By Shelley Hill Young
Beau Burns doesn’t like to be bored. The party planner, entrepreneur and people connector is juggling at least four projects on his plate right now. All ambitious. None of them boring.
Beau helped launch the Yorktown Countdown New Year’s Eve party aboard the historic naval aircraft carrier almost six years ago. It’s one of Charleston’s largest New Year’s Eve celebrations. And it’s one of the most successful events he’s ever pulled off. It’s also one of the most challenging. “That ship is a beast,” he says.
Event organizers have to use cranes and boom trucks to lift tents, sound equipment and portable toilets onto the ship’s flight deck, making logistics way more difficult than a party at a traditional venue. But, Beau says, it’s the unique venue that has made the event successful.
After five years organizing the Yorktown Countdown, Beau and his partner, Jeff Swank, are ready to add a new experience to the mix. So, in addition to the Yorktown Countdown, they are introducing the Mansion Ball, a masquerade ball in the penthouse suites of The Restoration Hotel downtown. There will be different themes and different entertainment on each level. The Mansion Ball is a much smaller, more exclusive event with a “house party feel,” Beau says.
Beau says he’s already enjoyed entertaining his friends. “It got to the point where I could take it to the next level and start making money off of it.” Then, about three years ago, he was able to quit his finance job and focus exclusively on the events, which help fuel his love of travel and adventure.
In June, Beau opened Vida-Flo, an IV therapy spa, on St. Philip Street. It’s a departure from the party planning, but Beau says he wanted to do something that helps people. Yes, the IV therapy can help you rehydrate if you had too many drinks at a party the night before. “That’s one benefit, but it’s the lowest on the totem pole.” Other benefits of the IV fluids include treating headaches, cold and flu symptoms, stomach bugs and fatigue. “I believe in it,” he says.
Beau’s most ambitious project is The Wonderer, which is expected to debut in time to welcome in 2019. It’s a private social and wellness membership club planned on Meeting Street near North Morrison. A wonderer is a daydreamer, a seeker of admiration and someone drawn to new, different and exciting experiences — just the people he wants to attract to the club.
The sketches are stunning. Think Palm Springs or Bali, with a tropical, international flair.
“We want it to be an oasis,” Beau says.
He envisions members being able to plug in at the co-working space or swim laps in the pool in the morning. Grab lunch in the restaurant and then spend the afternoon lounging in a cabana by the pool. At night, there might be a band playing by the pool. There’s a large adjacent green space for public events.
Beau and his partners are hoping to break ground early next year and could open as soon as late summer, but definitely in time to throw their next New Year’s Eve party. Beau will be the general manager of the flexible club and venue space, which will provide endless possibilities. “It’s kind of a culmination of all the events,” he says.
If you’ve been in Charleston for even a short period of time, you are aware the city knows how to throw a party. But Beau seems to have found a way to stand out. “We daydream a lot and try to push boundaries,” he says. “If you don’t do something unique, you’re not going to catch people’s attention.”