RICH PICKINGS: How to party like a billionaire

Whether it be three-day parties with Lindsay Fox, or cringe-worthy poetry with Gina Rinehart, billionaires know how to throw a big bash. Here are six tips to put on a celebration worthy of the wealthy.

It’s been another rough week for many in the business community. Confidence remains weak, the Federal Budget looks like it will contain cuts and the markets keep tracking sideways.

Well, let’s forget about all those worries for a little while. We’re going to a party!

Lindsay Fox’s 75th birthday party, which stretched from last Thursday to Saturday, must surely count as one of the biggest functions ever thrown in Australia.

The fun started on Thursday, when Fox hosted a 1940s-themed party at Melbourne’s ritzy Park Hyatt hotel, where the 300 guests also stayed the night thanks to Fox.

On Friday, the boys on the guest list did a spot of wine tasting, while the ladies enjoyed a lunch. The sexes came together in the evening though to attend a 'Roaring ‘20s' party thrown by Fox’s good friend, Solomon Lew (who could have done with some mirth after a tough week in the courts).

On Saturday, Fox was off to the footy to watch Carlton take on Essendon at the MCG, before hitting the Fox mansion for a gala black-tie soiree.

Fox, who has famously said he thought he would be dead by the age of 62, clearly loves celebrating these big milestones.

Back in 2007, when he turned 70, Fox held a three-day bender in Sydney, where dinner at the opera house, a country-themed event at Randwick Racecourse and a gala at Sydney’s Park Hyatt all featured on the schedule.

With an estimated fortune a tick over $2 billion, Fox can afford to splash a few million on an event that would surely give his friends as big a thrill as he will get.

But the sheer size of the party – three days filled with very big events – does raise an interesting question: Has anyone in Australia ever been able to top Fox’s 75th function?

We’re struggling to answer that question in terms of Australian billionaires, but we think we may have spotted an international party to rival Fox’s event.

Last month, British billionaire Sir Philip Green – the founder of the TopShop chain – asked 150 guests to be ready with warm weather clothes for a plane trip to an unknown location. The guests – including former TopShop ambassador Kate Moss and American Idol star Simon Cowell and movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Gwyneth Paltrow – were then flown to Mexico for a four-day party.

Entertainment at the exclusive resort where the soiree took place included performances from Stevie Wonder, Bruno Mars, Robbie Williams, Cee Lo Green, George Michael, Enrique Iglesias and Rihanna.

Let’s take a look at a few more billionaire party moments, by counting down 10 things you should consider if you want to party like a rich entrepreneur.

Staying power

As Fox shows, a one-night bash is for wimps. If you really want to party, the event needs to go for at least a few days. Indian weddings are famous for their length and the nation’s billionaires are famous for spending up. Last year, UK-based billionaire Pramod Agarwal spent an estimated $35 million on his daughter’s wedding, booking an entire island off Venice for the soiree, which featured a performance by pop star Shakira.

World-class entertainment

A pop star is a must if you want to hold a truly great billionaire party. Last year, Elton John played a concert for 200 guests at the party of private equity billionaire Leon Black, while Beyonce, The Rolling Stones and Barry Manilow have all performed at private parties. There’s big money on offer for the entertainers too: The Eagles were reportedly paid $6 million to play one song – Hotel California, of course – at one billionaire party in New York.

A boat

Nothing screams 'billionaire' like a big super yacht and nothing screams 'billionaire party' like a function on the sea. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is famous for throwing huge shindigs on his 413-foot Octopus, while James Packer is another billionaire with a fondness for yacht parties – he even got married on the family’s old boat, the Artic P.

Star guests

James Packer has always attracted plenty of star power to his birthday events, including Shane Warne and Lachlan Murdoch (with whom he shares a birthday). Movie stars, sporting personalities, politicians and fellow business luminaries should always be on the guest list. But one person you might want to consider adding to the guest list is noted economist Nouriel Roubini, who is a noted party animal – seriously! Here are some great snaps of him enjoying a big party thrown by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.

Good press coverage

While most billionaires profess to be private types, it’s no good throwing one of these great events if you can’t get a little kudos for spoiling your friends. A quiet tip to a gossip columnist should do the trick – a few photos of guests arriving will really make your event stand out.

A poem

As the recent Australian Story episode on Gina Rinehart showed, the Hancock family has always thrown a good bash – former Prime Minister John Gorton even gave a speech at her 21st birthday. In February, Rinehart also held a black-tie party to celebrate her 58th birthday. One of the guests, old friend Ron Manners, took the tack that you can’t buy a present for a woman who has everything, and so composed a special poem for the iron ore mogul.

Here are a few verses:

"Say what you like about Gina,
She is out there having a 'go',
Unlike some of those envious critics
Whose top speed is definitely 'slow'

"Creators create out of nothing,
Satisfaction is what they sustain,
They beautify life, so let's have more Ginas
To replace leaders who lead down the drain.”

On second thoughts, perhaps ditch the poem. Try some fireworks instead.


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