How ya’ gonna keep ’em down on the farm?
A few years back, the music industry was in the doldrums. It was getting harder and harder to make money, and grow a fan base. This was not a good thing for anyone.
Ashley Capps of AC Entertainment, a music promoter based in Knoxville, TN was getting frustrated. Capps started his career booking shows at the University of Tennessee, and then in clubs. He knew the spirit of younger music fans well. What would they want?
So in 2002, he partnered with Superfly Presents, an event production company based in New Orleans. The founders of Superfly also started their music careers while they were students at Tulane. Thinking back to the most revolutionary concert of their time, the group realized it was Woodstock. Why not create a modern version of Woodstock?
They knew they were on to something. But they had a few things to deal with. The trick was to create something basically out of thin air (read- $$$), create something new and exciting …something that would appeal to young music lovers during the summer when they were free to travel and have fun. (read: spend money). Something with music ’round the clock, camping options, arts – all around free spirited good times. Offering the best music of multiple genres. Without alot of money.
So Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival was born in 2002 – with a focus on jam bands. According to Wikipedia, Bonnaroo, or Bon-a-roo, is a New Orleans French Creole slang phrase meaning “best on the street.” The phrase is derived from French words “bon à rue”, though the phrase does not exist in French.
The four day June festival is held on a 700 acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee. Multiple stages feature live music of all types including indie rock, classic rock, world music, hip hop, jazz, Americana, bluegrass, country music, folk, gospel, reggae, pop, electronic, and other alternative music.
At it’s height of popularity it’s attracted 80,000 music lovers. Because of Bonnanroo’s success, the festival circuit started to grow again and in a big way. Today, live touring accounts for the largest piece of an artist’s income.
People like music,…. lots of people
Enjoy checking out different types of festivals? It’s the best way to see alot of music you love and discover tons of new and up and coming bands and artists.Now there are tons in every area of the country, and for every genre of music. The Indie Bible and other resources have lists of festivals by state and genre.
Fun in the sun all day
Plan what shows you want to see
Celebrate good times
Grab your tribe and choose some festivals to enjoy. They run the range from Big Daddies like the ‘Roo and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Red Rocks in Telluride and Governor’s Ball in New York to smaller regional and local genre specific ones.
Whether you’re going for fun (with friends) or work (playing music) there are some things you should consider before you go.
Preparing/Planning for Festival as a fan
First question- can you afford it?
- ticket price
- transportation costs
- what to pack
- what you need to survive hot hot weather
- how long it takes to get there and get back
- Plan B and contingency plans for weather, traffic jams etc
Preparing for the festival….as a performer
Biggest question: Are you ready?
Are you being paid?
- Is the amount you’re being paid enough to cover the cost of the gig?
- Can they accommodate the production needs of your show
- Transportation for band
- Food and drinks
- Press and interview opportunities
- Are there bands you can network with?
- Key contacts for production, emergency and all other aspects of show
- Can you get key stage footage for media and social use?
- Do you have new music to showcase and sell?
If you want to learn more about bands and gigs, check out the MR411 Resources on the site. You’ll find best practice information and insider tips to help you be your best version of your musical self. You can also get lots of free tips and cool stuff by signing up for the MR411 newsletter.