Antony Adel, the managing partner of Identity Management Group bought Sutra, the infamous nightclub in Costa Mesa, back in 2009 to build a reality TV show around it. "My background is production. In America there are three things in reality TV; sex, drama and celebrity," says Adel in his British accent. "Sutra has all three of those, but after acquiring it we realized that it was in much more distress than anyone realized." The club was seven years old, lost it's allure and Antony had to stabilize the venue before exposing it on reality TV.
After completely abandoning that idea, Sutra saw a titanic shift in terms of how nightlife operated. As opposed to being about experiences it became talent driven and the hip-hop DJs weren't bringing in as large of a crowd. This was a precursor to the start of the current, high-gloss electronic music scene that's devoured OC's club scene . "We started exploring different options and what became clear to us is that what was a niche at the time was our long term goal and that was booking EDM talent," shared Adel. Thus they started booking world famous DJs on Thursday nights with first Giant (LA based) and then Eventvibe (SD based). Recently, Sutra took things up a notch by partnering with EDM powerhouse Insomniac Events.
The Insomniac partnership had actually been in the works for some time now, being aware that they control most of the major EDM talent in North America like the Fedde Le Grands and the Armin Van Buurens of the world. Looking to spruce up their rooster since last year Identity Management Group bought Ten Nightclub, (known as Tentation in a previous life). The successful Newport Beach club property also boasts Ten Asian Bistro.
They started toying with event production about two years ago with A Phazing NYE featuring Dirty South at the Radisson Hotel in Newport Beach. It's success was an eye opener; that in this market people are willing to pay for stuff outside of just traditional nightclubs. "We had been talking with Jason Strauss and the Tao Group in Las Vegas once we acquired Ten Nightclub," Adel says. The Tao Group operates numerous Las Vegas nightclubs and day clubs including Marquee which has been noted as one of the most successful EDM venues in North America. "We've partnered with them and use their talent booking resources by basically routing the same DJs through our markets," explains Adel. If Dash Berlin or Dada Life plays at Marquee on Monday then they are at Sutra on Tuesday making it less expensive for the venues and more beneficial for the DJs.
The Tao Group partners with Insomniac Events for EDC, EDC Week and now the EDM Biz Conference giving Identity Management another important resource. Insomniac Events is now helping Identity Management Group brand Element Thursdays which is their EDM night at Sutra and Volume Sundays which is their new EDM night at Ten. "It's kind of our new feeder crowd that's more into the Zeds Dead, Mord Fustang and Krewella," says Adel. Ten appeals to a younger 18+ crowd who loves electro and crazy Sunday Funday parties. Insomniac Events will help them brand and market these two nights, the Tao Group helps program them and it becomes a very strong partnership. "We are very excited about it because it means Insomniac can work with us on much larger events like XLNYE which will be a five day event stretching from Thursday through Monday on New Years Eve weekend."
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So what does this mean for the fans, music aficionados and regular club goers? Surely some will complain about elevated ticket prices, which will definitely start to rise as more high profile talent rolls in to perform out here. Adel promises to do his best to monitor ticket prices at the door however, and be fair to the EDM family that comes to Sutra every Thursday. "We don't mind loosing money at the door and making it up with bottle service at the cost of someone as great as Dash Berlin as one of our residents," explains Antony. What we can look forward to though, is access to some of the world renowned DJs gracing the Insomniac stages at events like Nocturnal Wonderland, Beyond Wonderland and the Las Vegas nightclubs to come play in suburbia OC for the first time in, well, ever.
We can also look forward to new unique outside the box events like Pacific Festival coinciding with Sutra 5 at the Newport Dunes, Yacht Parties like Mist and even a Miami like day time beach party on Catalina Island all by the Identity Management Group. With acts like Avicii and Tiësto booked to come to Sutra in the coming months, we can already see the Insomniac like party experience bringing some damn good EDM talent to OC.