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16 Nov 2005

from phuket to taipei

Fresh from its success with Nation.V in Phuket, Thailand, Fridae has announced Ministry of Sound, Taipei to be the host of SnowBall'5 on December 23. The party will feature one of LA's hottest DJs, Kimberly S, who is in constant demand to spin at the hottest dance events in the US and some of Hollywood's elite movie premiere parties.

Held in Phuket, Thailand from 4-6 November, the fifth annual Nation party - the largest gay and lesbian event in the South East Asia - was a great success with some 2,000 attendees.

A-list American DJ Manny Lehman who spun at the main party said: ''There was really something about this party that set it apart ... the energy, the freshness, and the response from the people was amazing.''
The 3-day event involved co-hosts and 18 DJs from Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the USA, Malaysia and Australia including Manny Lehman, Kate Monroe and David Knapp. Pop superstar and most loved gay icon, Madonna, also sent her greetings via a special video recording which was played to the crowd at midnight during the main Nation party.

A-list American DJ Manny Lehman who spun at the main party said: "There was really something about this party that set it apart... the energy, the freshness, and the response from the people was amazing. Throw into the mix the worldwide appeal, the exotic locale and the clientele, and I have to say that it was truly a privilege to be involved."

Although the Kata-Karon Municipality had approved the use of Karon Stadium, organisers Fridae made a last minute decision to take the parties indoors due to weather concerns as heavy rains were a nightly affair the week before.

Stuart Koe, CEO of Fridae, said, "This is a huge success for Phuket. People are flying in from all over the world, not just Asia, to celebrate this party."

In addition to a fairly large number of domestic travellers, the partygoers were mainly from the region including Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Australia and as far away as the US and Britain.

The Governor of Phuket, Udomsak Uswarangkura, who visited the party on November 5, expressed support for the event. In a meeting with organisers and the management of the host hotel, he added that he would be happy for the city to host Nation next year.

With eight ticketed parties all held at the host hotel Crowne Plaza Karon Beach Phuket, the newly opened 332-room (and villa) beachfront property was sold out weeks before the event started.

The whole Crowne Plaza Karon Beach team are overwhelmingly pleased at having been a part of the Nation.V experience," said Crowne Plaza Karon Beach's general manager Joseph Zitnik.

"It seemed that all the Fridae members who booked out the hotel for the three days of the event had an exciting, wonderful experience. Hosting Phuket's largest event of the year was enjoyable, fulfilling and fun for all of our staff. We are definitely looking forward to next year!"

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is also hopeful for Nation to be held in Phuket next year. Suwalai Pinpradab, regional director of the tourism authority was quoted in a Bloomberg report as saying that she hopes for Nation to become an annual event on the island and anticipates bigger crowds.

"It's a good start. I talked to some of the participants and they're happy," she said.
In addition to partying, organisers Fridae also worked with three organisations in Thailand including the Rainbow Sky Association of Thailand - a non-profit LGBT group, the US Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Patong Hospital, to provide HIV awareness and free HIV/STI testing over the weekend. The availability of the free and anonymous HIV/STI tests at Nation.V is believed to be the first time such services are provided to all (independent of nationality) at a party anywhere in the world.

"Fridae has provided us with an excellent opportunity to reach out and educate a large number of people about HIV and STI prevention and give them direct access to HIV and STI testing services. This is a unique collaboration that we would like to continue and expand on," said the CDC, Patong Hospital and Rainbow Sky Consortium which jointly conducted entry surveys and outreach at the event.

According to the survey of Nation.V partygoers, it found that the average stay is five and a half days and the average monthly income of visitors to be US$6,030. According to a report in the local The Nation newspaper, an official from the Phuket Tourism Association estimated that the Nation.V partygoers spent Bt30 million (US$729,000) in the province.

Fridae's year-end party, SnowBall, which was banned in Singapore last year will be held in Taipei, Taiwan on December 23. Since late 2004, Singapore authorities have refused licenses for gay events to be held as they are considered to be against "public interest."

Held at the famed Ministry of Sound dance club, SnowBall'5 will feature well-known DJ on the US dance circuit, Kimberly S. The 2nd degree black belt Martial Arts instructor, who also teaches part-time at her martial arts studio on the famed Sunset Strip, has established herself as a cutting-edge visionary. Her vast musical knowledge can be attributed to her 13 years of first-hand exposure to all genres of music, as a former manager and buyer for several retail music chains.

Kimberly performs at some of Hollywood's elite movie premiere parties and is in constant demand to spin the hottest dance events from Los Angeles to New York City including White Party Palm Springs (2000-2005); Girl Bar Dinah Shore Weekend Palm Springs (1999-2004); New Orleans' Mardi Gras, and Southern Decadence & Halloween, and Chicago's Fireball (2004).

Ticketing details out soon.

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