London sees many new clubnights come and go- some fail to achieve what they were aiming for, many become victims of their own success. So when a new night comes along that actually hits the spot, you’re slightly loathed to tell everyone about it. But to keep Rumpus a secret would be to go against everything that makes it special- its sense of inclusion, the need for participation and the lack of any pretensions or exclusivity. It’s grown from a gathering of a few hundred people in 2010, to the two thousand+ strong party coming up in June. Rumpus will also be bringing the party to Wilderness Festival this year. While the venues may change, the key Rumpus ingredients stay the same: music, performance and your imagination. The team members are always on hand with costume rails and make-up areas to help you embrace your Rumpus alter ego.
One of the brains behind the beast is Santiago Genochio- we quizzed him on all things Rumpus, and the secrets to throwing a kick-ass party.
Run-Riot: Tell us how Rumpus was born.
Santiago Genochio: Rumpus came out of me spending years partying, and then, through the Burning Man scene, getting involved in events. Eventually I started getting offered professional work, and I had a few years of working on a variety of events, trying to figure out how you could run a creative, interesting event, which was sustainable and paid everyone involved. I came across lots of events which were very creative and very interesting, but which didn’t make enough money to pay everyone, or which folded within 6 months to a year, and on the other hand I saw a lot of events which made a lot of money but were artistically and creatively dead. It wasn’t until I worked for Torture Garden that I saw an event which managed to do both things. I then spent a few months putting together a plan for how the event would run – it focused on the event being big enough to generate enough income to pay everyone, and to get different crews and artists in to run different parts of the event, while giving them enough freedom to experiment with what they are doing. I wanted the event to feature a wide variety of music, and a wide variety of content. From there it was a hop skip and a jump to bringing the idea up with Stefano Von Malaka, joining forces and getting Rumpus off the ground.
RR: When you have to write your occupation on forms, what do you put?
SG: Depends on what the form is for. Usually it’s Production Manager. When I’m filling in Court forms, it’s Newspaper Proprietor. If I’m having a really great day, I put in Adventurer.
RR: Best Rumpus moment?
SG: Watching a pack of footie/lager lads, happily and joyfully singing and dancing with a transvestite during the Rumpus Kazoo Orchestra. Earlier in the night I’d spotted the lads being a tad boisterous and I’d asked Security to keep an eye on them. To see them so wrapped up in the good natured fun of something as silly as a Kazoo Orchestra, and seeing them being open and non-judgemental, made me realise who much positive change Good Silly Fun can achieve.
RR: And the worst?
SG: The moment I realised that the 1000 people we were expecting for our first event weren’t going to turn up. The 450 that did turn up made up for it though!
RR: As an expert, what would your top tips be for:
i) Coming up with a theme for a party?
SG: I am a big believer in archetypes and shared narratives. I think story telling has basic building blocks which resonate with us all, and the more you build your themes and your story lines around those building blocks, the easier it is to come up with themes which people feel emotionally involved in.
RR: ii) Making a costume for a party
SG: 1)Avoid Fancy Dress Shops. 2)Make at least one part of it yourself. This can be anything from a hand-crafted leather corset to a cardboard box with a smiley face scribbled on itn in felt-tip marker. In fact, one of my favourite pictures of Rumpus is of a man in a cardboard mask he made himself. Completely low-budget and low-fi, but it had so much emotion in it. 3) Feel comfortable in it. Honestly, a party where everyone feels great in their normal jeans is a better party than one where everyone feels uncomfortable in the most amazing outfits.
RR iii) making friends at a party?
SG: Despite having a very social job, I am actually quite shy and a bit socially awkward, as well as being faceblind. As a result, I’m far from being an expert on making friends at parties. As soon as people change outfits or put on a different hat, I can’t recognise them anymore. It’s very awkward and embarrassing.
RR iv)meeting a boy/girl at a party?
SG: You need a bottle of mead, a kazoo and an Elvis outfit.
RR: v) getting rid of wankers at a party?
SG: Opinion is greatly divided on this matter. My good friend Rob Hill of Mojo Hand stands by the idea that there is no such thing as a bad crowd, only a badly managed crowd. Whilst I don’t espouse such an extreme view, I do think that a lot of those wankers simply don’t know better. I’ve spent time in fairly unusual crowds and scenes, such as Burning Man and Torture Garden, that have many unorthodox written and unwritten rules. A lot of those wankers we worry about have never come across alternative events and groups with their own rules, and noone has ever looked them in the eye and explained the rules. I’ve said things which have come across as stupid and wankerish in environments where I didn’t know how I should behave. In some cases, yes, people are just wankers, and they’re not going to play nice. In those situations firm speech and, if necessary, the help of Security is needed. In most cases, though, Engagement, Eye Contact and A Good Friendly Smile help to get people to stop being wankers.
Remember, there’s always someone, in some scene, to whom you’re a sad wanker. We were very clear that we didn’t want Rumpus to be based in any particular sub culture, scene, or even music genre. We wanted to create an event that wasn’t about “cool” but rather about “fun”; where anyone would be welcome – we don’t even enforce a dresscode – and could have Good Silly Fun together. As a result we now attract people from lots of different crowds, who all feel comfortable sharing a dancefloor. You don’t often see that.
RR: vi) clearing up after a party?
SG: Do it immediately. Never leave cleaning up for later. In fact, my house parties have a rule: at sun up, the party stops, and everyone who is still awakes cleans my house, returning it to a better state than it was in when they arrived. Meanwhile, I cook everyone in the house the best breakfast they’ve ever had – and I cook a very good breakfast. Once the house is clean and breakfast is eaten, the party can continue.
RR: What would your ultimate dream venue be for a Rumpus party?
SG: We were having talks regarding putting on a Rumpus in the Amphitheatre at Ephesus. That would be pretty special. And last week I had a walk around a magical woodland where Rumpus will be heading outdoors to in 2014!
RR: And dream headliners?
SG: Those who follow Rumpus will know that there has been a long running difference in opinion between myself and Dr Malaka. I hold that The Venga Boys would be nothing short of amazing. He, on the other hand, shakes his head slowly and calls me sad.
RR: What will Rumpus look like in the the year 3000?
SG: The tails, ears and wings will be for reals.