Festival Fridays: Industry Leader Spotlight

Industry Leader Spotlight: An inside look at the minds behind the most extraordinary festivals around the world.

  1. How did you get your start in the music festival industry?

Justin Moss!  We had know each other for years (I tutored his wife in college), and he knew that I was looking to switch things up in my career.  I was working in Logistics but really was interested in festivals and events. He recommended me for a job at a local production company and completely changed my life!

  1. What advice would you give to someone trying to get their start in the industry? 

Make sure you’re developing relevant skills and keeping an eye open for new opportunities – navigating this industry can be tough, and you need to be as prepared as possible.  There’s a huge range of things to learn, but OSHA or FEMA certifications (available online!), CPR or other first aid, CAD, Adobe Creative Suite, database management, forklift/aerial lift certs are all helpful. The rest you have to learn the hard way – find people who are willing to teach you and listen, show up on time and have a good attitude. 

  1. Who’s your favorite artist you’ve worked with?

Foo Fighters – Dave Grohl is as great as everyone says he is.  He has left served lunch in the catering tent before.

  1. Favorite performance you’ve watched?

Probably Planes Mistaken for Stars in a little dive bar in Denver – it was a reunion show and every single person knew every single word and it was just a perfect night.
Second place is maybe Beyonce at Coachella. 

  1. Who is on repeat for you right now?

Dermot Kennedy, the Mountain Goats and Abrams 

  1. Festival or concert accessory you can’t live without? 1. As a crew member 2. As an attendee 

1. Good boots – if your feet are uncomfortable everything else will just suck.  Buy a good pair – Red Wing is probably my favorite brand.

2. Tie between hand sanitizer and sunscreen. 

  1. Besides the music, what is the most interesting offering you’ve seen at festivals (i.e. yoga, talks, DJ lessons)?

Helicopter rides are always a fun one.  Or backstage tattoos?  Everyone is doing goat yoga now which is super cute and a lot less permanent than a tattoo. 

  1. Biggest failure/lesson you’ve learned?

Trust, but verify.  And when I saw verify, I mean double check every last detail.  Just because you watch your fence company start to pound poles to secure the fence line it doesn’t mean they finished – and trust me, this becomes relevant when it gets windy.

  1. What is something that you think attendees might not know about planning a music festival?

I think most people are under the impression that music festivals are huge moneymakers. . . and wow do I wish that was the case.  I definitely see why people would think that, with ticket prices being as high as they are, but straight off the top about half that money is going to the artists.  Which makes sense, as that’s why we’re all there.  Then comes all the unsexy but extremely important things like insurance, keeping police and medics on call, traffic control, bathrooms, fencing, power. . . and that’s all before you get to do anything fun like build a stage.  It can take years for a festival to start making money, which is why there can be so much turnover.

  1. What are you most excited about when it comes to the future of this industry? 

This is an industry of incredibly creative, crafty people.  They are endlessly adaptable so when it’s safe, I know we’re going to see some incredibly cool things that people have been busy working on.