HOUSE OF ROB September 17 2015

The House of Rob Celebration took place just five days after September 11 and New York’s nightlife "family" and DJs far and wide demonstrated how quickly people respond to a call for help.

Much-loved club promoter Rob Fernandez died suddenly in July, Eddie Dean — owner of Pacha, where Fernandez was director of promotions and booking for the past ten years — and other members of the nightlife community and friends tried to figure out how they could help his family. Aware that Fernandez was most concerned that his young son, Rian, receives a good education they decided to immediately set up a GoFundMe account.

Soon coming to realize that they’d have to take it a step further.

“Everybody was in shock,” said Dean. “Almost immediately after that, everybody that Rob had touched over the years felt they wanted to do something.”

What did Rob loved the most? Party! But, it could not just be a party, it had to be one that would mirror the great personality and influence of a man known all over the world as the “King of New York.”

“We had the idea it had to be massive, Madison Square Garden, the biggest thing ever,” recalled Kevin McHugh, a close friend whose association began when he was managing Danny Tenaglia, whose career took off with Fernandez’s Be Yourself parties at Vinyl.

“Pacha made the most sense,” he added. “They were donating everything.” After three months of wrangling, the city even agreed to close down the entire block fronting the Hell’s Kitchen nightclub on September 16 for a twelve-hour extravaganza DJ Johnny Dynell calls “the Woodstock of DJs.”


67 DJs were booked. If Guinness ever adds a “Most DJs Spinning in One Night" category to its World Records, this would be the winner, hands down.

The list includes those who’ve known Fernandez from the early days, like Dynell, who met him when he was a doorman at Sound Factory Bar, as well as the fresh faces he was mentoring when he died unexpectedly. In between are all of those whose careers Fernandez helped launch, like EDM superstar Kaskade. Several of the DJs who will be spinning are New York icons (Jellybean Benitez, Danny Krivit, Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez, Hector Romero, Hex Hector, et al.), producer-composers (e.g., Junior Sanchez), and newer scene-makers (Basic NYC’s Sleepy & Boo).

Of course, Pacha was heavily represented at the celebration, between the headliners (Jonathan Peters, Boris, Miss Jennifer) and veterans from the early years (Richie Santana and Peter Bailey). Fernandez may be best known for promoting big clubs like Twilo, Limelight, and Palladium, and giant venues like the Barclays Center and Central Park. But he was also instrumental in fostering the city’s underground club scene with parties like the Subliminal Sessions at Centro-Fly. 

Many people also don’t realize how deeply embedded Fernandez was in the city’s gay club scene, where he produced the wild Asseteria parties. Gay DJs paid their tribute. 

Most DJs were limited to 30 minutes, 45 max. 

Kaskade, who normally plays the giant Hudson River pier spaces, spinned at the low-level basement or Pachita, the loungy attic space.


Schedules were set in stone which made finding a suitable date that could accommodate everyone who wanted to participate impossible. “If it was one week, half couldn’t make it,” Dean said. “If the next week, the other half couldn’t. We finally chose Fashion Week.” Wednesday was chosen because it cut least into weekend travel.

What’s truly remarkable is that every single DJ is donating his or her expenses. DJs like Avicii who couldn’t juggle their schedules donated money. 

“It’s amazing that so many are flying in for this,” said former Pacha publicist Betty Kang, now of Plexi PR. “A lot of these DJs owe their career to Rob. He saw what was needed on the scene and gave people a chance.”

And not only DJs: everybody involved, from the producer of a laser-light show to security guards.

As the London-based Moudaber points out, “This is a very special celebration, and I am so honored to be part of it. I feel at home in New York City, and Rob Fernandez has a lot to do with that. Rob was the very best of promoters. He championed me and gave me my first gig here.”

For those familiar with the underbelly of the nightlife industry, however, what really blows the mind is the generous response of other clubs and event producers.

Provocateur and Marquee are sent out the word to their bottle-service clientele. And Electric Zoo, McHugh said, “usually [doesn't] allow DJs to perform for 60 or 90 days in a market. They changed their contracts — and put the benefit in their promotional material.” 

Sharon Fernandez is blown away by “the outpouring of support from Rob’s nightlife family. We knew he had a big heart but we literally had no idea how beloved and respected he was across the globe by so many people.”

In the spirit of Fernandez, who, Dean recalled, “was a creative, fun guy who loved coming up with offbeat ideas,” Pacha’s personnel went to work on the city for an unprecedented permit that will allow West 46th Street between Eleventh and Twelfth avenues to become an inner-city outdoor dance-music festival for five hours. 

“We want this to reflect Rob’s over-the-top personality,” McHugh added. “It’s finally time we get to celebrate and have some laughs.”


Picture and Video Material, Pacha-NYC Instagram

Source: Village Voice