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Soulstice '17: A Unicorn's Review & Interview | Studio 240 Blog | iHeartRaves
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Soulstice ’17: A Unicorn’s Review & Interview

In the midst of festival season, Soulstice 2017 did not disappoint!  From the rocking day party to main event at The Midway, the festival went off without a hitch!  The Midway was excellent overall with several rooms, an outside patio area and two main stages.  As the unicorns made our way through the event, we really enjoyed each stage and the intimacy that the venue had.  Spaces were more open and even with large crowds, it wasn’t too hard to get around.  The music was excellent with names big and small, such as AC Slater, Hotel Garuda and

 many more, rocking house music throughout the night.  The crowd had a great vibe and everyone was incredibly friendly.  Even though the main rooms had warm temperatures, the outside patio was an excellent way to cool off and mingle with fellow festival attendees.  

After a last minute change in venues, many would have assumed there to be disorganization, however between the two companies, White Rabbit Group and Vital Events, they truly pulled off a successful and sold out event.  We sat down with the CEO of Vital, Santi (S), and CEO of White Rabbit Group Brandon (B) in an interview to hear what they had to say about the big switch!  

Q: How did Solstice start between the two companies? What was the inspiration?

B: Soulstice started because of a playlist I had which I just kept playing over and over.  I was a big fan of the kinds of artists and music we have on the stage right now.There weren’t a lot of festivals focused on that sound at the time so we decided to create one ourselves. The way the partnership formed was that I had met Max and Santi on another event we worked on together, I loved working with them and they’ve thrown great events up here in the Bay Area. It’s hard to get big venues in Orange County where White Rabbit Group does most of its work, so I pitched the idea and luckily enough they were into it!

S: We had been wanting to work with White Rabbit for a while and also really wanted to diversify the type of events we were throwing. We’ve been producing mainly bass music shows for the last 7-8 years and wanted to branch out to other genres like future bass and house. Our partnership with Brandon came at the perfect time and now here we are two years later and sold out yet again.


Q: Why did you opt to change venues from last years San Jose Civic Center?

S: We originally planned to hold the event in Santa Clara at the Convention Center. At first we thought we had found a diamond in the rough; the venue was a blank canvas where we could eventually build our brands into 15 to 20 thousand person events. Unfortunately, the Santa Clara PD really came down on the venue for wanting to throw “rave” type events. They told the venue we no longer could sell alcohol and started setting a number of other strict parameters that would have made the event unbearable for attendees.  After not being able to come to terms with the venue and PD we really had no other choice but to move it to the more event friendly SF neighborhood. In the end everything turned out great and were really happy with the new venue, The Midway.


Q: At what point did you realize that moving venues was the only option for Soulstice 2017?

B: Not selling alcohol was a deal breaker for sure, along with the way they would have treated our guests like potential criminals.  We don’t do this just as a corporate event to make money, we want to contribute to the culture and help create parts of it. When you work with a venue it’s like a business partner and if your partner sees the crowd as unwanted or convicts in the making, it’s not a relationship you want to continue.

S: At the end of the day, we are trying to profit from these events to put food on the table; but the real pleasure for me and I think for Brandon too is when we sell out and execute an event to perfection. There’s nothing more rewarding to see everyone having fun and enjoying something that you helped create.


Q: Why was The Midway chosen over another venue?

S: We were initially considering moving this to the Armory, but the Armory only has one room.  It would have been a mess with a day party with What So Not, Armory with the main stage and trying to do the second stage as an after party at 1015, which would have been way too many dots to connect for anyone trying to attend.  It’s easier to just have point A to point B so we ended up going with the multi stage Midway option for the night party. Funny enough, we were only hours away from signing The Armory contract before we found out about The Midway! There must be some guardian rave angels looking down on us, haha. 

B: It’s so hard when something like this happens. You spend months booking – I want to give credit to Max for Vital for this amazing line up this year, which was all him.  You work so hard on the brand and the music and experience, so when you lose a venue it’s the worst thing ever. Moreover, when you have to move an hour out of the way – it’s amazing we all didn’t suffer heart attacks receiving that news. Even though it’s difficult and you might want the easiest solution, it isn’t always the best option.  There were things that were unacceptable to us: using 21 and over venues would disappoint so much of our crowd; breaking the stages up into multiple rooms because it would have been too much of a hassle for the people; it was also unacceptable to just leave the guests high and dry for the What So Not day show which is why we put together a massive bus transportation system. The Midway really worked with us in all these aspects and understood our effort at throwing this event and that the experience mattered to us. And they made a lot of adjustments to preserve the integrity of the event so we are really thankful to them.


Q: Do you have any comments for festival attendees?

S: Have fun & enjoy yourselves! Stay hydrated and drink water, please! .. seriously, drink water.

B: Thank you for coming, through all the ups and downs we appreciate the support. Also for the people that came and had a good time, your positive posts make it all worth it. Can’t wait to plan the next one for you guys! 

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