written by Ariana Assaf
By a certain point in any party person’s life, a reasonable amount of failed plans are inevitable. Take AQUA founders Pat Brown and Luca Rietti, for example. As president of the University of Rhode Island Surf Club, Pat sought to build up the club’s reputation and raise some money by throwing concerts. But after two years of rained out shows, the ever-optimistic Pat came up with an idea for a show that couldn’t get rained out.
“I ran upstairs to Lucca, and said ‘Dude, water show.’ We started jumping up and down like we had just won the lottery.”
The idea struck in October 2012, and a year later the two threw an end of the year party complete with their first ever water cannon, made possible by a little help from Home Depot, Youtube videos, and a tire pump at a gas station to supply the water pressure.
“That was very preliminary AQUA,” says Lucca. “It was still just an idea in our heads. We were just dumb college kids.”
Fast forward to their current partnership with Atlanta’s Imagine Music Festival, and it’s clear that the plan wasn’t so dumb after all. The two continued research on water effects while reaching out to industry professionals who might want to partner up, and soon a three-stop “Get Wet” tour with Krewella led them to the opportunity to work on Hardwell’s entire tour starting in April 2014.
A philanthropic motive quickly became a driving force behind the company once Pat came across a video made by Water Is Life, documenting the “bucket list” of a young child who was likely to die due to lack of access to clean water. The resulting partnership with Water Is Life helped create AQUA’s one ticket=one month setup, in which the purchase of a ticket to most AQUA events provides a month of clean water to a child in Ghana. With the purchase of an AQUA ticket package to an event as large as Imagine, attendees are providing an entire year of water to a child in need.
“One in five kids die before they’re five years old in Ghana because of the global water crisis,” Pat explains. ‘It’s so insanely tragic and honestly unbelievable that this is still a thing—it’s just unacceptable. It isn’t about lack of water, it’s about access to water. There’s clean water underground but people don’t have access to it, so they drink out of dirty streams.”
AQUA also works with Water Is Life to provide Life Straws to those in need, filters that last about a year and work to filter out and kill bacteria in water.
“We’ve raised about eleven years of clean water for a school in Ghana, and the mission is to go to Ghana and film the impact that people are having by going to the shows, to encourage people to see how easy it is to make a difference. As an EDM community, we can come together and solve a crisis.”
Watch AQUA take over at Imagine’s main stage this weekend, and see what it looks like when people come together to help others in need.