Some information about So What?! Music Festival

With So What?! Music Festival now less than a week away, I wanted to emphasize some important things for all of you that plan to attend. These range from tickets to your safety, so it might me worth your time to read.

ONLINE TICKETS
DO NOT buy tickets from StubHub or any other ticketing that isn’t Ticketfly for GA tickets, Soundrink for VIP tickets or GetStreetTeam for Street Team tickets. Other sites will try to over charge you and make you believe our event is sold out. The venue can hold 10,000 attendees per day and will not be sold out.

PHYSICAL TICKETS
In the event that you do not want to buy online, you can purchase a physical ticket from a local band or simply walk up day of show and purchase one at our box office. All day. Both Saturday and Sunday.

WEATHER
Currently, the forecast calls for some clouds but mostly sunshine. In the event that this changes, this IS a rain or shine event. The only time anything would be postponed, delayed, or cancelled is high winds, tornados, thunderstorms, anything that could potentially endanger the artists playing or any of you attending. Again, the weather forecast does not show risk for any of these at the time. Weather is always subject to change, but it’s looking like *knock on wood* a great weekend for an outdoor festival.

SAFETY
I have posted this before and I will post it again, the safety of all our attendees and their ability to have a good time in an environment they feel safe in is our number one priority. A lot of people have been sharing articles about harassment in the music industry. These articles aren’t just assumptions, wild accusations, or cries for attention, these articles are real struggles that women go through working in the music industry. Does every woman experience the same things? No. Is every guy in the music industry a scumbag? Absolutely not. Is every male at a music festival out to grope you and harass you if you are a girl / woman? No. But the reality is that there is a lot of sexual harassment that occurs not just in our industry, but all industries. On top of this, there is the constant battle girls / women have of being scared to come forward or scared to lose their job or career. We as men can sit back and be like, “man that really sucks, I would never do that, I hope that never happens to anyone I know.” or we can try to do something about it. While we will never understand the uncomfortable feeling a young girl or woman experiences and the adversity they face, we can take steps to change it.

So What Music Festival is coming up this week and I want every female attending to know if they are uncomfortable or are feeling harassed by anyone in attendance, anyone working the event, or anyone performing at the event, they may contact anyone one my team, or text my phone 214-697-8857 and let me know if it’s urgent and you don’t want to speak to security or police.

To all the boys / men attending the festival, please help us make this event welcoming to everyone. Don’t be the creepy guy that fondles a girl when she crowd surfs, don’t be the guy that grabs or touches someone that doesn’t want it, etc. If you see something, say something. We have zero tolerance for this kind of behavior.

Our festival is about bringing people together and not dividing anyone, if you have any issues please let me know. You can message me, text me, reach out to someone on our team, whatever you need to do.

If you have any further questions please visit our website and if you still have additional questions, email me: mike@thirdstringfestivals.com

20 MUST SEE BANDS AT SO WHAT?! MUSIC FESTIVAL

Although I am happy with ALL of the bands we booked on this year’s So What?! Music Festival, I wanted to share my personal favorites that you may not have already heard of and the bands you can catch me watching on both days! You should check out all the ones you haven’t already listened to in advance so you can get as excited as I am! Obviously I am extremely stoked for our headliners, but I don’t want these awesome bands to get overlooked on your schedules! I picked 10 bands I truly love and do not personally represent or work with.

10 MUST SEE SATURDAY BANDS
– Citizen
– Knuckle Puck
– Turnover
– Have Mercy
– 7 Minutes In Heaven
– Milk Teeth
– Sorority Noise
– Seaway
– Waterparks
– The News Can Wait

10 MUST SEE SUNDAY BANDS
– The Word Alive
– Being As An Ocean
– Stray From The Path
– A Lot Like Birds
– Capsize
– Ghost Key
– Hazing
– Little Envy
– Silent Planet
– The CMDWN

A Look Inside A Promoter’s Life

I know it’s last minute, but I wanted to launch a contest for those of you out there that are already getting involved in working on the business side of music. Whether you’re on a street team, online team, or running your own shows already, I wanted to do a contest for one of you to come to Dallas, TX for So What?! Music Festival and shadow me for the weekend. You would basically be my assistant for the duration of the festival and get a really solid inside look at the beauty and chaos of running an event like ours. Last year we did a contest like this for photographers, so this year I want to do it for someone that is already working towards being a promoter. Who knows, maybe we will love you so much that you’ll end up working with our team!

Requirements
+ Must be 18 years or older
+ Must be able to come to Dallas, TX from Tuesday March 15th – Monday March 21st.
+ Must have some level of music industry experience (even if it’s just being on a street team or working at a venue)

The Winner Will Receive
+ Plane ticket to Dallas (if needed)
+ Hotel in Dallas (if needed)
+ All Access festival pass to shadow me for duration of the festival
+ Meals covered during the festival

How to Enter
Send an essay to mike@thirdstringfestivals.com including the following
+ Who You Are
+ What You Already Do or Have Done With Music
+ Why You Want To Work In Music
+ Why You Want This Opportunity
+ Anything else you want to add

DEADLINE IS MONDAY FEBRUARY 29TH, WINNER ANNOUNCED TUESDAY MARCH 1ST

Promoter’s Life EP 5: Periscope Party

Promoter’s Life EP 5 Periscope Party from A Promoter’s Life on Vimeo.

We decided it would be a fun time to get drunk with our friends and get on Periscope and answer questions from people about So What?! Music Festival, Third String Productions, working in music, etc. Check the video!

Underrated and ignored… but so what?!

For those of you that are not yet familiar with me, my name is Mike Ziemer and I am a concert promoter. I started promoting concerts when I was a senior in high school and have continued doing so for 12 years now. I am now 30 years old, I put on two festivals in Dallas called So What?! Music Festival (formerly known as South By So What?!) and Unsilent Night Music Festival. On top of that I also run a concert production company called Third String Productions and put on concerts in Arizona, California, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. I also run a management company and a small independent record label. In April of 2015, I moved to Los Angeles with my best friend to further expand my business. Sounds impressive right? Apparently not.

Despite the fact that 2016 is the 9th year of our flagship festival, So What?! Music Festival, which has grown from drawing 2800 people our first year in a community center in the suburbs to drawing as many as 18,000 people over a weekend inside of a baseball stadium, we are largely underrated and ignored by most major press outlets (even in our own part of the music scene), most sponsors, and even some members of the music industry. Maybe they just don’t “get it” though. Let me correct some common misconceptions…

We often hear from press and brands (potential sponsors) that our event is too regional or too local. Looking over our ticket sales SO FAR for 2016, we have sold tickets in 30+ cities and provinces inside of 10+ different countries that are not The United States. These countries include Australia, Japan, New Zealand, The United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Singapore, and more. Inside of the US, we have sold tickets in ALL 50 states and the territory of Puerto Rico. Not bad right? Seems our small show has become an actual destination event.

We often hear that our demographic is “too young.” This confuses me because as far as I have ALWAYS been taught through marketing, branding, and even school, the most popular and targeted age group is 18-34. The majority of our attendees fall into this category. In fact, in past years, we have sold more alcohol at our event to 21+ attendees than any other event the ball park hosts all year long.

We often hear that we don’t have any “major” headliners. I can agree with that. The bands we have headline our festival usually do tours in rooms from 1500 cap up to 3000 cap. But isn’t that the beauty of it? We draw thousands of people beyond this because of the combination of all the bands we pick. Our mix of young up and coming bands, mid level rising bands, and headliners is what makes it attractive. It’s the same thing with Warped Tour, Bamboozle, Skate & Surf, etc. etc. But even more to my point, we are able to do what we do without any of these major headliners, which is even more of a story to tell.

What people sitting in offices passing on the opportunity to sponsor our event or send someone to do press coverage for it don’t understand is that the hype for our festival is real. At the moment I am writing this, we have had a large enough reach to sell tickets in all of the above mentioned places, and have spent less than $5,000 on marketing so far. Our posts go viral without paying for advertising, our name trends when we do artist takeovers, our computers and phones crashed when Frank Iero did a Twitter takeover for us last year. The reach out our flyer, our posts, anything we do is mind-blowing to me.

I know most of you are sitting here reading this thinking “sweet brag, bro,” but that’s not the point here. The point is that our music community and scene is so strong that somehow we have existed for 9 years as a festival without any major sponsors, any major headliners, and any major press coverage. We have booked artists early on such as G Eazy, RiFF RAFF, A Day To Remember, Bring Me The Horizon, and so many more that have gone on to do massive things and headline major events filled with corporate sponsors and huge national media outlets. If I’m not mistaken, G Eazy will be playing Coachella in April.

Here’s my point… what brought us into music as promoters was music being the biggest part of our lives, and after doing this for 12 years I am proud to say that’s still the motivation. We were the kids in the crowd, we were the crowd surfers, we were the kids that waited in long lines to see bands like Brand New, Taking Back Sunday, Senses Fail, Fall Out Boy, and so many more as they were blowing up. We are the kids that passed out flyers for labels and did everything we could to help the scene before it was all just digital. We were the outcasts at school who only gave a shit about leaving school to go to the next show.

That is what our festival is and always will be, a place for everyone to escape whatever is going on in their lives and come to Dallas and have an amazing weekend with people from all over the world that come together to celebrate the music in our scene. Even if we remain underrated and ignored by the corporations that have the power to help us grow into new markets and the press that could tell our story… so what right? This is your festival, this is our festival, and we are gonna keep doing it bigger and better every year and one day everyone that has ignored this scene wont be able to.

Keep buying concert tickets, keep buying merch, keep pre-ordering albums, keep buying vinyl, keep the scene alive forever.