JT Holmes and Luis Basilio cash in on the 18+ party scene in Tempe

(Photo courtesy of Nick Latona) (Photo courtesy of Nick Latona)

Successful business partnerships often bloom from the strangest of places —sometimes even in pools of bad blood.

Such is the case with the party-promoting duo of business management sophomore at Grand Canyon University JT Holmes, 19, and ASU nutrition and dietetics senior Luis Basilio, 26, who now conquer the 18-and-older party scene in Tempe, making thousands of dollars in the process.

With the advent of Twitter, long distances no longer pose a threat to young entrepreneurial hopefuls. Holmes and Basilio, together bolstering almost 100,000 Twitter followers, were involved in a minor spat with each other over their online presence and stature.

“I’ve seen Luis on Twitter, like me and him are both kind of big on Twitter,” Holmes said. “I see a lot of this like, basically saying he’s this big guy on campus.”

Holmes is from Minneapolis, but always had ASU in his sights for college — although he currently attends Grand Canyon University. Seeing Basilio’s Twitter presence, Holmes directed a few minor insults his way.

“He used to just say like, ‘Oh yeah, I have more girls than you,’” Basilio said. “Little petty stuff.”

But that little petty stuff led to a civil reconciliation between the two and eventually helped sprout their lucrative relationship after Holmes moved to Arizona for school.

Holmes and Basilio’s philosophy is unique — instead of focusing on the legal drinking age crowd, they seek to give college freshmen and sophomores a safe way to release stress on the weekends.

School of Rock, a Mill Avenue club, hosts most of their parties because of the cordial relationship they have with its owner. Charging only $5 - $10 per ticket, average attendance at their festivities is around 700 people.

Holmes’ friendship with Kam Bennett, a Twitter-verified Minnesota DJ, means their parties gain extra exposure from having access to his name. Bennett also performs as a DJ at all of their events.

While indulging in their current lifestyle suffices for now, Holmes is particularly ambitious and looking to the future. He one day hopes to open a club in the Scottsdale area — a market known for its expensive taste.

Holmes is even dabbling in the promotion of minor celebrity Twitter accounts. Maurice Ager, former NBA player, reached out to Holmes about promoting his name. Naturally, Holmes was eager to accept and is now paid weekly to manage Ager’s account.

“Working with him has been crazy,” Holmes said. “It’s not what you know it’s who you know — that’s why I put so much time into Twitter.”

Basilio’s money-first demeanor has been a major attributing factor to his accomplishments as a party promoter. His first venture into ASU party planning yielded a profit of around $400 — and that was only a small-time house party.

Rather than blow the money for instant gratification, Basilio reinvested his funds into renting a venue and throwing a bigger party. Basilio said his smart money handling sets him apart from other students his age.

The day-to-day process of planning one of their events has become almost too much for Basilio to handle on his own. His assistant, Nataljia Staletovic, an ASU freshman, is vital in helping mitigate Basilio’s workload.

Basilio and Staletovic meet over coffee almost every day to discuss their to-do list. The days leading up to an event are especially stressful for them as they have to manage the dozens of sub-promoters and security officers and make sure their funding is in line.

“It’s always something new with Luis,” Staletovic said. “Being there for him is always great — him and JT, both.”

Supervising is Basilio’s primary goal during the parties themselves. The night of an event has him staying sober and overseeing the party’s flow from a distance. Stress courses his veins right up until the venue’s doors are shut and locked.

“As the night goes, I start to worry about what I’m gonna wear, what girls are coming and how many people are gonna show up,” Basilio said. “I don’t start to calm down and get into my calm state until around 12:30 (a.m.).”

Basilio said his personable charm takes a backseat during the events while, ironically, Holmes’ typically reserved and collected persona culminates into a boisterous party-animal.

A tinge of uncertainty shrouds Basilio and Holmes’ future together, though. Basilio is a senior at ASU and is looking to graduate soon – and possibly leave the party promoting business for good.

“I’ve been a people a pleaser — I like to entertain and the enjoyment of others comes before mine,” Basilio said. “But now it’s coming to the end of the road where like I graduate in May and I just want to focus on me."

Holmes expressed concern with Basilio’s graduation, unsure if he could handle the weight Basilio’s name carries at ASU. Holmes focuses on attracting students from GCU while Basilio handles the ASU crowd. Losing Basilio could mean less attendance at events.

During a phone conversation, Holmes said to Basilio, “Luis, I don’t know what I’m gonna do when you’re gone.” The nervousness in Holmes’ voice was palpable.

Basilio said he worries about the ambitious projects Holmes is pursuing and is afraid he may soon hit a wall with his progress. Despite this, Basilio remains confident in Holmes’ ability to take the reins and guide his career into the stratosphere.

Basilio and Holmes are hosting the 18 and older “Pre-Spring Break Bash” on Feb. 26 at School of Rock in Tempe. Tickets cost $10 for guys and girls are free until 10:30 p.m.

Reach the reporter at nlatona@asu.edu or follow @Bigtonemeaty on Twitter.

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