Despite the music industry’s economic downturn, more and more music festivals have popped up and many continue to thrive. Because of the booming demand for tickets, live performances have become a vital revenue stream for many artists. But have we hit “peak festival”? Mainstays like Coachella and Lollapalooza have become increasingly corporate, and independently-run festivals contend that competition for is a huge issue in planning their events. We talk to three indie festival organizers, Nick Blasko (Rifflandia), Bob Babisch (Summerfest) and Zale Schoenborn (Pickathon), about the fate of their business and alternative festival models.
Whether it’s your first show or your dream venue, one of the most daunting tasks as a musician can be booking a gig. From the outside, it’s hard to know just how much planning goes into each concert. On this installment of our Music Industry 101 series, we talk to talent buyers and booking agents about what they do and how they do it. Booking agency Monterey International represents over 100 artists, from Van Morrison to Anais Mitchell. After agent Josh Brinkman offers his perspective as an artist representative, we hear from Velena Vego of legendary Athens venue the 40 Watt Club. She’s celebrating 25 years as the 40 Watt’s talent buyer. Then local tastemaker, Eric Gerber, talent buyer at Portland’s Doug Fir Lounge, gives us the nitty gritty details of what he expects from artists.
Every kid dreams of being a rock star, but what does the job actually take? While touring can be fun, the realities of life on the road can be difficult to sustain. How do working artists balance their careers with day to day life? We talk with Rafael Cohen of !!! about creating stability as a “middle-class” musician. Then, Taraka Larson of Prince Rama walks us through the duo’s touring schedule and unconventional recording process. Portugal. The Man’s Zach Carothers shares what he’s learned over the last fifteen years of working in the band, including a few tour bus cooking tips.