Pelonkey Grand Launch Party

Last Wednesday. September 16. LIVE at 10th & G.

Were you there? Have you recovered yet?

Did you miss it? Are you still crying yourself to sleep?

Our Grand Launch Party was aMAHzing. What a night. What an awesome group of people and unbelievable support. Who’s down for a little recap?

If you were at the party, you either met me, your Pelonkey Eagle Eye, or saw me walk awkwardly on stage to accept Nicole’s thanks and give her flowers – I’m not on on-stage person, I’m a BTS, other-side-of-the-computer person – and this was my day-long Grand Launch experience.

6:03 am

Early morning reveille. Especially considering last night’s office work lasted til 10 pm. Not including my 1.5 hour commute back to VA.

6:47 am

Showered, hair prepped, bags packed for later.

7:00 am

Have to finish making name tags using a template that doesn’t work. The bane of my Grand Launch prep so far. Found out my color printer at home is working again, so I don’t need to rush to the office to print the leftover tags.

Simultaneously scheduling a Staples run for extra name tags, Costco run for green room beverages, pickup of the Step & Repeat, printing more signs, scheduling social media posts on Hootsuite, and finalizing a slideshow. Oh, and my gas tank is chilling on Empty.

8:49 am

I was wrong; color printer not working. Name tags took way longer than expected (everyone better wear these). Plan B!

9:15 am

Out the door with everything stuffed into my car in record time considering 20 minutes ago I wasn’t wearing pants.

9:32 am

Step & Repeat acquired! Success #1 of the day.

10:30 am

The rest of my errands went smoothly, and I can take off for DC.

11:04 am

For the first time maybe ever, I am actually relieved to find traffic on route 66 because it is the first time I’ve been forced to slow down in about a week. Here I have my second freakout of the day; the first was that damn printer, the second was the enormity of the impending event. Nbd.

12:37 pm

I will skip over the boring details of arriving at the office, receiving two packages, running out of ink the second I finished printing my last name tag, and getting a $16 parking ticket for only one hour in the garage.

1:00 pm

It’s venue time, baby! All eerily quiet so far because an event is going on upstairs, and we can’t start setting up yet.

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1:14 pm

I am trying unsuccessfully to iron table cloths and runners on a plastic table with an iron sans water on low heat. Machines: 1, Eagle Eye: 0.

1:30 pm

Setup can begin. We are tackling the Step & Repeat first, which was a workaround to begin with, so trying to construct our own stand has been an ordeal. And when I say “we,” I mean Nicole and her friend Cenk, while I sit at a nearby table assembling name tags (seriously, everyone better keep these forever). Ciera is running around like a crazy person and it’s not even 2 pm.

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3 pm

So far, so good! Setup flowing smoothly, vendors should be arriving now.

3:02 pm

Chaos. Vendor load-in times never end up how you originally scheduled.

4:41 pm

This place is actually looking like a party site. Some performers are starting to arrive, green room is looking lived-in, and Ciera is officially going to put holes in her shoes with her running back & forth.

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5:00 pm

Nicole’s makeup is almost done, downstairs & registration are set up, photo booth looks amazeballs, red carpet has been rolled out, and we are making sure vendors have what they need.

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5:20 pm

Holy crap, no one has chilled any of the white wine yet. To the freezer!

5:35 pm

If we leave this in the freezer too long will it explode? We may find out…

5:41 pm

Somewhere in here I have managed to throw on some makeup, curl my hair, and put on my dress.

5:59 pm

I have my comm device (think secret service agent meets trench soldier) hooked up, and it’s off to the races. Eagle Eye to Unicorn, do you have eyes on Neekola? Over. 

6:00 pm

Doors open. Let’s do this.

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6:20 pm

So. many. people! So many, in fact, that I have already found and lost half our performers three times trying to get them to the green room. I’m checking on current entertainers, chatting with guests, making sure the kitchen isn’t on fire, the usual. Ciera has flown by me at least twice on one mission or another. I sigh again with relief because what would we do without her? Perish, surely.

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7:30 pm

A lot of guest networking and problem-solving later, and it’s time to relinquish my comm. My life will never be the same. But the sound manager for the theater needs it more than I do, I guess… Theater doors also open at this time, and guests are being pulled in by the sounds of LJ MTX and the sexy DystRucXion dancers.

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7:50 pm

A word from our sponsors… And let me take a minute here to thank them. Each of them. For our success was due to them.

VeeKast, for providing the performance slide show and live tweeting action. Travelling Bean, for the specialty barista station of our caffeinated dreams. Eco Caters, for organic, fresh food that is still making our mouths water. SkipperFilms, for making sure we didn’t miss a minute of the magic. OM Digital, for the best party favor ever. Sugar Rim Bar, for sangria and stellar service. Zelos Trading, for beer (three cheers!). Event Farm, for the ticketing service from which you all received our beautimous emails. Beat Refinery, for appointing two DJs to the battle and partnering with us always. Carlos, for an unbelievable sound & lighting setup. And Tommy McFly, for Emceeing our event and lending his charisma and energy to the show.

Before the show even began, Nicole took the stage to welcome everyone, and before she could get a word out, she was met with a standing ovation. A testament to how beloved she is in this community. And for good reason. That woman is a rockstar. 

8:03 pm

A little behind schedule (if we’re being picky, which Ciera is), but I can promise nobody in the crowd cares because the best show ever is about to start. Max Major to take it away, followed by an epic lineup of DC talent we also want to thank now. You guys have no idea how amazing these folks were. Over the next few weeks, we will be spotlighting each performer who took the stage (or party room) and represented themselves and Pelonkey. Look for that on our social platforms.

Max Major – Mentalist, Kelly Jo Stull – Circus Performer & Dancer, Chicago City Limits – NYC Improv Troupe, Ben Hoyt – Violinist, DJ Sean J, DJ As-One, Michael Rosman – Comedy Circus, Chip Han – Beatboxer

DJ Foster, Anna Pineapple – Circus Performer & Dancer, DJ Gavin Holland, DJ Phlipz, Dan Lamaestra Jazz Trio, Brian Curry – Magician, DJ Heather Femia, Joe Goldman – Voice Artist & Announcer, Rajan – Artist, David Meneses – Magician

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9:09 pm

Party time! The show was great, everyone is having so much fun, and Ciera, Nicole, and I can finally take a breath, have a drink, and talk with our guests.

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10:13 pm

I’ve been giving the VIP room some love, marveling at the Dan Lamaestra Jazz Trio & Ben Hoyt transform the upstairs into the classiest act ever. Schmoozing is not my middle name, but when in Rome (and when it’s my party), I do as the Romans do… ūüėČ When in Rome, I also consume more than my fair share of Duck Confit Johnny Cakes c/o Eco Caters. These things were heavenly. And made fresh by Chef Robbie. Just like the rest of the bomb food.

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11:13 pm

The time, it flies. I have had so much fun, met so many wonderful people, and rubbed so many blisters onto my feet. The latter is usually a huge indication of the former.

11:48 pm

All the guests have left – reluctantly, I may add – and it’s breakdown time. The party may have been glamorous, but I’m looking around at all these trash bags knowing the next steps will not be.

12:52 am

Thanks to helping hands from our vendors and friends, we have finally gathered all the trash bags into the kitchen. The venue looks a little like a frat party came through, but I’m taking that as a successful sign. Except for the trash cans that look like beer troughs. I was really hoping I left that in my freshman year of college, but alas…

1:22 am

During load-out, we have managed to lock ourselves into the garage. Let me paint you a word picture. The glass door into the elevator room is shut, the gate to exit the garage is shut and only opened with a parking ticket, we are three floors below ground with no cell service, I have run through a maze of stairs only to lose myself in a neighboring building, and we have decided to cram three of ourselves (one ex-football player included) into the front seat of Ciera’s teeny car in order to bust ourselves out. Finally Nicole comes down to find out what the hell happened to us, and we are freed. Exhausting doesn’t cover it. Slaphappy might.

1:44 am

The venue is empty, the car is loaded, our eyelids are heavy, and it’s time to leave. What is a great party without a calamity of events before and after?

1:46 am

What was that tip my drivers’ ed teacher told us to do when we were tired and driving? Sing along to the radio? I did. To every song that played from the corner of 10th & G St. to my driveway.

2:12 am

I don’t remember getting out of my car or into bed, but I do remember falling asleep with the sounds of Pelonkey ringing in my ears. (Not trying to be cheesy; I was seriously delirious from fatigue and could only remember that something big regarding Pelonkey had just happened, but I couldn’t tell you what.)

I wish I had had the sense to take photos throughout the whole day to illustrate every tiny detail of the party, but I didn’t know I was going to write a diary account of the launch until after the fact. Like many of my great ideas, this one occurred to me too late.

We want to take this launch party city to city as Pelonkey grows. After doing it once, I can promise that the second, third, tenth times will be just as hectic and crazy. And thank god for that. Because the alternative is downright boring. And Pelonkey doesn’t do boring.

Ps. The wine never exploded in the freezer. Take that, science.

Pps. Thanks to Shimeng Tong, Alexander Morozov, and Vithaya for the photography.

Ppps. 82% of the name tags ended up in the trash. Mine is displayed proudly above my bed.

TL;DR – The show and party were a great success. Be super jealous you weren’t there. Or proud that you were. Either way, don’t miss the next one.

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Stone Driver steers into our hearts… and the National Archives

Let me break it down for ya: One live band + Roaming performers + Open bar + Close vicinity to some seriously important historical documents = A chance to party all night long with the Declaration of Independence. ROCK ON

The August MES Mixer will be held at The National Archives this coming Wednesday. The Archives is a pretty sweet place, no? Well,¬†we’re about to spice it up. With music. Rock music. Echoing through the halls and reverberating off The Constitution. Enter Stone Driver.

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The band is made up of members¬†Chad Lesch, Tim Boyer, John Gossart, and Dan Epley, and in their own words, their music is “meaningful, relevant, and real.” It has taken them to venues¬†across the area and featured them in media outlets around the world. Next in line¬†to hear the crooners is the National Archives. Talk about a prominent US stage.

Besides knowing them personally (whaddup, 1776!),¬†we also know their music. In fact, it was the soundtrack to Nicole & Danielle’s SXSW road trip. And it is good. It makes you wanna just,¬†get down and jam, man.¬†I mean, they categorize it as¬†Space Grunge. That’s definitely something you want to listen to, right?

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They’ve been supporters of Pelonkey from the beginning, and we are oh-so-proud to feature them as our hard-working, hard-rocking live band entertainer of the week. (And after Wednesday, we promise they’ll become the entertainer of your hearts.)

Have you RSVP’d to the MES Mixer yet? Why would you want to miss the chance to party with Stone Driver & all our other awesome performers? Huh?? Why?! Why would you do that?!

See ya there ūüėČ

Meet the super cool Pelonkey people

A lot of companies are pretty faceless, dontcha think? It’s rare that you get to see the masters behind the logo, but we all know when you do, it makes the company so much more real. (This is the true story of seven strangers, picked to live in a house…¬†<– That kind of real.)¬†Up the personal factor, see who you are working with, and the “working” part becomes¬†a lot more fun. In the startup circle of life, Pelonkey is in the foal-learning-how-to-run stage, and we are made up of just six faces (sans development team and advisory board), so when you are working with us, you really are working with¬†us.¬†And “us” is a pretty sweet group of people.

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Nicole is our CEO. You may know her as DJ Neekola. We know her as someone who never sleeps, lives off coffee, and would narrate her entire life with an EDM soundtrack if she could. She’s our people-person, our partnership-making queen. Which is the role you’d expect of a CEO, except she’s actually awesome at it. People who meet her can’t help but love her. Which, whew, is a huge help, let’s be honest.

Ciera is our COO. Nicole knows her as her younger sister. The rest of us know her as the competitive, flag-football-playing wisp of a thing who knows more about negotiating the proper¬†rate of a wedding DJ for a six-hour reception than, let’s face it, Google does.¬†Ciera is so organized it’d make Staples jealous, and you can bet she is on top of every nook & cranny of the Pelonkey process.

Danielle is our Special Projects Manager. You know her as the omnipresent voice of the Pelonkey social media. We know her as someone who¬†takes an inordinate number of bathroom selfies and can smell¬†free food¬†a mile away.¬†She’s never without a song recommendation or a “let’s try something new and see how it works”¬†idea about how to make Pelonkey awesome.

Puneet is one-third of our interns. We fondly call him our “office bro” because there’s nobody he can’t have a real, down-to-earth conversation with. When not calling¬†our users and getting them pumped about the site, he has been conducting our market research like a champ.

Ali makes up another one-third of our interns. He was a key part of the beta testing process, running scripts, testing features and site processes, and intricately recording all the results so we knew exactly what needed our attention most.

Brook is the final one-third of our interns. She is our journalistic, international relations butterfly, always surprising us with connections she has made as a correspondent for media outlets both here and in China. She is a constant brainstorm of marketing, outreach, and user experience ideas.

All that said, titles are a formality here; we all do everything with hands in so many honey pots it’d make Pooh Bear jealous. But behind the “Pelonkey Team” title, we are a group of friends who make¬†coming to work, dare we say it,¬†fun.

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We work out of¬†tech incubator 1776, with lots of like-minded startup individuals and a laid-back yet hard-working atmosphere. We have so many ideas for the kind of office culture we want to adopt¬†when we land our own space (read: Zappos is our role model), but for now, the resources and character¬†at 1776 are more than accommodating, they’re awesome.

We have a work hard/play hard mentality. After all, we are an entertainment company. So you know we know¬†where the party’s at. But we earn our free time, and then it’s back to work on Monday (Tuesday, Friday, Sunday, really seven days a week…), and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Entertainers, update your profiles!

Do we sound like your mom yet?¬†Pick up your room, eat your veggies, update your Pelonkey profile.¬†Are we at that level? We can’t believe you’re tired of hearing us ask you to update your profile because not all of you have done it yet! So we say it again.¬†Update your Pelonkey profile. Like, yesterday.

And just as¬†when Mom tells you if you finish all the¬†veggies on your plate you can have dessert, we are telling you if you update and promote your profile you will make money. (And in the dessert vs. money race, there really are no losers, am I right?) We won’t waste more of this post nagging you, but we will shame you into logging in and customizing your photos & bio by showing you some fab examples of users¬†who have already done so.

There are three steps to updating:

Step 1 – Fill out your Profile details. (You know, your name, your Bio, your social media links, your keywords to show up in event planners’ searches. Get witty jiggy¬†creative with it.)

Step 2 – Choose a profile picture. (Come on, we all have Facebook. You know what profile pix are and how disturbing it is¬†when someone¬†doesn’t have one¬†– are they real?! are they a bot?! are they catfishing me?!)

Step 3 РUpload three (3) profile slider photos. (These pictures will slide behind the text at the very top of your public profile like a scrolling marquee.)

Now, watch & learn…

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You do all these things, and that’ll lead to glowing reviews (aka: you booked a gig, you put on a killer show, you made the $$). And those reviews lead to more gigs, which lead to more $$, which lead to general merriment and all around good times, ya dig?

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Now, let’s get to business. Hop to it!

Our CEO, DJ Neekola, had an amazing birthday party at Heist last month!

Content modified from Ciera Gallub‘s post on DJ Neekola’s blog on 11/5/14.

Were you there at Pelonkey CEO¬†DJ Neekola‘s birthday party at Heist last month? What a great night!

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Not only did Neekola want to celebrate turning 21, she also wanted to show off her amazing tech startup, Pelonkey!

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We were¬†giving away awesome swag and raffling off some super cool prizes! Chuck Levin’s sponsored a couple pairs of headphones as well as an entire JBL sound system!

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Congrats to our Pelonkey winners!

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All proceeds from the raffle ticket sales went to both the Meant 2 Live Foundation and Pelonkey’s crowdfunding efforts!

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Neekola had such a great time rocking out with all of the Pelonkey DJs on the decks that night, and she even hopped on herself for a minute!

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A big thanks to all of our DC¬†DJ’s that played that night at Heist – Hi Def, Wizdom, Welbot, Oz, Alkimist, Vicious, Phlipz, Ri5e, Dirty Hands, you’re all amazing!!

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And thank you to Heist for hosting such a great event!

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Huge shoutout to everyone who came out and partied with us – you’re all the best!

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Make sure you all sign up for Pelonkey! We want your talent and your party needs Рour Pelonkey team will take care of you!!

Pelonkey’s DJ Phlipz spins for End Game!

Last month, Pelonkey‘s stellar DJ Phlipz spun a great mix of tunes for the engineers at End Game! The company decided to party and network at the Key Bridge Marriott and sought out Pelonkey’s great music services as a referral from 1776, our awesome startup incubator and co-working space here in DC!

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Phlipz had a blast helping all the engineers feel comfortable and energized! End Game had a great group of people, and Phlipz was happy to provide some sweet background jams for them to party to – thanks so much to End Game for having Phlipz! And thank you to 1776 for referring Pelonkey!

Want to book Phlipz for your next event? Hit up Pelonkey’s Ciera Gallub at ciera@pelonkey.com for more deets!

Pelonkey Advisory Board Member Spotlight: Rich Shea

Our awesome Pelonkey Advisory Board member, Rich Shea runs¬†HiBall Events, which¬†owns 7 different event companies operating in 6 states, and Washington, DC. Most noteworthy within HiBall is the Big Night America New Year’s Eve events, which produce 5 of the largest NYE celebrations in the country! Bigger news than that party, Rich is a new daddy!

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Rich brings great insight to the Pelonkey Advisory Board with all of his event planning and venue experience. Being neck deep in the entertainment industry and managing different artists across the nation on a regular basis gives him a very focused understanding of all levels of company operations.¬†Specific to Pelonkey, Rich brings insight to the relationship between the artist, the promoter, and the venue from the promoter’s perspective. He also has¬†a good degree of marketing/sales expertise, especially in regards to the online world, which¬†can be helpful to Pelonkey as it scales¬†up.

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Marketing is Rich’s strongest skill – he has extensive experience in opening new markets by connecting people with unique event environments. Rich believes that Pelonkey will bring all event industry people closer together, since the back business content is easily automated and taken care of, allowing more time for everyone to do what they love best: entertain!

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HiBall has many exciting events coming up, and the one Rich is most excited for is a new Big Night America in Chicago! Located at one of the best hotels in the city, the Hilton Palmer House, this event is sure to be huge and super awesome!

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One thing you may not know about Rich from the outside is that he loves bananas. They are fruity perfection. Rich also plays hockey in his free time with DC Street Hockey, making sure he maintains a great summer bod all year round! If you would like to email Rich, you should customize your font to Helvetica, which is his favorite due to its aesthetic appeal. We love having Rich on our Pelonkey Advisory Board as a great power player!

Pelonkey wins Tech Cocktail’s Startup Showcase pitch competition in Las Vegas!

Earlier this month, Pelonkey CEO Nicole Gallub went out to Las Vegas for Tech Cocktail Week.

On top of taking awesome tours of the Downtown Project, Zappos office, and the Vegas tech scene, Gallub also took workshop classes, attended seminars, and entered into a pitch competition to determine Tech Cocktail’s Hottest Showcasing Startup.

Pelonkey won! Gallub did an excellent job pitching the company, explaining how it will completely disrupt and revolutionize the event and entertainment industry! Way to go!

With this win, Pelonkey goes back to Vegas in October to pitch to a national audience of investors, business professionals, and other techies from across the US! Go Pelonkey!

Pelonkey Board Member Spotlight: Victoria Michael

Our lovely Pelonkey Advisory Board member, Victoria Michael, is one busy lady! Not only does she serve as our fabulous public relations member for Pelonkey, Victoria also owns her own boutique PR company, VM Public Relations, that caters to all sorts of fun companies! Every client is a new adventure for her.

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On top of owning her own company, Victoria is also currently on the board and various committees for multiple¬†organizations, including the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, Alzheimer’s Association, Washington Humane Society, the Make a Wish Foundation, Save the Children, the Gio Gonzalez Foundation, Second Chance, the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation, Becky’s Fund, Knock Out Abuse, the list goes on! Victoria has been on over 100 board/committees over the past few years.

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All of this expertise makes her an astounding Pelonkey Board member! Victoria thinks Pelonkey will help small businesses and artists attain some of the common support that all big businesses have at their fingertips, all in one easy-to-use format. Pelonkey will expand to many industries, beyond our current focus on the DC DJ scene. Victoria’s best skills are her ability to network, build brands, and create exposure for those brands. This is why her main role is to get the word out about Pelonkey and garner as much awareness for the brand as possible.

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Outside of work, Victoria loves to travel, try new foods, and indulge in sports! Growing up, she was a big football fan, but now she really enjoys all sporting events – her new favorite being baseball. Our hometown Washington Nationals is her favorite team, and Vicotira is a PR consultant for them! She¬†has worked with all of our favorite home sports teams in some capacity, including the Washington Capitals, Redskins, Wizards, Kastles, and DC United. She loves them all! Secretly, Victoria roots for the Buffalo Bills when our home team isn’t playing!

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A very patriotic lady, Victoria Michael’s favorite bird is the eagle, and if she could only sit in one type of chair for the rest of her life, it would be a lounge chair. She loves the tropical beach life! And we love her! Pelonkey is proud to have Victoria Michael on our Board for all of our PR support.

Pelonkey Partners & Advisory Board Happy Hour!

On Wednesday, Pelonkey brought together its fabulous partners and Advisory Board members together for a meet and greet group happy hour! One of our great Advisory Board members, Tony Cord with DC Innovates, hosted the happy hour at his beautiful penthouse over in Thomas Circle, with yummy food sponsored by Chix (Eat Responsibly).

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Stylus Chris and DJ Alkimist came out from the Beat Refinery DJ school to meet our awesome Pelonkey Board! The Beat Refinery teaches people how to be an awesome DJ, and they have partnered with Pelonkey because they believe in the mission – this business will disrupt the events and entertainment industry! Performing artists aren’t always the savviest on the business end. Pelonkey provides a secure business platform for the entertainers and puts the power of their contracts back into their own hands. The Beat Refinery is completely on board with that! Another Pelonkey partner, Heist Lounge owner DJ Dirty Hands came out for the celebration! Heist allows Pelonkey to host sponsored events at their venue at no additional fee, with a heavy emphasis on the DJ market for entertainers.

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Other awesome Board members that came out were Victoria Michael with VM Relations, Rich Shea with HiBall Events, Eddie Fam with Meant 2 Live Foundation, and Steve Britt with Leach Travell Britt Law. DJ Neekola gave a quick update to everyone about all the exciting things that have been happening for Pelonkey, including our most recent win at Tech Cocktail in Vegas a couple weeks ago!

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It was an awesome evening, and everyone had a wonderful time getting to know each other and being the DREAM TEAM that they are! Thank you, guys! Pelonkey wouldn’t be what it is today without all of your awesome support!