Diesel Stages a Rock 'n' Roll Big Top to Celebrate 30th Anniversary

Diesel hosted a rock 'n' roll circus on a Brooklyn pier to celebrate the company's 30th anniversary.

By Mimi O'Connor October 14, 2008, 12:12 PM EDT

Technically, the Diesel tent was a roofing system—a structure that can support heavy weights a tent can't.

Photo: Keith Sirchio for Bizbash

Diesel's "xXx" 30th Anniversary Party
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Think you had a big 30th birthday bash? The folks at Diesel might beg to differ.

On October 11, the fashion company staged what it described as a 24-hour party in 17 cities, spanning eight time zones, all in honor of its 30th anniversary, dubbed “Diesel xXx.” The celebrations took place in locations as far flung as Tokyo, Dubai, Beijing, Paris, and Milan, and culminated with a blowout party for as many as 6,700 revelers on Pier 3 in Brooklyn, called a Diesel Rock 'n' Roll Circus.

With the event scheduled to start at 9 p.m., a line of somewhat terrifying proportions had already begun to form outside the gates an hour before. Set back on the pier, a massive tent alternately floodlit with Rock 'n' Roll Circus logos, an image of a transfixed crowd, and a colorful harlequin design enclosed the party space. Inside, guests encountered a circus atmosphere more informed by old European traveling carnivals than Barnum & Bailey.

The Relevent Group produced the bash, and planning began in May, with the company's president, Tony Berger, scouting sites by car and helicopter. Securing Pier 3 for the event was no easy task; Relevent acquired five permits, including sound, temporary public assembly, and temporary structure permits, to make it happen. “It was an exhaustive process,” Berger said. “It took an incredible amount of fortitude and perseverance to convince [site owners the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation].”

Variety acts performed throughout the 36,000-square-foot tent: Contortionists entertained atop large red platforms; a pair of dwarfs played cards while elevated above a bar; gymnasts bounced on mechanical leg contraptions; and a fire eater swallowed flames on the immense stage at the rear of the venue. Decor touches such as moving colored spotlights, carnival food stands, and raw wood bars and production booths—affixed with permanent markers so guests could write what they wished on the surfaces—reinforced the circus theme. The food offerings did the same, providing guests munchies such as cotton candy, hot dogs, popcorn, and funnel cakes from booths along the tent's perimeter.

Much of the evening's entertainment took place on the large stage flanked by towering video screens that displayed black-and-white and color animations, as well as a live feed from the red carpet outside, and a live mix of the party itself. Pelle Almqvist of the Hives, acted as DJ, and host Joey Arias took the stage early on, with acts such as M.I.A, N.E.R.D., and Franz Ferdinand performing as the evening progressed. The party officially ended at 2 a.m. 

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