PLSN: The Festival Landscape

By: Debi Moen

PLSN spoke with:

  • Brown Note Productions’ President Ryan Knutson
  • 4Wall Entertainment’s Senior VP of Sales & Marketing Dan Abdalla
  • Bandit Lites’ Vice President of Production Dizzy Gosnell
  • Music Matters Productions’ Director of Marketing Lindsay Schwartz and Owner/Lead Production Designer Aaron Soriero
  • 3G Productions’ CEO Keith Conrad

Name a few festivals you have worked on and tell us what’s coming up.

Ryan Knutson: So far this year, we have provided production for Okeechobee Music & Arts, Buku Music + Art Project, The Smokers Club, and Welcome to Rockville. We look forward to finishing out the year with upcoming festivals Inkcarceration, Global Dance Festival, Jazz Aspen Snowmass, Bourbon & Beyond, Aftershock, GoldenSky, and Decadence.

Dan Abdalla: Many of these festivals are returning for the first time since the pandemic and the overall reception and hype has been fantastic to witness. Already this year we were involved with EDC, Tortuga Music Festival, Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, and iHeart Radio Music Festivals. Upcoming: Excision Presents The Stadium, Project Z, Hard Summer (Stage 4), Made in America, Governors Ball, Faster Horses, and Lollapalooza.

Dizzy Gosnell: Bandit has through the years worked with multiple major festivals, including Bonnaroo, Forecastle, Firefly, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Lost Lake, Hangout, Electric Forest, SXSW, Governors Ball, Big Ears, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, and several others.

Lindsay Schwartz: Year to date, we have provided production services for 16 festivals—such as Shaky Knees, High Water Festival, Atlanta Jazz Festival, Forecastle Festival, Electric Forest, and Something in the Water—and we have 10 already on the books for the fall including Afropunk Atlanta & Brooklyn, Moon River, Music Midtown, Sea.Hear.Now., Oceans Calling, ONE Musicfest, and more.

Keith Conrad: Since the live music industry restarted around the fall of last year, we have provided production support for numerous music festivals, including: EDC Las Vegas, Beyond Wonderland, Vibra Urbana Las Vegas, Wango Tango, Coachella (various artist support), Calibash, Super Bowl Music Fest, and LA Pride Festival. Most of these clients we have long standing relationships with and have worked with for years pre-pandemic.

What part of festivals do you typically provide?

Knutson: Audio, lighting, video, SFX, backline.

Abdalla: Lighting, video, staging, rigging, and a wide range of services required for the shows.

Gosnell: Just lighting.

Schwartz: Our team provides anything on the production side of a festival: lighting, audio, video, staging (we’ve got a fleet of mobile stages), creative design, project and production management. We also have a partnership with SES called 360Festivals, which allows us to combine our collective resources. We’ve both been able to expand our festival service offerings to include field protection, crowd control barricades, trucking and transportation, steel structure large format stages, and more.

Conrad: We have historically been more of an audio provider but since the pandemic, we have recapitalized the company and invested heavily in lighting, video, and rigging, so we are now providing more full-service production for festivals.

How does your 2022 festival workload compare prior to the pandemic?

Knutson: Since our return in April of 2021 to large scale concerts and festivals we have seen a steady increase in festival opportunities. As a company we are currently booked for more festivals in 2022 than we were in 2019 pre-pandemic. It’s great to see all of the bands and crews again out there at these events!

Abdalla: For the most part, the amount of festival work is back to what it was pre-pandemic.

Gosnell: Bandit has had a very reduced festival offering this year caused by high touring demand and shortages of qualified people.

Schwartz: Our festival production has more than doubled. We probably used to do around 12 per year, and we’re already at 26 booked for 2022. It seems like we’re adding a new festival every week.

Conrad: Festival work has come back strong. I would venture to say festivals are up from a volume perspective compared to pre-pandemic. We own more equipment now across all disciplines—audio, lighting, video, rigging—so we are able to provide more one-stop shopping to festival producers, which makes our company attractive for these events.

Click here to read entire interview.


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