Let’s be honest – Christmas caught everyone unawares this year. It feels like we blinked in September and everything suddenly turned to tinsel and Boney M.
Don’t let the same happen for New Year’s Eve. We know, we know – ‘most overrated night of the year’ is the general consensus lately. But what if we told you we’d stumbled upon the most non-let-down of a New Year’s party ever? What if we told you it wasn’t just not disappointing, it’s one of the biggest razzles of our year?
Interested? Let us introduce you to PNYE: The People’s New Years Eve.
First things first: who is the mysterious PNYE Committee?
Call us a tease, but some mysteries are best kept as such. What we can tell you is that we are all young professionals who hustle for PNYE after-hours, once the man has packed away his suit. But PNYE is not about The Committee; it’s about The People – we are merely the curators who value a good and happy time, and are enabled to bring in the New Year the correct way.
Four NYEs ago, what made you decide to throw the first official party for the people?
Around NYE 2011, a group of friends spent a few days swimming and laughing on a dam. We loved those days; sun on our backs, wind through our less diminished hairlines, water close by… But NYE was a big let-down. At 11 pm we were up for a dance, but there was no dance to be found. Our frustration started to germinate and an idea began to form.
About 10 months later we took a good long look at what was on offer in Cape Town for NYE 2012, and did not like what we saw.
What if, we could get all our friends, and our friends’ friends, together in one place and bring in the New Year as one. How hard could it be? The initial idea was that 85 loosely-connected friends would turn up at a venue and dance the night away. In the end, 225 value-adders rocked up and rocked out. It was a truly magical experience for everyone there, and from that moment we knew we had a responsibility to try to repeat this…
Did you ever think it would get to this point – selling out in a matter of days, with a waiting list?
No. Never. We are still just a group of friends trying to create a friendly, happy space for people to laugh and dance on NYE. PNYE has a reputation; the excitement is real and the pressure is there to meet The People’s expectations – it is a bizarre and weird feeling and experience.
We have gone from casual emails inviting friends, to a website with a registration and payment process. Seems organised.
Give us three rapid-fire reasons why someone should bring in the new year with you lot.
1. The People
2. No bull-shit
3. You have a say in the party
Once you’ve paid the very reasonable ticket price of R265, PNYE itself is a cash-free party vibe with an open bar all night. Are you even serious right now?
Yes. It is one of our founding principles. At the first party we never intended to make any money; just facilitate a positive space. This ideal is still central to PNYE. Once one walks through the doors to PNYE, you will not need to open a wallet. Or purse. Or moon-bag.
Most parties make their money from the bar; and that’s just not our bag, baby.
Don’t give away anything you don’t want to, but what else can the lucky ones attending expect on 31 December?
It is amazing the kind of people that this party attracts; they are special, they feel comfortable in their own space, they value a positive experience. If you want to get really deep into PNYE, you will break out of your crew, meet some new people there, and get involved. Who knows, maybe next year you could be behind the scenes and on The Committee for PNYE 16.
We hear that any leftover cash gets donated to charity every year. Have you nominated a beneficiary for PNYE 15?
We have supported Atlantic Hope every year, and normally one other NGO too. Like last year, we will probably donate to Atlantic Hope and the Smile Foundation again, however, we are open to suggestions from the people.
[Note: Unfortunately tickets for PNYE are officially sold out, as of today, so make sure you’re bright and early next year]
Photography courtesy PNYE