Lance Dunlap, Executive Director of Entertainment, Marketing and Talent Buyer of Beta Nightclub explains what it takes to work for one of the top clubs in the world.

How did you find your way to electronic music?

I was first introduced to electronic music during my senior year of high school in 2007. I come from a rock ‘n roll background and was in a touring band at the time, but one weekend my friends dragged me out to my first club experience and I was immediately captivated by the music and community that embodies electronic music.

As I began attending more electronic shows, I was fascinated by the quality of production that artists were creating and the reactions those tunes were receiving at clubs so my interest shifted towards that realm of music. During the summer of 2007, after returning from a west coast tour with my band, I made the decision that I wanted to put down the drum sticks and pursue electronic music at some capacity.

And what eventually opened the door to your career?

As with many people in this industry, I got my foot in the door by becoming a flyer kid. I had heard “Brad from Beatport was opening a crazy new club in Denver called Beta” so I tracked down their MySpace page (when MySpace was still relevant) and messaged them asking if they needed any help with promotions in the Boulder area where I was attending college.  The next day I found myself driving to Denver and loading up my car with boxes upon boxes of promotional materials to advertise the grand opening of Beta Nightclub.

Over the course of the following few years, I picked up a position at Beatport as a writer for their blog Beatportal and then landed a college internship for Beta’s marketing department. One thing led to another and the internship turned into a job, which allowed me to climb my way up the ladder and become the head of marketing & logistics coordinator for the club. At that time, I was working very closely with whom I consider to this day my mentors, Cathy Nguyen, Mike McCray, and of course, Brad Roulier.

The magnitude of experience and knowledge these three people have in regards to electronic music is unreal and spans every facet of the industry so I am extremely grateful and fortunate to have landed with such an incredible team. Not to mention, timing seems to have been in my favor of the course of my career, as Cathy reached a point in life where she was ready to focus solely on her family and retired from Beta which granted the opportunity for me to expand my role into talent buying.

You’re an integral part of Beta Nightclub, tell us a bit about your role?

Being the Talent Buyer and Executive Director of Entertainment & Marketing comes with the responsibility of booking the artists & curating each night we host, ensuring they are marketed and promoted to their fullest capacity, and making sure the logistics behind each show run smoothly.  With that said, none of that would be possible by one individual and credit is most definitely due to to TJ, Dan, & Phil who work with me on a day-to-day basis to execute the marketing, logistics, and artist hospitality responsibilities.

Credit: Badastronaut Photography

What do you enjoy most?

Nothing beats the feeling of sharing something you are passionate about with a sold out room of fellow music enthusiasts on a weekly basis.  I’ve been lucky enough to experience that feeling of exposing incredible undiscovered talent to fresh listeners and host legendary acts to massive crowds, but conversely, giving artists the opportunity to put themselves in front of an educated and receptive crowd to perform their music is also very rewarding.

When it comes down to it, I get to listen to so much phenomenal music ranging from up-and-coming talent to iconic names on the best Funktion-One system in the Rocky Mountain range and throw multiple parties a week, what more could you ask for?

What is one of the biggest challenges? 

I’d have to say the biggest challenge, but also blessing, is the diversity and unique aspects that the Denver market has to offer. We are so spoiled with the amount of music and shows, across all genres, that come through Denver that the amount of competition and saturation is a constant challenge. On any given week, there can be upwards of 20 electronic shows going on, but competition is vital to the industry and what helps progress the scene here locally.  The challenge is finding the balance between which genres & acts to book to create multiple successful weekly nights that allow fans to have unique experiences at Beta Nightclub but also to provide a diverse line-up that will keep people returning week after week.

Favorite memory so far? 

Way too many memories to pinpoint my favorite, but a couple that will always have a special place were when Beta was crowned Rolling Stone’s #1 Club in America and also one of Billboard’s Top 25 Greatest Clubs of All-Time. I’ve also been honored to have quite the birthday celebration at Beta for the past 8 years of my life. 12th Planet, who was once a Beta resident and has become a dear friend, makes a point to play the Friday of my birthday weekend every year and that guy knows how to throw one hell of a party.  My favorite long-term memory is hands down the sense of family we have built among the staff here at Beta. We have several employees who have been with us since day one (8+ years) so when we walk into the building it literally feels like walking into our 2nd home.

Any advice for someone trying to break into the industry?

Be patient, yet persistent. Everybody starts somewhere and it is crucial that you build and maintain relationships with people along the way. Ask questions, never be afraid to learn, and follow what you are truly passionate about.

Lastly, where do you hope to go from here?
With the rapidly evolving nature of this industry, it’s hard to say where I hope to go. I’m always eager to expand my portfolio and I’m sure when the right opportunity presents itself I will cross that bridge, but for now I’m very excited for 2017 here in Denver. Coming off a huge year in 2016, we have some very exciting plans in the works to further Beta’s brand expansion.

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