How to throw a party: Hanging out with the man behind the Hangout Festival
Posted On January 26, 2020
In a few months, some 40,000 people will converge on the beach in Gulf Shores for one of the biggest music festivals in the Southeast, the Hangout Festival.
What does it take to put together an event of that size? It’s probably not surprising to hear that it’s more than meets the eye.
Our guest in the latest episode of “What’s Working with Cam Marston” can attest to that. As Vice President of Operations for AEG Presents Gulf Coast and Winter Circle Productions, Reeves Price is in charge of managing the Hangout Festival, from ticket sales to booking to hiring staff and vendors to event operations. There are thousands of details that have to be worked out, from stage setup and backstage accommodations to concessions, security and how much space is needed to haul in all the gear.
At the end of the day, Price says, it’s about creating an experience.
“It’s really important for us to remember that we’re here to really give these people the best weekend, or the best night or day, of their year, if not their life,” he says. “People are expecting unique experiences, they’re expecting attention to detail, they’re expecting to really kind of have their minds blown and to leave each night, or each day, saying; ‘Wow, when do tickets go back on sale?’”
That’s a lot of pressure, but Price says that’s also the most fun part of his job. “It’s being able to think creatively and come up with new and fun ideas,” he says, “but also figuring out how to execute them.”
Price discusses the competitive music festival landscape and what that means for booking and ticket sales, the unseen costs of a major artist’s touring production, the importance (and scarcity) of experienced site directors, his favorite music memory, and some of the more interesting riders he’s seen in performers’ contracts – the things they demand for their stage and backstage set-ups – and why many of them aren’t as weird as they seem.
Join us for an entertaining discussion about Hangout and the challenges of putting on a major music festival.