There was no training manual when I started working for a megafestival promoter in 2006, so I’ve catalogued a few of my own mental notes.
The first lesson is adaptability... That means working late, hard, and fast when you’ve landed a killer artist two days before you launch. It means reaching out to new audiences and embracing partnerships with your peers. Exercise stress management... You can’t go fetal when a headliner cancels two weeks out or when your lineup gets leaked before it’s complete. It happened, it’s done. What’s the next step? How do you minimize the damage? Get to it and keep on keepin’ on.
Beyond the unexpected, there’s the stress I’ve come to expect. The industry embodies all sorts of personalities, including many “audacious” ones. Admittedly, I’m easily irked by those types; after all, we deal with plenty of very reasonable, highly successful people who conduct business in a sensible, polite manner. Why the need for the obnoxious tone of self-importance and inane micro-demands? Alas, I take a deep breath and remind myself of the pressures that those folks face too. I take a page from my mentor’s book, which has taught me that emotion is mostly useless in business dealings.
There’s no science to it but... Stay current, know your audience, and don’t break your budget by trying to out-buy the next guy. The glory of that HUGE act you scored will quickly dissolve when all you see is red on the books from year to year. Furthermore, you’ll have helped to nurture a highly inflated, arbitrary price tag that doesn’t translate into real ticket sales.
Lastly, be as proactive as much as possible... ...And make sure that you’ve been proactively planning for reactive situations (e.g. crowd control, inclement weather etc.).