Philadelphia is a bustling city with a vibrant nightlife. Every weekend, hundreds of natives and tourists take to the busy streets to own the night and to dance away their worries seeking adventure. In a city overflowing with bars and nightclubs, it’s no surprise the nightlife scene has become somewhat rudimentary thus creating a void. Two Morehouse College graduates from Philadelphia sought to not only understand but to fill that void. They call themselves, One Group.
We Are The Formula
Founded by Jason Wells and Jvonn “Jay” Forbes, One Group is Philadelphia’s premier event planning company bringing the most exclusive events to the city.
The formation of One Group however was born from perfectly aligned synergy. Already friends from their college years, Forbes and Wells would cross path later in life to seal the deal. Each person having their own respective backgrounds and impressive resumes.
Jason had a background in successfully opening and operating both clubs and restaurants throughout the country.
Whereas, Jay was known to impeccably curate and organize events throughout the country.
Prior to returning home, the dynamic duo worked together in other major cities such as Los Angeles, New York City, as well as Atlanta organizing events for the Congressional Black Caucus, the former Mayor of Atlanta, Tastemakers, and a bevy of politicians and athletes.
Unsurprisingly, competitors in the field began to take notice.
“People tried to duplicate what we did in other cities back home in Philly,” Forbes noted. “You can always copy but if you don’t have the real it’s not gonna work. We quickly realized we are the formula, we are the reason why this works,” he asserted. “It’s just a matter of picking up and taking it to another city. The city being the one we both were raised -Philadelphia. And yup, that’s how we got here, back home. It was truly a full circle moment of fate.”
You Probably Weren’t Invited
Together Wells, Forbes, and now partner Matthew “Matty” Patterson curate Philly’s most coveted events. To be invited to attend an event powered by One Group is a symbol of nightlight elitism. It is a badge of honor in ascending the narrow hierarchy amongst Philadelphia socialites and influencers. The running caption across social media platforms from organizers and attendees the day after one of the group’s secret events-“You probably weren’t invited”.
It is this intentionally systematic secrecy that allows One Group to plan and execute clandestine parties for the hottest celebrities.
Last month after performing in Philadelphia for his sold-out “It’s Only Us” Tour, rap megastar Lil’ Baby had an after party hosted by Teyana Taylor and Glo’rilla.
The event was by invitation-only. Even those who were invited were not given the location until a mere few hours before the event start time. Furthermore, guests were given a specific time to arrive. This ensured there weren’t any lines, loitering, or attention to the arrival point.
Indeed, the event was powered by One Group and sponsored by Ace of Spades and D’ussé.
When Beyoncé kicked off the U.S. leg of her Renaissance World Tour right here in Philadelphia, Forbes received a call to curate a last minute after-party event. In true One Group fashion, the team did just that.
“She didn’t show up,” Forbes laughed, ” some very influential people from her camp did. However, we were prepared if Beyoncé did show up. We’re always prepared.”
Champagne & Roses
Last week was quite a busy week for One Group, with a total of five events planned throughout Philly. There was the Opulence event at Club NOTO as well as a stunning rooftop party at one of the best rooftops in Philly, Stratus.
The 45th Annual National Black MBA Association Conference was held in Philadelphia this year in which One Group organized two more events.
Lastly, the week culminated with an invitation only private party for Grammy-Award winning singer, Ne-Yo. The superstar was in town for his “Champagne & Roses” Tour and of course, One Group was summoned to bring the same exclusive and elusive vibes for Ne-Yo.
Following the what-should-be trademarked formula of a One Group secret party, Ne-Yo enjoyed a private dinner before going upstairs to vibe.
The next day as word flooded social media, the city was once again reminded they weren’t invited!
A Controlled Environment
What sets One Group a part from other promotional and event planning companies is their carefully-crafted, precise system. When speaking of the void in the Philadelphia nightlife community, Forbes was quick to point it out.
“How is it that we have these mega superstars in Philly and there’s so many big promoters in the city that do weekly parties, but none of them were able to capitalize on private parties and keeping these megastars in the city,” Forbes emphasized.
“There’s no reason for a star to perform in Philly but party afterwards in New York. If we’re not getting that look for the city, then what are we even doing”.
“Most people lack identity in how they actually produce events,” he explained, “something that is very unique about One Group is that all of our events are produced by one group. You never see us partnering with another promotional company. You’ll rarely see us working with anyone outside of our group. And that gives us a unique identity. Uniformity.”
Specifically, each partner has a role. When you arrive, Jason is quiet but keen and observant. He is always at the door, guest list tightly in hand. Matty, the charismatic one, is mingling with guests, the life of the party one would say. And Forbes is the chameleon, methodically working his way around the room ensuring the event is flowing as it should, always in the background, the scaffolding of it all.
“It’s a very well controlled environment, free of chaos,” Forbes asserts, “it’s not a Hail Mary, we draw up a play for every single event every time.”
The Future And The Focus On Philly
Indeed, it is a controlled environment all the way down to the guest list. Only the partners are allowed to invite guests ensuring they know every guest who is in attendance. Moreover, the invitees compliment the overall atmosphere of the event. There are no weapons, or fighting, or violence or anything negative.
All the aesthetics and moving parts are conspicuously aligned.
“No matter if we’re doing Beyonce’s afterparty or Lil’ Baby or Devonte Smith – we are selective and know who will carry the vibes we want in that space,” said Forbes, “we also want our guests to walk away with a memorable experience every time”.
With the fall season just getting underway in Philadelphia, there are many more celebrity tours and festivals taking place in the city leaving us to wonder what the next secret party will be.
“Of course One Group knows but we can’t tell you that,” Forbes laughed, “but we can talk about the future and the focus on Philly”.
He continued, “none of us are looking to take over the world. What we’re doing in our own backyard is unique. What we’re doing in our backyard is creating smiles on people’s faces and memories. Focusing on Philly allows us to focus on mastery.”
“The goal isn’t to be famous,” Forbes concludes, ” the goal for us is to have a true impact in our hometown’s nightlife”.
Make sure to turn on notifications just in case you’re invited to the next super secret celebrity soriee.