If you know anything about me, you know that I LOVE some good pop punk and this year at So What?! Music Festival, we have plenty of it! Check out these 10 must see acts! (featured image by Taylor Rambo at So What?! Music Festival 2016)

KNUCKLE PUCK (performing Saturday 3/25)

FOUR YEAR STRONG (performing Sunday 3/26)

SET YOUR GOALS (performing Sunday 3/26)

KID LIBERTY (performing Sunday 3/26)

TURNSTILE (performing Sunday 3/26)

CAN’T SWIM (performing Sunday 3/26)

CAPSTAN (performing Sunday 3/26)

LIGHT YEARS (performing Sunday 3/26)

SLEEP ON IT (performing Sunday 3/26)

UNDER DOG HOUSE (performing Saturday 3/25)


DANCE GAVIN DANCE makes their return to the So What?! Music Festival stage headlining one of our main stages on Sunday March 26th! The band, who is about to start a full US tour with another So What?! band, CHON, put out one of the best selling records in our scene in 2016! The boys ended 2016 with a sold out tour across the US that also hit So What?! Music Festival Fall Edition in Deep Ellum. Don’t miss ’em!

Dance Gavin Dance Facebook
So What?! Music Festival Website


I have seen a lot of my friends in the industry doing various fundraisers between music sales, t-shirt sales, concert tickets, etc. to raise money for the ACLU. While I am not a talented musician, I am not artistic, and I don’t have too much to offer for a fundraiser, I did decide to do what I can to help raise money and awareness for the cause.

There are a few different ways I am going to raise money and if you don’t think they are worth your money or you aren’t interested, you can still donate to the ACLU directly right here. It’s perfectly fine for you to have no reason to see value in what I am offering but still want to help fight the good fight. For those of you that do see value, the options I am offering are below. 50% of each package will be donated and I will gladly post about how much money I was able to raise through this.

$10 – Music Review // Unlimited
If you are in a band and you would like to send me your music and receive actual feedback, notes, and advice on it, you can select this option and email me your music and I will send you back anything you’d care to know in a very prompt reply.

$50 – Mentoring Session // Limited to 20
Whether you would like advice on working in music, advice on your band, or advice on your small business, I will do a 1 hour skype session or phone call with you to discuss anything and everything you’d like to discuss. But the help doesn’t stop there, my email inbox will be open for you to have constant communication moving forward on anything you’d like to ask.

$200 – IMI Conference VIP // Limited to 20
The IMI Conference will be coming to Nashville in Fall 2017 and returning to Los Angeles in Winter early 2018. The VIP for IMI will get you admission to the conference of your choice, a VIP only t-shirt for the event, a dinner with myself and some of the other panelists, and a one-on-one mentoring session.

$500 – ULTIMATE So What?! Music Festival Experience // Limited to 10
This donation will get you guest access to So What?! Music Festival where you will be able to watch your favorite bands from side stage and see the ins and outs of how the festival works with all access including a tour of the venue with myself and my team.

DISCLAIMER: Prior to the event you will be given a “code of conduct” and failure to follow the rules will result in downgrading your pass to General Admission. Also, side stage access is always subject to approval by the artists performing.

SQ Cash: $MichaelZiemer

Once you send your payment, please email mikeziemer@gmail.com with the subject ACLU FUNDRAISER and include what your transaction was for and I will send you instructions on how to proceed!


Kicking off my 2017 Women In Music Spotlight series with Allison Kaye seems like the best way to do it, given that she is responsible for the cleaned up return of one of pop music’s biggest superstars in 2016, Justin Bieber. Allison, who was the GM for SB Projects (Scooter Braun’s management company), was promoted last July to President of Music for SB Projects.

It wasn’t cleaning up Justin’s act that caught my attention while reading about Allison however, it was her work ethic. Allison has stated that her motto is “Give your all, all of the time” and upon further reading, this is definitely something she lives by. Recently, Allison discussed with Billboard how she toured on Justin’s “Purpose” tour even while 7 months pregnant! Allison was one of the principal architects behind the tour and wasn’t going to let anything cause her to sit it out. She told Billboard, “It’s not the first time I’ve toured while pregnant, but it will be the last,” and continued with discussing her life / work balance, “Sometimes you have to realize you can’t be all things to all people, and that’s OK.” A very important thing all of us in music need to remember.

It’s no surprise she is listed as one of Billboard’s “Leaders Of The Pack” in 2016.

You can read a great 20 Questions article Glamour did on Allison in 2015 right here.


My second edition of UNSIGNED SPOTLIGHT goes to the up and coming pop-punk band, Capstan from Orlando, FL. I came across the band when they were submitted to play So What?! Music Festival and instantly fell in love. There isn’t much of an “elevator pitch” needed to sell you on this band, you just need to give them a listen! The band is currently on tour with Daisyhead and WATERMEDOWN.

Facebook | Instagram & Twitter: @Capstan_Band



So What?! Music Festival Announces First 10 Bands For 10 Year Anniversary!

Earlier Wednesday afternoon, Third String Festivals announced the first 10 bands for it’s 10 year anniversary celebration of So What?! Music Festival! The event will take place March 24 – 26th. Friday (March 24th) will include secret shows and other cool surprises in the Deep Ellum area. Saturday and Sunday, the festival will return to AirHogs Stadium (formerly QuikTrip Park), with the first 10 announced bands: Mayday Parade, We The Kings, Forever The Sickest Kids, Envy On The Coast, The Friday Night Boys, Every Time I Die, Four Year Strong, Set Your Goals, Dance Gavin Dance, Chon, and more!

Tickets and info: www.sowhatmusicfestival.com


The saying goes “What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger,” but I think in life we die and are reborn so many times before we actually stop breathing. If you think of all the transitions in your life from a state of happiness to a state of devastation, a part of you dies each time. Sadness becomes a part of life where you are grieving for something that you will never have again. The positive that comes from this is that it doesn’t destroy you. Even if a part of you dies, a new part comes along and fills that void.

In my personal life over the last 12 years of being a promoter, I have gone through 4 of the worst break ups that you could likely go through. Each time I have channeled all of the energy into my work and have grown from it. In 2010, I lost my grandma and I had never cried that much in my life up until that moment. When that happened I thought that was the worst pain I would ever feel. A few different festivals went so bad I was worried I would have to get a regular job and stop doing what I love, but my ability to turn negative into positive has always kept me afloat and focused on moving forward.

Fast forward to yesterday, yesterday was by far the worst day of my life. If you add up those 4 breaks ups, losing my grandma, and all the failed festivals and shows I have done over 12 years, it would still not equal the pain I felt losing my heart, my best friend, my companion, and my world. When I first got Bella, I knew she was special because she couldn’t hear, was extremely guarded, but was so loving. I was never a pet person until her and I think it’s because she wasn’t a pet to me, she was my best friend. We have been through so much together that she honestly knows me better than anyone in my life does.

Bella was a derpy little creature with a heart of gold. She was the life of every party, people would actually fight over who got to hold her. She visited Texas, Oklahoma, California, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico during her lifetime. She attended over 100 parties and events I have thrown. She went on at least two solo adventures through my Los Angeles neighborhood and always had a desire to adventure. From her snoring to her inward sneezing to jumping at feathers and always getting into trouble, she had more personality than any animal I’ve ever met.

I always said I would die before her because I couldn’t bare to watch her go, but yesterday out of nowhere, she passed away. My last memory of her will always be her on the vet’s table, drugged up, still struggling, but wagging her tail and trying to walk towards me. Even though the seizures were about to take my heart away from me, the last thing she wanted to do was just come to me and remind me that it’s going to be okay. And when I think about it, that was always Bella. Every time I was sad, frustrated, depressed, angry, anything… she knew. She would curl up on my pillow next to my head or come sit on my lap or whatever she could do to let me know she was there.

The loss of my dog is a reminder to live every day to the fullest and to realize that no amount of success, money, material objects, or anything will ever matter as much as the feeling of unconditional love. Her love will continue on much longer than her life and all the photos and videos and memories will be what motivates and drives me every day to make the most of my life.

Some people might say it was just a dog, but those people never met Bella. Bella left enough of an impression on me over 10 years to motivate me, inspire me, and make me smile for the rest of my life.

Thanks for the memories, pup, and thanks for allowing me to realize what is most important in life and to find positive in every negative situation, because there wasn’t a single day you ever let me stay sad.


Attention humans that want to work in the music industry. Once again, I am launching 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 and my team for the weekend. This should give you a really solid inside look at the beauty and chaos of running an event like ours. Last year we did this contest, I picked Kezya Riley who is now living in LA and my full time assistant.

+ Must be 18 years or older
+ Must be able to come to Dallas, TX from Wednesday March 22nd – Monday March 27th.
+ Must have some level of music industry experience (even if it’s just being on a street team or working at a venue)
+ Must provide your own place to stay during the festival

The Winner Will Receive
+ Plane ticket to Dallas
+ All Access festival pass to shadow me for duration of the festival
+ Meals covered during the festival

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



This week’s unsigned spotlight goes to the artist tiLLie (formerly known as Grace Kelly). I first met Grace a while back and got to preview some of her new album sitting in my car and I had the chills the entire time. Take the creativity and attitude of Gwen Stefani and Katy Perry but with an anti-pop star twist and you’ve got Grace Kelly aka tiLLie. This is one artist that is going to make it to the top by doing it HER way. I can’t wait for the world to hear the music she will be releasing over the next couple months.

For now, you can catch her collab with Machine Gun Kelly on the song “Everlong” by the Foo Fighters right here:

Also, her track “When You’re Gone” on the brand new Kungs album can be found right here.

tiLLie also has an EP out called “Lost Boy – EP,” that will hold you over while you’re waiting for the new jams! “Perfect Psycho” and “Not Gonna Cry” are my personal favorites!

11/9: White Oak Music & Arts (Van Nuys, CA) – Tickets $5

Facebook: www.facebook.com/whoistillie
Twitter & Instagram: @whoistillie
Website: www.whoistillie.com


9 Important People You Might Have Seen Around Deep Ellum

One of the beautiful things about Deep Ellum, the once again lively arts district of Dallas, is all the different people it brings together. In one night I will run into so many different friends from all different scenes and somehow we all know eachother. One thing I have noticed lately though, is that it’s easy to see the same people around a lot but not really know who they are or what they do. This inspired me to take a moment to write about 9 important people that you might have seen around Deep Ellum that I definitely think you should know.

JOHN STEWART // Twitter: @_mixgod
I only recently met John when I came out to one of his All / Everything Parties this summer. These parties pick an artist, label, or artists to showcase for the night such as Jay Z, Gucci Mane, Drake, Kanye, etc. and the club reaches capacity every time. Aside from this, the MIXGOD as some know him, has audio credits for working with everyone from Kanye West to John Legend. Although the early stages in our friendship, I probably speak with John on a daily basis these days and have enlisted him to put together a hip-hop stage for So What?! Fall Edition, with more plans in the works!

BLUE, THE MISFIT. // Twitter: @BlueTheMisfit
I first met Blue when Orlando, my partner in crime with Third String Productions and So What?! Music Festival, booked him for some hip-hop shows we were doing. Although I wouldn’t call us personal friends, I have been a fan of what he has been up to for years and chances are you’ve seen him around Dallas. He recently sold out his visual listening party for his new album Perfect Night, For A Funeral. If you missed it, you can catch the recap here.

SAM LAO // Twitter: @THE_SamLao
Another talented Dallas artist that to most needs no introduction, is Sam Lao. I first caught live at Index Festival in 2014 inside The Prophet Bar. I was actually cutting through to see a band at The Door but ended up missing them because I couldn’t stop watching Sam. Her high energy set had my full attention and when you’re hearing and seeing someone for the very first time, there’s just a feeling you can’t explain. On top of being an extremely talented artist, Sam is also very vocal on her social media channels about social issues, using her platform to encourage change. Her latest song, Pineapple, which you can catch right here, is an anti-catcalling anthem that has gained national attention.

BRI CONRADO aka CLOVER THE GIRL // Twitter: @cloverthegirl
Bri was an intern for us at Third String Productions and then went on to help us run our festival So What?! Music Festival and has always been around to help when we needed her. Beyond that she has been an incredible friend. But what she showed me one trip out to visit in Los Angeles blew my mind. I had no idea Bri was coming out to LA to record music. She asked if she could put some songs she did on and from the first note to the last note I had chills. I couldn’t believe someone who was volunteering her time and essentially so selflessly there for us always has this incredible talent hidden away. I definitely encourage you to check out her new video “Detox” on her YouTube.

ELIZABETH ASHLEY WHITE // Twitter: @thrashley__
I believe I technically met Ashley when we had a show in College Station and her boyfriend’s band performed, but since I don’t really remember I will just say I met her as “the best thing that has happened to our company in a long time.” With me moving to California and Orlando slammed with more shows than ever before in multiple Texas markets, he needed someone that could dive right in and crush it for us, this is Ashley. She has quickly become such an essential member of our team, one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met, and a real friend who I enjoy having life chats with.

KENDRICK NICHOLSON // Twitter: @xKendrickPaul
There isn’t much Kendrick doesn’t do. You’ve either seen him onstage performing, behind the scenes working his ass off, or running from one venue to the next in Deep Ellum making sure your favorite bands have the best shows. Currently, however, you can catch Kendrick touring the US with his new band, Blindwish. You can check out their music video for 3:am here. Next time you see Kendrick around just say thanks, because the dude is a machine and he helps everything from Prophet Bar shows to main stage bands at So What?! run the best they can.

PETE FREEDMAN // Twitter: @PeteFreedman
Pretty positive Pete was one of the first people with local press that showed interest in what I was doing as a promoter without asking me to buy ads. Infact, he did an entire cover story essentially based around the scene we had going in the suburbs. Although Pete might not originally be as “local” as most of the people I’m mentioning, you would never know. Pete’s love for Deep Ellum and Dallas in general is mostly unrivaled and the website he created based on that, Central Track, is further proof incase you weren’t convinced. Catch him DJing around town or hanging out at the pop-punk show.

ALLI SCHLOEMAN // Twitter: @perkuprightmeow
I have no idea when I officially met Alli since most of our hangouts involve too many shots and loud music, but I do remember that our true bonding happened last Fall at Top 8 Tuesday (our once a month trip down memory lane where everyone’s old profile songs get played and we all miss the days where checking our MySpace was the most responsibility we had). I remember sitting at BuzzBrews not even talking as we both worked away at our festivals like true millennials. Alli is the boss lady over at Highland Concerts which is responsible for Lights All Night, one of my favorite events of the year. She’s one of the hardest working and most ambitious people I know.

GAVIN MULLOY // Twitter: @theGAVER 
Last but not least, the man, the myth, the legend of Deep Ellum… Gavin. If you go out in Deep Ellum and you don’t run into Gavin, you probably didn’t have a good night. Gavin seems to be the life of the party everywhere and somewhere between the mayor and court jester of Deep Ellum. I met Gavin years ago when he was working with Granada Theater, but the recent years have found our hero located right in the hear of Deep Ellum at Trees and The Bomb Factory. One day Gavin and I are going to book Blink 182 together and it will be the best day ever. Make sure you don’t miss it!

SIDENOTE: Writing this not only made me miss Deep Ellum a ton (I am currently laying in bed in Los Angeles hopped up on Cold Brew and watching Seinfeld), but it made me realize there are way more than 9 people I need to write about, so stay tuned for the next edition coming soon!

Keep up with me on Twitter @mikeziemer