“I think I do a great job of taking the abstract and putting it into something that’s palatable,” says Websterberry, who began his journey in marketing, working on events like Hip Hop 101 Music and Arts Festival in Los Angeles, which hosted over 15,000 attendees. “Our focus is creating signature events that leave an impression. Everybody does a day party, a night club. I mean, it’s fun and all that but it needs to be an experience. How can you do something different? You don’t go out on a Saturday looking for something just curated, you’re looking for something elevated.”
To keep the experience elevated, the duo cater to a culture of partygoers who've grown bored of cliches.
“People are asking for it,” DJ Master Jeffrey says, noting that crowds don’t want to just go out and drink at a bar or pop-up anymore. This was something that brought him from DJing to throwing events himself. The transition has had its challenges, however.
“It’s been a journey dealing with this business,” he says. “There’s a lot jealousy and envy in the industry. Throwing events without using an agency, that really pisses off a lot of promoters because you’re cutting out the middle man. And I’m not doing it on purpose. It’s not to be malicious or anything.”
While the industry seemed set on keeping DJing and event hosting separate for DJ Master Jeffrey, he’s managed to keep an ongoing schedule of events at restaurants and clubs such as Harlowe, Gaslight, NYLO, Palms and other well-known Dallas hotspots over the years.
“I want people to understand I’m more than a DJ,” he says. Jeffrey also DJs at the events, however, which has proven a major attracting point for many of the parties he’s hosted.
With his events and plans multiplying, he found a prime business and marketing partner in Websterberry. The two worked together on a November project with liquor company Nyak Cognac, hosting a bottle signing with rap artist Trina.
“He’s got pull,” says Websterberry of DJ Master Jeffrey. “He’s more the artist. He likes the culture. I’m more of the business, the foundation. I provide the structure, the system. I’m the frame, he’s the picture inside.”
“He’s more the artist. He likes the culture. I’m more of the business, the foundation. I provide the structure, the system. I’m the frame, he’s the picture inside.” – Arias Websterberry
Websterberry agrees that there's no shortage of obstacles in the party industry.
“You would think more people would want to work together, as this industry depends on entertainers, promoters and venue owners to work together and want to throw great events,” he says, “but there’s a lot of politics. It’s about facts over feelings, though. Facts and figures over feelings.”
And with both ends of the business spectrum covered, Above Entertainment looks to expand the understanding of who can create events, and what they can entail. The duo exemplifies a wave of event creators aiming to bring together art, performance, food and liquor brands to new venues with original themes to create entirely new experiences — every time.
One of their current projects, Secret Cocktail Party, will incorporate all of these aspects, as well as nationally known celebrity bartenders from the Drink Masters mixology competition on Netflix. With the location announced the day it'll take place, Secret Cocktail Party will become a fully curated, surprise event series beginning in late January.
“We’ll host an event at a next-level space, modern and airy, and work with a spirit brand and some of the top bartenders in the nation,” says Websterberry on the next series of events in store for 2023.
Adding in a curated menu and live performances to top it off, the series will have a surprise event announced last-minute. The pair also host a brunch each Saturday at Tequila Delicious from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
“I think going into this new year, our goal is going to be how can we create events that are more than just your average ‘show up have, a drink, listen to some music,’" Westberry says. "How can we incorporate more art, more performance art, more experiences that really mark the occasion? There’s a few events every year that you just remember years later. We're trying to cultivate that and produce the right mood.”