I grew up in town in the midcoast of Maine about 20 minutes north of Portland. I started going to local shows in Portland when I was 14 and I pretty much went to a show at least once a weekend for a couple years, but then when I was 16, venues started shutting down, bands were breaking up, shows weren’t happening as frequently- the music scene was dying. A few friends and myself decided to start booking our own local shows, just so we still had fun things to do that weren’t your typical high school football game or high school dance or whatever other kids our age were doing. I had made a lot of friends over the years that I was going to shows so we had a lot of good connections throughout the music scene. We booked a show at a skate park for our first show and we paid our friends’ local bands with pizza and water and had a 50/50 door deal with the skate park, this way we could start making money to book at other venues and could actually afford to pay bands to come play. We tried to book at least one show every month. I started branching out and booking non-Maine bands to come play some shows and ended up becoming really good friends with a lot of different New England bands.
My senior year, my friend’s band and their independent label decided to set up a tent and hustle cds at every Warped date that summer and asked me if I wanted to sell cds and kind of manage the group for the tour. I immediately accepted. While I was out that summer I made a lot of friends and worked really hard every day. I made it a point to personally sell at least 55 cds every day. I networked with everyone and anyone I could to try to get more opportunities to tour. I moved to Boston for school and went to my friends shows every now and then, but I mostly focused on school. That spring, a couple of the independent labels I met when I was on 2009 Warped contacted me about working for them on 2010 Warped. I chose the job that paid more and left for tour that summer. I reconnected with some of the people I had met the previous summer, one of which was Joe from Shut Up And Deal.
Joe saw me hustling cds again and asked me what I was doing out on Warped again. I told him about how I wanted to work in the music industry and I knew that hustling cds to kids in line and hustling cds at the tent wasn’t glamourous, but it was a foot in the door and that being poor and on tour was better than being wealthy working a job I hated back home. I guess Joe realized that I wasn’t just out goofing off with my friends like some of the other kids hustling cds, I was out there trying to make a name for myself. He said he had an idea, so he introduced me to Lauren, the girl that was in charge of the guest list. He said that guest list gets overwhelming and she could probably use an extra hand in the mornings and suggested that I be that extra hand, if Lauren was interested. And of course she was interested, guest list is so busy some days and having an extra set of hands to check people in and put wristbands on people was a huge help. So every morning from that point on, I would hustle cds until 10, then I would head over to the guest list tent and help Lauren until the crowd died down. My boss at the indie label wasn’t thrilled, but I saw this as a huge opportunity- and it was.
About a week into my volunteering at guest list, Kevin Lyman himself started coming by the guest list tent and hanging out, observed kids in line, observed bands hustling cds, observed me working. One day he came by and spent more time under the tent with us and I finally had time to talk to him. I told him about what I was doing and what I wanted to do in the long run, so he told me to come to the EIY meet ups as often as possible. I told him about booking shows and just pretty much everything. He introduced me to a lot of people and at the end of the summer he gave me a thank you card and a gift for all the hard work I had done to help out that summer and told me to e-mail him about next summer. So I did and he told me he would keep me in mind.
On 2010 Warped I got the opportunity to meet my biological mom when we were in California and she had offered to fly me out to California for Thanksgiving. I accepted her invitation and about a week before my trip I decided to e-mail Kevin and see if I could meet up with him to talk about the music industry. I wasn’t even trying to get a job, I just wanted to talk to him and get some more advice on what to do and maybe discuss working on 2011 Warped. He wrote me back the next day and set up an appointment at his office on the Monday before Thanksgiving. As soon as I walked into his office, I was greeted by Julie and himself, with big smiles and good spirits. They told me to sit down, so I did and the next thing Kevin asked me was “So, would you like to come work for me on Warped this summer?” and without hesitation I said “Absolutely!”. They then told me the line up, gave me the dates/routing and said they’d be in touch with more details. I was beyond excited. In March, I went back to California for a couple weeks and I asked Julie and Kevin if they’d like to go to lunch with me while I was in the area. I went to the office and Kevin got busy with Country Throwdown stuff and wasn’t able to come to lunch with Julie, Keri and I. Julie asked me about what I wanted to be doing in 5 years and where I wanted my career to go. I told her I wanted to eventually do what Lisa Brownlee does (tour manager of Warped and AP tours). She smiled and said that she had a different job idea for me that wasn’t guest list, but she’d have to run it by Kevin and let me know. I didn’t find out what my job was until May, because they weren’t sure if they wanted to put me in charge of guest list or have me work as an intern/production assistant. In May they informed me that I was going to be working as a production assistant/intern, as well as run EIY for Sarah Saturday that summer because they thought I would benefit more from that experience for what I wanted to do with my career in the long run. And they were right, I learned so much from working in the office and I met so many great people. It was a lot of hard work and long hours, but it was by far one of the best jobs I’ve ever had.