Amazon turned Seattle’s largest event center into its own wonderland on Friday night as a way to say “thank you” to thousands of employees.
The tech giant hosted 22,000 people at its annual post-holiday party inside CenturyLink Field and Event Center, and GeekWire had a chance to experience the massive celebration among a throng of Seattle-area Amazon workers.
There was an array of activities, food, drinks, and fun across the 200,000 square-foot event center and throughout CenturyLink Field, the 67,000-seat stadium which serves home to the Seattle Seahawks. The party kicked off around 8 p.m., and there was a never-ending stream of employees with their plus-ones flowing into the event.
DNCE, with lead singer Joe Jonas, was the headlining band — Amazon has tapped popular groups like Fall Out Boy and Imagine Dragons for past post-holiday parties — and played hit songs like “Cake By The Ocean” and “Toothbrush” to a huge crowd that seemed pretty into it.
Beth Galetti, VP of Human Resources at Amazon, took the stage just before DNCE to thank employees for their hard work. Amazon workers are usually heads-down working during the holiday rush, the company’s busiest time of the year, so Amazon hosts its celebration in January.
Galetti told the crowd that “this is a serious party.”
“We have had an amazing year — you have had an amazing year — doing awesome things for our customers and I want to thank you for that,” Galetti added.
Robert DeLong and Dueling Pianos with Jeff & Rhiannon also performed before DNCE rocked out. At one point I heard “make some fu***** noise Amazon!” which I always get a kick out of at these huge tech company parties.
Musical performances were just one of several activities set up across the event center and within the concourses of CenturyLink Field.
Amazon also took over the field at CenturyLink, setting up huge tents with comedy shows — featuring Amazon’s own employees — and karaoke, along with soccer outside.
The themes of the evening were “have fun!” and the hashtag “#bepeculiar,” which refers to Amazon’s core leadership principles that the company’s employees apply every day “whether they’re discussing ideas for new projects, deciding on the best solution for a customer’s problem, or interviewing candidates,” according to Amazon’s site.
The crowd was mostly under-30, with a ton of young couples and groups of friends enjoying their Friday night on behalf of Amazon, which expects to generate at least $42 billion for Q4 2016. There were people everywhere — it reminded me of how big Amazon is, with 25,000 employees in Seattle alone and more than 300,000 overall.
— Luke Walker (@elukewalker) January 21, 2017
— Shayne Leong (@ShayneLeong) January 21, 2017
— Sonny Macwan (@alexagurrl) January 21, 2017