Behind the WAS. scenes #1: Introducing our doorhosts
A safe and welcoming environment is a high priority for WAS. Next to clear house rules, one of the most important tools to create this atmosphere is having a great door host who understands the values of the club. Lois has been a familiar face as the door host of WAS. for a long time, but unfortunately, she’ll be spending less time working for WAS. in the near future. We thought this would be a great moment to sit down with Lois and discuss the door policy. What is the main job of a door host? What does a door host look out for? And do visitors really get refused entry if they haven’t memorized the whole line-up?
A result of Lois’ break is that there will be new faces to get used to at the door. And not one, but two! A great opportunity to get to know those two new door hosts as well.
Hi Lois, let’s start with the fact that we think it’s a pity that we won’t get to see you around as much as we are used to.
Yeah, I feel the same. But it’s a break, not a goodbye. I’m a freelance production designer and I have a pretty big score at the moment which consumes my time in the weekends.
We all know your face as the door host at WAS., but we don’t know much about you as a person. Could you tell us a bit about who you are?
Well, hi! I’m Lois, 28 years old, originally from Eindhoven, but have been living in Utrecht for 10 years already. Pretty long if you ask me! After starting a degree that I didn’t finish, I decided to pursue the most theoretical degree I knew: literature. While doing that I worked in a bar and owned a web shop with a friend. Lucky me: through the web shop, people started offering me styling jobs. Those eventually evolved into production design for commercials, video clips and, eventually, film.
How did you end up working for WAS.?
It’s kind of funny because I never went clubbing at WAS., but the club was my savior. I was pretty lost in Utrecht at that time. I didn’t know what to do and where to go in the weekends. Then one day, Luke (Cohlen) asked me if being a door host would be something for me. My first reaction was: No, I already have a job. Then I realized that I was always complaining about the lack of big clubs in Utrecht. And a group of people were trying their best to create an awesome, fully grown club! After realizing that, I decided that of course I want to be part of this terrific club.
How is WAS. trying to create a safe club environment for everyone?
That’s a very important topic for WAS. Everyone who works for the club is well informed about our house rules and follows a course to make sure they have enough tools to uphold those rules. A while back we invited Sex Matters to teach us ways to maintain a safe environment. We also have a group of visitors who actively scan the club to spot unsafe situations or unwanted behavior. If they notice something is off they try to help and inform the staff immediately.
How is the door policy contributing to this?
First of all I always inform our guests about the house rules. I ask them to alert us when they or others feel unsafe or unwelcome so we can interfere. We absolutely do not tolerate racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia or transphobia. Same for sexual harassment and violence. A lot of people are under the impression that house rules are there to create a feeling of exclusivity, but the opposite is true. They exist to create and guard an inclusive club environment where every person who shares those norms and values feels welcome and safe.
After the opening of WAS. in 2017, the club received some bad publicity in the media. You were hired after that news. Could you tell us what changes have been implemented since then?
Something went wrong that particular night. Due to unclear internal communication -since the club was still in a start-up phase- there were people who unjustly were refused entry. Obviously those people were reimbursed the full value of their tickets. The house rules haven’t changed, we still believe in the same values as we did then. Something that did change is the execution of those rules in the door policy.
So, I will get in if I don’t know the line-up by heart?
Hahaha! Well, firstly let me clarify that I hope all of our visitors visit us for the music and to dance. But of course you are still very welcome if you can’t recite or pronounce the whole line up. It’s a myth that some are denied access for this reason. But we do believe there should be a match between the visitors and the club, so I always explain what kind of night it will be if people are not informed beforehand. In that way they can always choose to go somewhere else.
You have two new colleagues, Marianne and Wouter. Any words of advice for them?
I am absolutely convinced they are more than capable of judging which people will fit our club, respect our house rules and have a great night. Judge for yourselves!
Hi peeps, welcome to the WAS. crew!
Could you tell us a bit about yourselves?
Marianne: Hi, I’m Marianne, 26 years old and I live in Lombok, Utrecht, together with a bunch of people. I work part time at EKKO, as a company director. Next to that I’m currently studying Journalism at the Hogeschool van Utrecht.
Wouter: Hi, I’m Wouter! I have been living in Utrecht, in Zuilen, for the past five years. I graduated as a graphic designer at the school of the arts a couple of years ago. I’m currently working for myself as a visual artist. Next to this, I work at a coffee place.
How did you end up becoming the new door hosts for WAS?
Wouter: I know Lois from WAS., and she approached me personally for this position. I was unsure for a while because becoming the new door host would mean that I’ll miss most of the DJ sets. But after finding out that I could rotate shifts with Marianne, I was convinced.
Marianne: The same for me. I can’t work every edition because I need to combine it with my work at EKKO. As for how I got this job, a friend of mine thought this job would really suit me. At a party she told the manager of WAS. that I was interested. The rest is history.
You have some big shoes to fill, how are you going to manage that?
Marianne: I think is the most important job of being a door host is to create a safe environment on the dance floor. As door hosts you should make sure everyone in line is informed what these house rules are and will live by it. It’s not my job to judge if you’re cool enough to enter - I’m doing this to make sure everyone feels safe and welcome.
Wouter: I totally agree. Everyone should feel at home and respect our house rules. They are there for a reason, not just to annoy people. It’s to create awareness and make sure everyone has a great night.
To close off, do you want to say something to all the ravers out there?
Marianne: Don’t be afraid of the door policy! Be welcome!
Wouter: Yes, and we’ll definitely see you on the dance floor after we have closed the entrance and finished our shift. Oh, and don’t forget a € 2 coin for the lockers!
05.03.2019 - Words by Merel de Heus