate the premium experience for the staff.
4. Social “Call-to-Action” Because you want a lasting impact to stay with your guests when they leave you need a savvy social media plan. 1. Facebook event page- this is where all your info is displayed the where, when, why. 2. Ticketing confirmation and RSVP whether it’s splashthat or eventbrite these tools keep track of guests contact info (which is imperative to your mailing list) plus allow more branding activations on their pages 3. Custom hashtags allow you to see the impact of the event as well as cool photos people post themselves. 4. Snapchat geo-filters further propel this conversation outward on a variety of platforms. 5. Also what I like the most “Marco Polo” App which you can send custom video messages to all your attendees with announcements and then thanking them for coming. 6. Finally get everyone to follow your instagram and FB for further updates and news. Give your guests a little treat like a discount code on their next purchase or VIP access just for showing up at this event. Remember to seduce, charm, tease, your fans not go all in for the close right up front.
5. The Wrap Up So what’s next? Your branded event was a huge success, the venue was amazing, the decor inspiring, the staff charming as hell, and the whole thing went off without a hitch. Video. Text. Voice. These three pillars of marketing are the three content channels with which you should develop assets from your event to keep your brand on the forefront of people’s minds. Use your event vid to chop up into super 1min chunks for IG, Use stills as a little reminder of the great times your guests had, and finally follow up with a blog or an email thanking everyone for coming and give them a little extra discount on the side for being so super cool.
Events are one of the only ways I know to combine all of these things into one element. It’s all encompassing and totally immersive. These are the kinds of things that leave lasting impressions on people. Deep meaningful impacts because they touch the soul and something emotional within us. Seeking this deeper connection is much more meaningful than spreading all your marketing work to as many channels to as many people as possible without saying something meaningful. Depth not Width
NEW YORK SPRING FASHION WEEK IS HERE! NYFW is one of the most exciting times in New York City as prominent designers from all over the world come to premier their new clothing lines. HighLife Productions has worked with many brands in the past from providing cocktails and fine treats before and after shows to comprehensive event design and production. Take a look at some past HighLife Productions Fashion Week events below.
Author: Paul Erlanger, Intern for HighLife Productions