Two weeks out from the big game, the Super Bowl party scene in Minneapolis is really getting interesting. And a lot more expensive.
Want to kick back with Snoop Dogg and some Playboy Playmates? It’ll cost you $500 to $21,000, depending how high-end you go.
Want to dance under a “super dome” with the hottest costumed DJ of the day, Marshmello? Those tickets start at $750 and go up to $21,000, too.
Other big names for big-buck parties Feb. 1-4 include Jamie Foxx, Ludacris, Lil Jon, Cardi B, Rick Ross, Post Malone, Kaskade and even basketball great Shaquille O’Neal (performing as DJ Diesel; perhaps not a slam dunk). They join previously announced events featuring Pink, Florida Georgia Line, Jennifer Lopez, the Chainsmokers and Imagine Dragons.
And these are just the ones we know about. Rumors of a private Taylor Swift performance and other secret gigs are swirling like snow off the roof of U.S. Bank Stadium, where there’s apparently some kind of sporting event taking place Feb. 4.
Megabrands like Budweiser, Verizon and Gatorade are also throwing big parties that are off-limits to the public. American Express only let a small number of card holders know about its Feb. 1 party with Justin Timberlake at Paisley Park.
So it goes when the Super Bowl comes to town: Many advertisers, media organizations and party planners raise the velvet ropes and ultra-VIP options to attract athletes, celebrities, big-wig executives and the hangers-on who hope to fall in with them.
“A lot of these are not parties meant for the average customer,” noted Reece Anderson, manager of hospitality for the local Super Bowl Host Committee. “They’re parties where sponsors bring in some of their top clients to entertain them and give them an experience like no other.”
Maybe the most expensive option among the public events: The top VIP table at Rolling Stone magazine’s Feb. 2 party at International Market Square costs $30,000 with a concert by Top 40 hip-hop trio Migos, whose $55 tickets at Myth nightclub last April seemed expensive at the time.
And perhaps the oddest party in the mix is the Feb. 3 bash for men’s magazine Maxim with DJ Marshmello and rapper Post Malone. It’s taking place under a 31,000-square-foot domed venue to be erected in a downtown Minneapolis parking lot.
Pop-ups are in
“It’s starting to look like South by Southwest,” quipped First Avenue general manager Nate Kranz, referring to the Texas music industry conference fueled by “secret” pop-up parties with VIP lists in empty warehouse and storefront spaces.
First Ave is hosting two private parties that weekend, but Minnesota’s legendary rock club and many other music venues are actually watching from the sidelines for some of the glitziest events.
“Pop-up-type parties are a lot of times more popular in these cases,” said Minneapolis-based event marketer and planner Natalie Morrow, whose company the Morrow Group is helping with the bashes for Playboy, Rolling Stone and others.
While it’s promising celebrities — actor Jeremy Piven was its co-host last year — Playboy initially kept the location of its Feb. 3 party under wraps, adding to the exclusive buzz. Word is out, though: It’s taking place at Privé, a slick new 1,200-capacity downtown venue in the Institute of Production & Recording’s former space at 315 1st Av. N.
Privé, where Cardi B and Fabolous will perform other nights, is one of several lesser-known venues that could be better-known by out-of-town revelers than locals by the end of Super Bowl week.
The operators of the newly renovated Armory in Minneapolis timed their opening to host Pink, Lopez and Imagine Dragons at $200 to $10,000-plus a pop. Mystic Lake Casino Hotel gambled on building a 9,000-capacity “pop-up venue” in its parking lot for Super Bowl concerts with the Chainsmokers, Florida Georgia Line and Gwen Stefani, but the site was abruptly abandoned on Friday, and the shows were moved inside the casino.
While not new, the Lumber Exchange Building on Hennepin Avenue — home to the Pourhouse nightclub — is making a big leap in bookings by hosting a three-night festival of sorts Feb. 1-3 in its event center space and other rooms. Foxx, Ludacris, Lil Jon and many others will perform at prices of $250 to $25,000.
“We think Minneapolis doesn’t get enough credit nationally as a fun and exciting city,” Lumber Exchange marketing director Allie Gilbert said, “so we’re really excited to show off what we have here.”
Most of the party planners agree that local patrons will probably be few and far between at these events.
“There are plenty of wealthy Minnesotans who might pay for a special night out like this, but [the prices] certainly shut out a majority” of the locals, Morrow said. She’s working on plans to offer 20 percent discounts to Minnesota ID holders at Playboy and Rolling Stone events.
If modest and frugal Minnesota seems like the wrong kind of place for these haughty Hollywood-style parties, though, think again, says Anderson.
The Super Bowl host committee liaison counts about 150 parties total going on that week, counting smaller events such as dinners and happy hours. He claims that’s more than twice the number at Houston’s Super Bowl week last year.
“I think Minnesota is really rising to the occasion,” Anderson boasted.