A Conversation with Jack Davis | Founder of Good Neighbor Festivals

Nathan sits down with the Founder of Good Neighbor Festivals Jack Davis and talks about the importance of confidence and honesty when it comes to crafting a live performance. They touch on the importance of promotion, some things festivals are looking for from their performers, how to submit your music, and more.


According to Jack, if you're trying to get your band booked at a festival the number one thing they're looking for is confidence.

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That comes with knowing who you are as an artist. Typically you’re not very confident when you’re trying to fit a mold that is not you.

It isn't easy to stand out as an artist in an industry with as much volume as the music industry. With companies like Good Neighbor being bombarded by hundreds, sometimes thousands of submissions it's crucial that you're doing everything you can to exude the confidence they're looking for. 

 

 

So how do you do that?

How do you show festival promoters, booking agents, and talent buyers that by booking you they're booking  a professional who can captivate an audience ? 

 

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Promote your shows

If you want people to believe that you're a big deal act like every show you play is a big deal. If you're promoting every show that you're apart of, even the ones that you don't think are going to be very successful, that shows that you don't care if you're playing to 20 people or 20,000 people; you are there to do what you do best and you're going to crush it. If you want to get booked at a festival, people like Jack will be looking back at how you promote the shows you're in . Do you post about them on your social media before the day of the show? Do you champion the other acts on the bill? Do you run any ads? Are you engaging with your fan base and encouraging them to come out? Are you making sure to thank the venues/promoters/sponsors? These are all things that are being looked at and if you ignore them you're going to get passed by.

Remember, you never know who's watching

Nashville based emo/alternative band Secret Stuff learned that lesson in February 2017. After a few years being immersed in the local community Michael Pfohl found himself as a key figure in it's growth with the founding of his punk-geared booking company Fountainhead Booking.

Secret Stuff's involvement in their community and killer promotional efforts landed them a mention in an article from Noisey about the Nashville Scene.

It wasn't long after that article was published that emo/alt rock outfit Dashboard Confessional announced the lineup for their series of performances at The Basement East they were calling "Homecoming Week." Inspired by the Noisey article they had read, the entire bill for these sold out shows would consist of local emerging acts like Secret Stuff. 



We try not to book the same acts over and over. We’ll wait at least 3 or 4 years before booking an act on the same festival agin.
— Jack Davis

Another pitfall acts fall into when trying to capture that elusive festival spot is the same one they find when trying to book any gigs; they're setting the bar too high. If you've never brought more then 10 people out to one of your shows, should you be trying to play at a 500 cap venue? It isn't any different on the festival circuit. If you've never played a festival before don't waste your time and energy trying to play Bonnaroo, or Newport Folk Festival. It isn't fun to submit to a ton of festivals and not get selected for any of them but on the flip side, what if you get lucky and end up booked at a bigger festival before you're ready? You may not be in the right position to capitalize on that opportunity yet, and now you're less likely to play that festival again for a few years.

Instead, focus on your hometown markets. There's a local music and arts festival in every community across the country, our friends at Good Neighbor Festivals are responsible for 10 in the greater Nashville area alone! The rules are all the same; get your online presence in order, radiate confidence in everything you do, have video proof of said confidence readily available, play shows in as many markets as possible and promote every show you play


catch the full interview with jack here:


A Conversation with Nathan Dohse, COO/Founder of Zero To 60 by AGD

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Throughout my career as a performing artist I often found myself struggling to answer one fundamental question. As musicians, how do we find the balance between art and industry?
 
 Nathan with his band Fight The Quiet

Nathan with his band Fight The Quiet

I was always over concerned with how the business of our band was operating, and didn’t care enough for my craft. Eventually I became a quality writer and performer but it took a very long time, during which I became frustrated and confused as to why my efforts weren’t paying off better. I knew I was handling the business properly, but the art still needed work. On the flip side I was watching the most talented musicians I knew also failing to make any progress despite creating amazing art. Their problem was they lacked business strategy. 

These experiences led me to believe that when an artist does not have a balance between their art and business strategies they will feel dissatisfied with their progress no matter what. This could even result in throwing out an entire project, along with any opportunities they might have created for themselves along the way. They do this in order to either make more money or feel more fulfilled artistically.

 
If you’re an artist at any level you should be focusing on one goal; to capture and engage your immediate community. Just focus on the potential fans that are right in front of you. This is the same goal that your musical heroes have, their community is simply larger.
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But capturing your immediate community is hard. This is why as artists we’re always looking for someone to plug us into an already existing community. Artists tend to get stuck in the fantasy that there is a person out there with the power to present their art to the whole world with a snap of their fingers. Let's pretend, for the sake of argument, you do find this magical person. They believe your work to be pure gold, and when they show it to the world, every last person wants a piece of it. Your magic friend handles all of your business decisions and leaves you to live your life and just be an artist. All your friends are thinking "wow, you're SO lucky, why couldn’t I find that guy?" Now what? Now that you've created this work of pure gold, the project is completed. When it's time to move on to the next project your magic friend needs you to come back with Pure Gold 2.0 because that's what he's been selling to his community.You're left having to  submit to his wishes or start everything over from scratch. Whichever you choose, the balance is lost. This magic person could be a manager, label, publisher, it doesn’t matter, if you’re not backed up by your own community, you're entering dangerous territory.


 
 

I’m not saying that you need to be skeptical of every person that takes a business interest in your art. It’s great if people want to get involved. Of course there are still sharks and scams, but I thoroughly believe that anyone that’s still working in music is probably here for a genuine love of the art form. You should actively be trying to grow your community to include these music industry professionals. Where most artist have the singular goal of being brought into someone else's community, I encourage you to bring these people into your own community. Show them how YOU do things.

 

I believe there are five pillars that make up every artist’s business foundation

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Performances enable you to showcase art in a face to face setting with your community. It’s high energy and and exciting. When this is coupled with a strong brand your people get inspired and intrigued by the art, this enables you to become an influencer within your community. In a world as interconnected as ours there are many ways to inform your friends, family and fans about your release, and dialing in what marketing efforts work best is key. It’s also important that other influencers are validating your art to their communities, this is where publicity comes in. Having a blog, newspaper, or magazine writing up your art really helps your community take what you do seriously. Lastly you need to know how to monetize everything and keep your operation running smoothly.

 

If you can establish repeatable processes within each of these pillars, when it comes time for a release you'll be able to thoroughly engage your community and eventually transition friends and family into fans. True fans will rapidly increase your community outward. Now that you’re running things like a business, the more successful it is, the more people want to get involved. Without sacrificing balance, an artist can learn to create an invitation for industry professionals to participate in their vision and eventually move to a next level of success within this thing we call the music industry.


Zero To 60 Winter Expo and Holiday Party Recap

Twice a year we like to gather together with our artists and our industry friends to celebrate the accomplishments of these incredible musicians and give everybody a preview of what's to come.  

 
 
 Hannah and Alissa of The Daily Fare in "Down by the River"

Hannah and Alissa of The Daily Fare in "Down by the River"

The fall of 2017 in many ways was the Season of Americana here at Zero To 60. With releases from powerhouse folk duo The Daily Fare, the southern rock collective that is Flying Buffaloes, and country pop darling Krystan Bellows; our artists are representing every iteration of the often vaguely defined genre which has become part of the fabric of Music City. 

 

As anyone who lives in this town can tell you, there's a lot more to Nashville than Americana music. When it comes to the endlessly expanding list of genres and sub-genres of music, if you can name it you can probably find it here.

 Ross Livermore

Ross Livermore

Zero To 60 is no exception. From pop-rockers Carverton, pop-punk duo Radnor, and post-hardcore FOREVERANDNEVER, to the synth-pop of Jonie, the soul/blues of Ross Livermore and indie-pop songstress Elisabeth Beckwitt; if you can't define your sound without a hyphen, you'll fit in just fine around here. 

 
 

Only one month into the new year and we've already seen releases from "the ladies of Outlaw Country" Crimson Calamity, "Soulmericana" rocker Lottie, and Latin/Soul dynamo Catalina.  

 
 

Keep an eye out for more releases from the incredible new artists we've signed in the past couple of months like soon-to-be Pop icon Drew Schueler, Chicago's acoustic-rock songbird Laura Glyda, and many more.

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