Behind the Scenes: How event organizer Liv Johnson grew her event attendance by 2,650% with

We sat down with Liv Johnson, founder of Almost Nakey Events. Liv and her team consistently produce sold-out events annually across San Diego using In this exclusive interview, Liv shares the inspiration behind Almost Nakey’s inception, the intricacies of planning large-scale events, and the pivotal role played by in propelling the organization from a hundred to thousands of attendees. Join us as Liv delves into the magic, challenges, and partnerships that shape Almost Nakey’s unique approach to event planning.

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind Almost Nakey and how the organization came to be?

I started the brand Almost Nakey when I was in high school. It was originally a swimsuit brand where I learned the ins and outs of manufacturing and how to build a business. From there, the brand evolved over the years into an event production company as I quickly realized my passion was also around building community and bringing people together as I threw launch parties for new swimsuit drops. 

The first event I had back in 2021 in La Jolla really blew open the doors to this new part of the business in event production and we haven’t turned back since. I’m all about creating fun, memorable experiences that I personally want to attend which lead to defining the ethos of our brand around this idea of unlocking your inner child. Every event we do, I get to dream up spaces and experiences where attendees are not just participants but can be free spirits exploring their inner child. 

Now, Almost Nakey produces 3 major music festivals per year – 

  • San Diego’s Largest Santacon – 5,500 attendees at Belmont Park, San Diego in December
  • Almost Nakey Freedom Fest – 3,500 attendees at Beach House, San Diego in July 
  • Fresh Tracks Festival – 2,000 attendees in Mammoth Lakes, California in March. 

Your latest event in December 2023, Santacon at Belmont Park, was a huge success. What do you believe contributed to its popularity and sold-out status?

The location was at Belmont Park (an original San Diego staple amusement park on the beach)  and it was the first full park takeover in 99 years. All of the attendees could explore the entire park which included 4 stages, a speakeasy, and access to all rollercoasters. We hired famous DJ’s but also inspiring local talent to support San Diego’s local music scene. It was an experiential event where the entire venue turned into a Christmas wonderland. All of the attendees fully immersed themselves in the Christmas theme with their own costumes and spirit. We really leaned into our creative side in our promotion leading up to the event and the idea of bringing Santa to San Diego and saving Christmas (Check out the Almost Nakey Instagram account to see our creative campaign). I think the combination of it all played well together and is what contributed to having a sold-out event.    

How did you go about planning and organizing such a large-scale event, and were there any unique challenges you faced along the way?

It all comes down to an incredible team and an incredible venue. We planned this event for 6 months which gave us time to make sure we had every detail planned out. We had big aspirations for this event and knew we wanted this one to be our biggest turnout yet. Our biggest challenge was curating a lineup that appeals to different audiences in San Diego, while remaining cutty and cool and pulling in a huge act like Austin Millz. 

Why did you choose as the ticketing platform for the Santacon, and how did it enhance the overall event experience for attendees? has been instrumental in scaling from 200 to 5,500 attendees. The team has consistently provided support and resources, making them an integral part of my success as a producer. Their technology was robust enough to meet our needs and simple enough for our staff and team to run everything with ease. I appreciated how simple their on-site technology was to use for check-in. I loved viewing all of the data on the dashboard and seeing in real-time how many attendees were checked in once doors were open.

Almost Nakey focuses on organizing unique and engaging events. What criteria do you consider when conceptualizing and planning new experiences for your audience?

We always have the highest level production, wildest experiential builds, and mind-blowing activations to create the environment that defines Almost Nakey events. We really go all out from the creative promotional aspects to drive ticket sales as well and I think it shows in our video content that we have fun doing it. 

When it comes to planning the actual event, I really go back to our brand ethos and make sure that everything we are doing is centered around creating the best experience for our audience and doing things that are unique and different from what everyone else is doing. For example, a unique experiential moment we had at SantaCon was a custom-created 80-foot-tall Santa – the largest Santa in North and South America. I take production and build-out extremely seriously to make sure people leave with something to talk about and want to come back to see how we one-up ourselves at our next event. 

In what ways did help streamline the ticketing process, and what feedback did you receive from participants about their ticket-purchasing experience? seamlessly integrated into our website, creating a smooth experience for ticket buyers. The feedback from participants highlighted the ease of the process. We had no issues with ticket purchases which cut down our need for customer support. 

How do you maintain a balance between creating fun and memorable events while ensuring they run smoothly and meet logistical requirements?

A great team where we can push the boundary because we know the foundation is strong. I have been working with the same team for years and we’ve been through a lot of other large scale events so it was a huge moment for us. The ball never drops, ever, due to our amazing communication. Our teams were so ready to handle anything because of all pre-production work, amazing team leads, managers, and full staff. My entire team stepped up for the event.

What advice do you have for others looking to organize successful events?

Lead with a heartbeat. My passion for these events makes me push on. Guest experience is paramount from the second doors open to the final egress. 

Did provide any post-event analytics or reports that were valuable for evaluating the success of the Santacon event and planning for future endeavors?

The dashboard provided all the necessary data for sponsors, venues, and our internal team – demographic data, attendee numbers, etc. The checkout questions we could customize were particularly helpful. We could gather data on what headliners guests wanted to see next, what else they needed on site, and what they want to experience next year. This is amazing insight into our guests so we can always curate the best experience for the attendees. 

Can you share any lessons learned or key takeaways from organizing the Santacon event that might benefit other event organizers?

120 days, a detailed production schedule, and dialed pre-production schedules/ budgets/ meetings are vital for success. Team and organization are key.

For other event organizers considering, what key benefits or standout features would you emphasize based on your experience with the Santacon event?

The mobile check-in app and email attendee function were standout features that enhanced the overall event experience. We shared “what to expect” info, check-in location details, parking instructions, and what you can and can’t bring with the attendees prior to the event. We sold out our Santacon event so we didn’t need the POS, but we were ready for it and the tool is incredibly easy.

Finally, is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about Almost Nakey and the unique experiences you aim to create through your events?

Almost Nakey events provide a space to be free, act free, and access your inner child. My dad always asks me “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” and I’ve lived by this through my entire life. I produce these events for my own evolution and the genuine enjoyment of others. 

We’re excited to bring you more Almost Nakey events in the future!