PD Review: SSU promoters aim to spice up Rohnert Park, Cotati

BY PETER NJOROGE
May 7, 2015

A pair of Sonoma State University students on Saturday will hold the second in a series of events aimed at reinvigorating the social scene in Rohnert Park and Cotati.

Adam Loria and Darren Fong have organized a daytime festival for Sonoma State students and anyone else who fancies a good time. Called Saturdazed, the event runs from 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday at Sonoma Mountain Village in Rohnert Park. It will include music by artists such as Shwayze, Radical Something and New Beat Fund, a beer garden and a raffle for people interested in playing beer pong with Shwayze.

Loria and Fong’s first event was FliHigh nightclub, with dancing to two DJs at Sally Tomatoes restaurant.

“This year we wanted to try out the nightclub, we want to try out the day concert; we want to see how the response is from students, from the city,” said Loria. “And we want to work over the summer to perfect everything so we can come back in August and September and launch both events again.”

Loria and Fong worked with Sally Tomatoes owner Gerard Giudice to produce FliHigh.

“The first thing that I did with Adam was turn him on to a local business development attorney named Sean Jackson,” Giudice said, “and I told him, ‘If you’re going to do this, you’re going to do it right.’”

FliHigh was a sell-out, attracting 400 students and Cotati residents. The next step was an introduction to Morty Wiggins, “somebody who is legendary in the field of concert promotion,” Giudice said. “He was Bill Graham’s right hand man for 25 years and really was a major promoter.”

With Wiggins’ help, Loria and Fong have gotten vendors, more equipment and the larger security detail necessary to host a bigger crowd at Saturdazed. Loria and his team have been responsible for the marketing and promotion, and their partners, Second Octave Talent, is handling the logistics.

“The event is going to be all-ages, so everyone is welcome, but ID is also required,” Loria said. “It’s going to be 21 to drink, so they will be checking IDs and giving out wristbands and stamps. We’re going to have almost every type of Lagunitas beer you can think of on tap.”

Loria and Fong plan to host another nightclub event similar to HiFli, but with a head count of around 800.

“It took us maybe three or four months to establish (the first one) and do our homework, but after that most of the work is planning and coordinating the events,” said Fong. “Now that we have run FliHigh, we kind of have a formula to fill these events, so we’re going to work off that as opposed to starting from scratch each time.”

The successful FliHigh event “was a taste of what could be here,” Loria said, “and we really do want to perfect it and push really hard to make it the best it can be.

“I think it’s really awesome to see what is happening in Rohnert Park right now. It seems like a lot of stuff is developing and more things are opening up for students to do and more nightlife.”

Tickets to Saturdazed are $25 at saturdazed2015.eventbrite.com

Read original article at: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/3905011-181/sonoma-state-university-promoters-aim?page=0