DNA Magazine



- more: Inthedark.com.au

DNA: Hi Stephen. For Mardi Gras, you’re producing a Waterpark Festival with sizzling bodies, fireworks, aquatic rides and DJs – are you giving Barcelona a run for their money this year? Stephen Craddock: Yes, watch this space! What are the top three essentials to throwing an incredible event? The right date, the right venue and the right concept. Where is your favorite place in the world to party? Aside from Sydney, I’d say Madrid. I love taking a siesta and partying all night! If not Madrid then definitely Beijing. It’s a really exciting market in China. What is your opinion on the nanny-state policies and extreme police presence at parties in Sydney? Without a doubt, Australia is over-regulated compared to the rest of the world. They have good intentions, but when it starts to affect people’s party experience it becomes an ever-increasing problem for venue owners and party producers like myself. Where are you originally from? I’m from a small English village in the middle of nowhere called Grappenhal­l, Cheshire. So how did you come to be Sydney’s premier party promoter? I left university halfway through my degree at Greenwich University in London when I had an epiphany. I thought you don’t need a piece of paper to get a job and I wanted do something I loved by getting sound real life experience. Thanks to the unconditio­nal support of my parents, I had a gap year and applied to Home Nightclub, which had just opened in Leicester Square. I had six interviews from written to social – mainly social – as they believed you didn’t know someone until you socialised with them. I got the job and became great friends with the owner, Ron McCulloch, and when he decided to move to Australia to look after his first club [Home Sydney] he offered for me to come with him. I jumped at the chance, moving to Australia and never looking back. How long were you at Home and what came next? We ran it for five or six years, and produced some large scale outdoor events from Mobile Home to dance parties at Randwick Racecourse. The next step was to buy and develop new venues and we opened three: Slide on Oxford Street, The White Horse in Surry Hills and a beautiful venue in Manly. Shortly after, Ron decided to sell the club and the new owners, Simon and Susannah Page, approached me about doing a gay event. I called it Homesexual and it became the country’s biggest regular gay circuit party event. Why did you decide to start your production company, In The Dark? After producing nearly 20 Homesexual events, I decided it was time to start my own company. I set out to bring current and exciting nightlife options to the GLBTQI community in Australia. I’ve always had big dreams and my end goal is to join the likes of Michael Gudinski, Michael Chugg and Michael Coppel as one of the country’s biggest touring companies with acts like Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Kylie Minogue. You run the company with Nelson de Sousa. How did you come to be partners? Talking to myself in my office out loud was quite disturbing, and rather than asking friends for opinions about a particular party, brand or act, I decided to find a business partner. I wanted someone honest, loyal, not easily affected by the ‘scene’ and ideally polar opposite to me. I met Nick Sweeney at his cult party, Gay Bash. We hit it off and thought about marrying the commercial gay world – me – and the alternativ­e – him – to see what would happen. We were together running ITD successful­ly

for nearly two years until he decided to move to New York with his boyfriend James. Nick is now a very successful video director, look out for him! One of my friends introduced me to Nelson who, at the time, was working as a lawyer. We got to talking and the rest is history. The Gay Bar is the new kid on the Oxford Street scene. What does it offer that other venues don’t? The formula is pretty simple, to be honest: free entry all the time, great quality drinks at affordable prices and not overproduc­ed events. You’ve been bringing a lot of drag queen contestant­s from to perform at The Gay Bar. How do they compare with Australian queens? I Love RuPaul’s Drag Race. There’s such incredible talent on that show and fans just love to see them up close and personal. Our queens in Australia are already up there among the best in the world. They are mindboggli­ngly talented. You’ve done a lot for the community. Which brands have supported you? The only sponsor we’ve ever had is Gaydar. I’ve been with them for nearly eight years. They’re really great! You once worked with Grace Jones? Yes, back in 2009 Michael Chugg called to ask if we’d like to co-present The Hurricane Tour with Grace. This was our first taste of concert promotions and right after that we did a tour with Joan Collins. Fabulous! What do you do in your free time? I spend as much time as I can with my boys – my husband Koh and our beautiful dog, Alfie. It’s pretty rare these days, but the time we have together is cherished. What is your favourite piece of advice? Live. Love. Life. And if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it!

 ??  ?? Superstar at Marquee
Superstar at Marquee
 ??  ?? Gay Bar downstairs – cheap and cheerful.
Gay Bar downstairs – cheap and cheerful.
 ??  ?? Sophie Ellis-Bextor and The Freemasons at Home Nightclub
Sophie Ellis-Bextor and The Freemasons at Home Nightclub
 ??  ?? Upstairs, Gay Bar goes for Baroque!
Upstairs, Gay Bar goes for Baroque!

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