Onesie love: Rambo Party Productions brings beats to North Lake Tahoe
Special to the Sun
OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — A restaurant server and snowboard instructor by day and event planner by night, Ryan Rambo has made it his job to throw a great party.
“I wanted to bring something really special to this community in a positive way that connects people through music and dancing,” said the 31-year-old Squaw Valley resident. “When I look out at a crowd and everyone is dancing and feeling the vibe of the music, that’s when I know I’ve done all I can do to make a good time happen.”
Since launching Rambo Party Productions four years ago, Rambo has been shaking and laser-lighting things up on dance floors across the North Shore of Lake Tahoe.
FINDING HIS RHYTHM
Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Rambo made the move out West in his early ‘20s, landing in Seattle for a few years before relocating to North Tahoe.
Although the music scene in Seattle satisfied his craving for psychedelic dance parties, the avid snowboarder was looking for a more convenient commute to a ski resort than the Pacific Northwest had to offer.
“The mountains in Washington are amazing, but they’re really far away from everything and everyone, which is part of the reason they’re so amazing,” Rambo said. “But I wanted to live somewhere closer to a ski resort that also had more of a year-round community.”
Weighing his West Coast options, Squaw Valley seemed a likely choice as it was the only resort that would interview him over the phone for a snowboard instructor position.
After landing the job, Rambo found the mountain terrain was everything he had hoped it would be, but the party scene in North Lake Tahoe was unfortunately not.
“I was looking for more things to do outside of work, but I found there wasn’t much as far as the music I was into, and the vibe I was looking for — and there were never many girls at any of the parties,” Rambo recalled. “It seemed like they were all being thrown for guys, and there’s already enough guys in Tahoe, so I kept thinking, how do we get the ladies to come out and dance?”
After hosting an unofficial house party and paying out-of-pocket for the DJ, Rambo started to hone in on his niche for throwing a great dance party, but it wasn’t until the first official “Tight and Bright”-themed event that he launched himself into the world of party planning.
“I’m fully convinced that dressing up in neon colors or onesies or whatever it might be is a big part of why this works, and I also think it’s what brings out the girls,” Rambo said with an infectious smile.
LIFE OF THE PARTY
Over the past four years, the onesie-wearing, funky-music man has been building a staggering fan base with crowds typically lined up out the door, with everyone wanting a taste of the eclectic entertainment brought on by Rambo Party Productions.
“It starts with a vision of what I think the sound, lighting and musical elements should be, and from there it’s booking the artists, finding the right venue — which is the hardest part — and then bringing all those pieces together,” said Rambo, whose preferred venue is Hacienda Del Lago in Tahoe City due to its size, sound quality and atmosphere. “My dream would be to have a venue in North Lake that was built for the sole purpose of performance.”
Though the gig doesn’t rake in the type of cash flow that would afford Rambo to quit his day job, and the learning process hasn’t always been easy for the self-taught event orchestrator, the connections he’s made in the music festival industry have made it well worth the effort.
“I promise you I’m not getting rich by doing this, but that the fee will be well worth the price you’d pay for two drinks or one and a half hours of work,” Rambo said.
Jenny Goldsmith is a North Tahoe-based freelance writer and a former reporter for the Sierra Sun newspaper. Have an idea for a merchant to feature? Email her at email@example.com.