SXSW 2016 Recap

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This morning we woke up, looked at the rain outside our window, and thought, We need something exciting to counter this dreary day. And then BAM! it hit us – we never recapped our 2016 SXSW trip! And now the sun is peeking out from behind the clouds, ready to join us in our happy nostalgia of getting weird for another year in Austin, TX.

Partnering with our faves at EventsDC and WeDC, we had Rex Riot, Mathias., JC Flores, & DJ Neekola perform at various times throughout the entire weekend-long event. The DJs provided dance music during the day while attendees mingled at the WeDC house, as well as a little at night. In fact, Rex Riot helped warm up the crowd for QuestLove at the crazay closing party. We had a big presence, wearing our Pelonkey tees all over Austin.

 

In addition to that, our CEO, Nicole, was able to pitch to a ton of tech people at the WeDC house at their Tech Breakfast, which included 1776‘s very own Evan Burfield. And (yes, there’s more!) Nicole participated in the WeDC startup showcase along with other DC innovators, such as our new friends at BlueCart, to spread the good Pelonkey word to other SXSW attendees. At the showcase, we had a booth for one day where visitors could come by, ask questions, and generally be wowed by all things Pelonkey. It was a hit, and we were able to talk to so many new people!

Let’s see… what else? We saw Chromeo perform (can we just get them on our platform already & be BFFs??), met the COO of TechWeek at the TechWeek party, mingled some more, party-hopped, explored the city, met DC mayor, Muriel Bowser, were featured on Buzzfeed’s SXSW promo, saw some Events DC friends – Ashley & Greg – and hung out and rocked the WeDC house from Saturday-Monday.

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A huge, gigantic shoutout to Julie, Damelia, and Tiffany for being awesome, as always, and running the WeDC show like the #bosses they are! Wow, the WeDC has made a baller name for itself at SXSW; it’s always the party and place to be! We are so proud to call them Pelonkey supporters and friends. D’awww, DC love, y’all!

We like to think of ourselves as seasoned pros now that we’ve been to SXSW twice…and really it’s just a matter of time before people are partying it up at the PelonkHouse with some kickass DJs, performers, and peeps. 2017, here we come! #DoYouPelonkey

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Hap-Pelonk-ZI Christmas!

When you sit in an office everyday, doing work on the same screen, it’s nice to get up, slap on a pretty dress, and dance the night away, am I right?

The Pelonkteam kicked off the holiday season last night at the coveted Zinzi Christmas Party at the Convention Center in DC, and what a night it was! We were dressed to the nines, food, drink, and music flowed, and we met some awesome people in the party and at our table. Also, there were multiple photo booths involved. And DJ Neekola closed out the night with the best dance set of 2015 (if we do say so ourselves).

Phew, I’m exhausted again just thinking about it.

We started our own hashtag for the night – #pelonkZI – which you can peruse on Twitter or Insta, but here are a few teasers for your viewing pleasure. We love a good (mini) photo diary. Even more when it’s holiday-themed. Bring on the Christmas cookies!

Meet Mark

Welcome to the Pelonkteam, Mark! Generator of Possibilities, aka Pelonkey Sales Director, aka awesome human ready to push business to all our Pelonkites.

We sat down to ask him a few questions and thought maybe, just maybe, you’d like to hear his answers. After all, he is a dashing and charming individual here to shower Pelonkey with all his good learnin’.

Mark, meet the Pelonkworld. World, meet Mark.

mark2Mark Guenther, Generator of Possibilities

1. Hometown

Green Brook, NJ

2. Childhood celebrity crush

A tie between Elvis, who sang to every woman he was courting in almost all his movies – I found it so romantic – and Steve Austin, aka Six Million Dollar Man. Lee Majors was really hot in the 70’s. 

3. How did you get involved with Pelonkey?
I’ve known Nicole for a few years and was always impressed with her energy and outlook. When I heard about Pelonkey I was intrigued. When I met the team and looked into the advisory board, I was hooked. I love being part of something that disrupts an established industry. 
4. What will you be doing for Pelonkey?
I’m the Generator of Possibilities, which means I’ll be leading the team in generation of connections, leads, development opportunities, and making connections. I’ll be responsible for making things happen that were not going to happen anyway. In an average company, the closest position might be called a Director of Sales. 
5. What is your background?
My background is in sales, development, team building, and management. I was the director of a non-profit, an entrepreneur, a community leader, a graphic designer, and wore a lot of other hats in my life. I am also very passionate about personal growth and helping other people achieve their own greatness. 
6. Favorite kind of music
I love singer-songwriter types of music. I listen for a story in the lyrics, for love, for overcoming, and for self-expression. This makes everything from Elvis to Whitney Houston to Michael Jackson to Adele pop up in my playlists. 
7. Best vacation you’ve ever been on
I took a tour with a group for 2 weeks in Southern Africa. We went to the best safari camps in several countries. It was amazing to see the circle of life in action, in real time and in an untouched-by-man way. 
8. What can event planners and entertainers expect from you respectively?
Everyone can expect that I will deliver the intentions of Pelonkey at its best to the absolute best of my ability. Disrupting an industry is a challenge and in most cases pays off for the early adapters. I’ll be working hard to get people to play their respective roles and to give this a shot by urging them to go to the site for their all their entertainment industry needs, and I’ll be beating a consistent drum. 
9. Favorite movie quote
Annelle Dupuy Desoto: “Miss Truvy, I promise that my personal tragedy will not interfere with my ability to do good hair.” From Steel Magnolias
10. Favorite Twitter or Instagram account
I love my Twitter feed (@MktgMarkG) and have an assortment of local blogs, celebrity rants, gay news, politics, personal journey thought providers, and creatives, but no one account stands out.


11. What is the best way to contact you?

The best way to contact me is right now with whatever works for you. Friend me on Facebook, call or text me at 202-436-2028, hire a singing telegram (on Pelonkey, of course), or send me an email at Mark@Pelonkey.com. I promise to respond and help you as quickly as I can, and if for some reason I don’t get back to you, please know that it is never my intention and try again. I authentically want to connect with everyone that wants to connect with me. And if you have anything that is time-sensitive, please connect with me by text or phone to get my immediate attention.

 
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Pelonkey Grand Launch Video

That’s right, it’s business video time! Our grand launch video is finally here, and we would shout the YouTube link from the rooftops if we could! Since we cannot do that (roof access is blocked from our floor), you can help us metaphorically scream the web address by sharing the link with everyone you know and their mothers! (Feel free to share it across all social media networks, we’re on ’em all.)

If you didn’t make it to the launch party, you can read a full recap here. And if after reading you’re still dying to attend such a party, fear not! We plan to take this shindig to cities up and down the East Coast before moving west. Sign up for free on www.pelonkey.com to get involved & invited. And to help you manage and plan ALL your entertainment events. (OK, sales pitch over.)

Now go watch, ya silly!

Big thanks to Skipper Films for putting together this masterpiece! We think they captured the high energy perfectly, but you’ll have to watch and see for yourself…

Landmark Festival Shenanigans

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The line to get in. When doors opened at noon, the crowds flooded to the stages! Head to Instagram for that video…

Didn’t you hear us yelling from the rooftops? (Or see our snapchats on @neekola?) Pelonkey was at Landmark Music Festival with Events DC on Saturday and Sunday. We invaded their Recharge & Chill Out tent and brought DJs to spin all weekend long. Props to this fantastic partnership, by the way, as the Events DC tent was the only one to have live house DJs bringing the party to the non-stages of the festival. *Pats self on the back*

Many things happened this weekend:

The Pelonkey team ate a bunch of shaved ice and turned their tongues every color of the rainbow.

We started a massive dance party in the rain.

Nicole pushed her way to the front row of the Chromeo concert, aka her future husband’s band.

We got into then kicked out of the VIP area.

Lauren Mayberry from Chvrches made Danielle’s heart melt.

All in all, it was a DC weekend for the books. We had superstar DJs Chris Styles, Rex Riot, DJ Alkimist, DJ Neekola, DJ Dirty Hands, DJ Trayze, and DJ CYD on the decks, and they rocked the house, each and every one of them. The other artists were ya know, also great and stuff. Drake, Miguel, Wale, Lord Huron, Chromeo (obvs), Chvrches, and more. How could that lineup not bring all the DC kids to the yard?

Take a looksie at our photo diary below. And then come with us next year, ‘kay??

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MES: Most Extraordinary Stars? Or…

MES: Many Excellent Successes. MES: Master Entrepreneur Supporters. (<– Hey, that was actually a pretty good one.)

MES: Metro Event Specialists, aka our homedawgs. Our peeps. A real swell group of hardworking event tycoons.

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We have introduced you to lots of heavy hitters in the events world (shoutout to our ab-FAB Pelonkey Launch sponsors!), but there’s one group we want to throw in the spotlight for a hot minute. MES holds a special place in our hearts as our good friends Max Major & Troy Francis are the ones that run it, and our CEO Nicole is on the board. Max & Troy and the rest of the MES gang have a finger on many crucial events that take place in DC, and they have been nice enough to toss us countless tips, tricks, and advice on our path to entertainment marketplace stardom (that’s a thing, right?).

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You’ve already heard a little about them through our MES Mixer coverage (we sponsored all the entertainment at their August mixer at the National Archives), but we want to urge all of you in the events industry to take a closer look. Get involved with them. They are a network of event professionals in the DMV area. They are 100% free (um, yes, really), AND they host super fun events with food and drink and talking and laughing and mixing and photo booths and fun and, well, now I’m just rambling.

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They were well-represented at our launch party, and we wanna throw ’em some love. Some mushy, mushy event lurrvvve. They are such a force in the area, and we are glad to call them partners. Get on their list, and don’t miss their next event! No, don’t miss it. Don’t do it. Don’t make us come over there…

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… 😉 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.

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.

We are super excited to announce our formal partnership with BAM Technologies!

Have you heard the great news?! The Pelonkey team is stoked to be officially in partnership with BAM Technologies, a local tech firm in Crystal City! Here’s our CEO Nicole Gallub toasting with BAM (that’s sparkling cider, kiddos)!

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BAM has experienced and intuitive developers and coders that are going to help build out the Pelonkey site, making it into an indestructible, technically sound, and well-oiled machine! Here’s to a glorious group that can really help make Pelonkey become a reality and flourish! Look at that official contract-signing happening!

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We are beyond thrilled to have finalized this amazing partnership and cannot wait to see how Pelonkey develops as time goes on! Questions? Excitement to share with us?! Feel free to email ciera@pelonkey.com with any input! We’d love to hear from you!

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 – our Pelonkey team will take care of you!!