Who Are Ya?! with the Founders of Elation Events
Article by: Jessica Duncan
If you’ve been to a trance, techno, or hard dance show in Las Vegas in the last few years, Elation Events was most likely the promoter behind it. Founded in 2018 by friends Ryan Barth and Christian Jones, they’ve been bringing the heat to Las Vegas ever since.
Christian and Ryan both started out as ravers. Christian began raving at age 17 and then got back into it after he got out of the military because it helped to alleviate some of the side effects of PTSD. Ryan started raving in 2011. The first electronic songs that made Christian fall in love with EDM were “Jack Got Jacked,” the Jack Beats remix of AC Slater, and “Strobe” by Deadmau5. For Ryan, it was “Levels” by Avicii.
They saw a void to fill with the types of events coming to Vegas, specifically trance shows, and Ryan was already working with Funkhaus to bring house artists to Vegas. While they were attending a desert rave, they decided to create Elation Events to bring more trance artists to the city, not just for the Quantum Valley stage at EDC Las Vegas.
The first show they organized was at Thunderbird Lounge, a multipurpose space with a 120-person capacity. They booked Adam Ellis and had to bring in their own sound and production. From there, they decided to branch out and bring hard dance and techno artists as well. The first hard dance act they were able to book was turntable legend Kutski. For techno, Drumcode Records mainstay Julian Jeweil was their first booking.
From the start, it has been a learning process. They didn't have anyone to mentor them or show them how to book and promote shows — they figured it out as they went along. There were a lot of cold calls and emails that went unanswered. They had to learn about market value, how to negotiate booking prices, and the ugly truth behind radius clauses. They’ve also learned from the struggle of artists canceling at the last minute and having to scramble to find a replacement.
When starting out, promoters don't go straight to booking the biggest names in a genre. Instead, they have to prove that they can sell tickets and put on a great show first. Elation has built up its reputation enough over the last four years to be able to start booking some of its bucket lists artists. Agents have learned that Elation is reliable and artists have such a good time at its shows that they want to come back. A lot of the artists Elation brings have never played in Las Vegas before.
In January 2022, Elation was able to book trance icon Cosmic Gate for a three-hour set inside the Portal at Area 15. Then in May 2022, they were able to kick off EDC week with another trance legend, Gareth Emery. For that show, they were able to sell out a 3100-person capacity venue and had state-of-the-art production.
Some other memorable moments Elation has had so far include its first sold-out show with Christopher Lawrence, building a relationship with Insomniac for its Dreamstate Satellite and Sequence series, the all-night techno warehouse show with full laser production from I Want Lasers, and finally being able to throw shows again after lockdown. Elation also launched its weekly series, Terminal 51, in August 2020. It brings trance, techno and house artists to the Commonwealth rooftop every Thursday night.
Looking to the future, Ryan and Christian have some pretty exciting goals they are working towards. They meet up every Wednesday to check in and plan future events. Some of those goals include being able to put on 100 shows a year and throwing shows at larger venues. They would also love to eventually own their own venue and make working for Elation their full-time job.
Elation recently launched its Encode brand to bring larger techno events to Las Vegas. The first Encode show is taking place this Saturday, July 2. It will feature Sam Paganini and Layton Giordani. For people interested in this event, tickets are still available.
Other shows they have coming up include a night of hard techno with Rebekah on July 15, Simon Paterson and Greg Downey for the trance family on July 23, Gunz For Hire for fans of hardstyle on September 10, and an open-to-close set from Markus Schulz on September 30. Tickets for all of these events are available for purchase.
When asked if they have any advice for anyone interested in event promotion, they had three main takeaways: “Come up with realistic budgets, don’t take bookings just because you’re overly excited, and have realistic expectations.” One also has to “be willing to take some losses.” Not every show is going to do as well as one had hoped and they’ve experienced their fair share of shows they had higher expectations for.
Outside of Elation, Ryan and Christian also own a tattoo removal company called Ink Busters. When he isn’t at a show, Christian can be found bodybuilding, paintballing, or reading. Ryan enjoys traveling and watching hockey — one can find him supporting the Las Vegas Golden Knights.
One final thing Ryan and Christian want to say is “We’re grateful for and appreciate the continued support that has gotten us to where we're at.” Stay up to date with all of the awesome shows Elation is bringing to Las Vegas by using the links below.
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