By Mike Prevatt
If it exists, it seemingly has a hall of fame. The Mascot Hall of Fame inducts sports-team characters in Philadelphia every year. Here in Las Vegas, we have halls for golf, pinball and burlesque, among others. Somebody came up with one for, of all things, insurance, and don’t ask about the other that honors roadkill.
So it should stand to reason that nightlife would have one as well. But up until recently, there wasn’t an official hall of fame to honor the national nightclub and bar scene, which generates an estimated $20 billion annually—an accomplishment not lost on Ryan Dahlstrom, a longtime club operator/manager and consultant. The then-director of nightlife for Nightclub & Bar Media (which produces the annual Nightclub & Bar Show) sought to acknowledge not the venues themselves, but the industry’s success stories and ladder-climbers, especially those thriving in Las Vegas’ lucrative scene.
This summer, the inductions begin in earnest. On July 8, Nightclub Hall of Fame will throw its first big induction party for another honoree, Victor Drai, at his new Beach Club and Nightclub atop the Cromwell. And on July 21, Jesse Waits of Wynn Nightlife gets fêted at the venue he co-founded—America’s highest-grossing nightclub—XS. Both events coincide with each club’s industry night.
With the induction parties comes the need for someone to produce them, which is why Dahlstrom and Rideout hired Sancho Van Ryan of event-planning group Future M3dia and Viva Vegas TV, a luxury/nightlife media provider. Dahlstrom wanted a socialite and networker who knew how to throw a party befitting a hall of famer. He also wanted someone who shared his interest in getting the nightlife industry more involved with ongoing philanthropy—and as it happened, Van Ryan had been a full-time Christian missionary before turning 23.
“I’ll be the face of the company on the ground and in the trenches,” says Van Ryan. “I’m talking to DJs and marketing people every week, keeping up with new music and graphics, and building relationships.”
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