When I was growing up, my parents used to throw the most amazing parties (and they still do). They would collect all kinds of people from various parts of their lives — coworkers from my mom's non-profit job and my dad's small business, friends, neighbors, aging relatives — and throw these amazing bashes where everyone had delicious food, sat around playing musical instruments around bonfires, and generally had an amazing time.
As an adult, my partner and I are having a hard time replicating that vibe with our friends and colleagues. There always seems to be someone in the corner texting their friends because they have no one to talk to. How do you bring people together in a party situation, especially when these people can be as disparate as your rocker lesbian friends, your nerdy friends from the anime club in university, and your conservative Chinese coworker?
My advice: Activities, activities, activities!
Like you mentioned, musical instruments are great for the musically inclined to bond over, and a bonfire will draw all types of people to gather together. For my Nerdy 30 birthday party, I had to pull together several different groups of friends who all seemed to have fun re-visiting their childhoods by playing with Nerf guns. Offbeat Brides have often used games to bring groups of people together.
So, Homies, what other advice do you have as far as getting all types of people to engage with each other at a party?