Will Work 4 Tickets: Networking Inside Music Festivals
Music Festivals are more for just than having a good time these days. They are quickly becoming a breeding ground for professional and creative collaboration. Keep your business cards handy!This article originally appeared on Forbes
Music festivals are my beloved adult playground— like the NYC subway, anything goes and nobody cares what you do when you leave. Throughout college, they’ve been the pieces of my summer that I look forward to the most to reunite with friends from all over and disconnect from the real world. I’ve worn free bandannas and smuggled vodka in resealed water bottles — classic rites of passage — and I still have a magnetic attraction to loud bass.
But after my first post-college fest at Bonnaroo this summer, I see things differently. I went to the mammoth four-day staple in Tennessee, part for fun, but also for work, to eye the newest styles and happenings as a professional trendspotter.
With my eyes beyond the stages, it quickly became clear: These events are becoming a professional outlet as much as a good time. In the informal setting, conversations came easily and people were happy to share stories, offer tours and connect for future collaborations and gigs. In fact, one friend is starting a new career as a publicist after he approached his future mentor and asked about the Kanye West The Life of Pablo tour jacket he was wearing. The conversation began with something like “Hey, cool jacket, is it real?” to which Future Mentor smirked and responded “You tell me.” Side note: He got lucky it was a bootleg because few people respond well to defending their merch.
With tech junkies taking over Burning Man, Malia Obama at Lollapalooza, and everything from craft bourbon to Uber sponsorships, in a just a few square acres festivals gather today and tomorrow’s most charged-up minds and makers, all eager to combine our skills and ideas to build each other up. When you think about the 24-hour clock we run on now, it isn’t surprising that we are finding a way to make these events work for us. No generation has ever been running at a faster speed to get ahead. As over-analyzed Millennials, we’ve heard about (and probably felt) the economic deck stacked against us and the robots are coming to take our jobs next (according to Oxford University, 40% of all jobs will be automated in 20 years or less). How are we supposed to keep up without burning out? We turn what we love into how we make money. We get an edge by learning from new people and places. If e-mails and deadlines won’t comply with our relentless thirst for more adventure and more time away from our desks, we will find new ways to blur the line between business and pleasure.
Cover Photo by Meagan Dexter