Lessons from Billy McFarland 🧐

Today's read ... 7 


F1 is off to the races with a new partnership; Billy McFarland is now an industry consultant ... and spoiler alert, we share some insights into the Era's Tour (is it worth it 🤔).

Credit: MSC CruisesJungle Dreaming Postponed 24 hrs Before DoorsJust 24 hours before Costa Rica’s Jungle Dreaming Festival was scheduled to open its doors, it released a statement alerting fans that the event had been “postponed.” The event, originally planned for March 17-19, posted on social media on March 16th that it had failed to secure permits for venue insurance and  “As a responsible and conscientious organizer, we refuse to put our guests, staff, or performers at any risk by proceeding without proper insurance coverage.” They indicated that a new date has not yet been chosen, but fans who cannot make it will be refunded. Fans are obviously irate. Fyre 2.0?

“Bye Bye Big Apple” - Rolling LoudRolling Loud announced in a much more timely announcement: "due to logistical factors beyond our control, Rolling Loud will not return to New York in 2023.” They encouraged fans to attend their Miami event in July (their “biggest, best festival of the year”) or one of their other festivals worldwide. The door isn’t totally closed on The Big Apple; RL says they’ll be back eventually.

What’s The Cure for Ticket Fees?The Cure frontman Robert Smith shared his outrage over Ticketmaster’s fees for his band’s upcoming tour on Twitter. The Cure sold tickets for $20, but after fees, that same ticket became $47.15. Following his public outcry, Ticketmaster agreed the fees were high, refunding verified fans up to $10 and subsequently lowering fees overall. 

Florida Ticket Resale Bill AdvancesFlorida bill SB 388, allowing ticket holders to donate, transfer, or resell their live event tickets, has advanced. The latest version of the bill also states that if a ticket is sold for more than $1 over face value, it must guarantee a full refund if the event is canceled, the ticket isn’t delivered in time, and the purchaser can’t attend the event, or if the purchaser is denied entry to the event; and it must be clearly stated that the original seller is not selling it.

Cvent Acquired by BlackstoneMeetings, events, and hospitality technology company Cvent has agreed to an acquisition deal with Blackstone valuing the company at $4.6 Billion. Cvent went public in 2021 with a $5.3 billion valuation via then-owner Vista. Shareholders will receive $8.50 per share from Blackstone, a 52% premium to the volume-weighted average 90-day share price before January 30th.

Call for Non-Alcoholic Drinks at FestivalsMany festivals are known for their party-like atmosphere, including drinking [copious amounts of] alcohol. In its new blog, but for various reasons, not everyone drinks alcohol, so FestForums is championing the need for festivals and events to have more non-alcoholic options to promote inclusivity. “Regardless of the reason, everyone deserves to have a good time at a festival, and that means having access to non-alcoholic drinks that are just as exciting and delicious as their alcoholic counterparts.” With the burgeoning alcohol-free beverage category, many options exist for audiences of all tastes.

Montreal Festival ScamA fictitious festival in Montreal has sold over $7,000 in tickets. Festival Aurora claimed to have Harry Styles, Doja Cat, SZA, Tyler The Creator, Khalid, Charli XCX, and other superstars performing June 1-3 at the Vieux-Port de Montreal, but a savvy Instagram fan thought it seemed suspicious and did some research. Eventually, the fan learned that the artists were not booked to play at the festival, the venue knew nothing about it, and American Express and Pepsi, its alleged sponsors, were not involved. Fyre 2.1?

AEG to Manage Watford ColosseumEngland’s Watford Colosseum will reopen in 2024 with AEG at the helm. The space is being revived and refurbished to accommodate up to 2,000 standing guests or 1,392 seated guests. The Colosseum will join the over 350 venues owned, operated, and affiliated with AEG.

F1 🤝 MSC Cruises @ Abu Dhabi Grand PrixFormula 1 and MSC Cruises partner to offer fans hospitality packages during the November 23-27 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2023. Fans can book rooms aboard the MSC Virtuosa, which will be docked at the Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal during the race and have access to all the ship’s amenities, trackside activities, and all-inclusive hospitality.

Professor McFarlandWith all of these Fyre Fest wannabes, what’s its infamous creator Billy McFarland up to? Well, he’s “working hard” to earn money to fund his next project -  an AI dating platform, PYRT - by consulting tech entrepreneurs and speaking engagements. In fact, he’s being paid $19,000 to share “unique business insights” with would-be German entrepreneurs. Wonder if the Jungle Dreaming Fest and Festival Aurora teams got a group discount on Billy’s  $1,800/hr consulting fee? 

 Denver Arts and Venues is looking for a Guest Experience Manager to improve and enhance the guest experience. The salary range is $68,905.00 - $113,693.00.

 Insomniac is hiring a seasonal Production Assistant to support its Back of House department in Las Vegas, NV.  The Chicago Bears’ Event Department is hiring part-time Training Camp Event Operations Managers for its 2023 training camp from late July - mid-August in Lake Forest, IL. This is an ideal role for students looking to get into the events and/or sports industries.

How much would you pay for a 1-hour consulting session with Billy McFarland?

Last Week's Results:

have done their taxes.

Headliners, Lineups, and Festival Announcements 

  • Pharrell Williams’ Something in the Water returns to its original home of Virginia Beach, VA, April 28 - 30, featuring Grace Jones, Clipse, Jazmine Sullivan, Mumford & Sons, and of course, Pharrell’s Phriends. 

  • 88rising is partnering with Goldenvoice and The Bowery Presents to bring its signature festival, Head in the Clouds, to Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, NY, May 20 - 21. NIKI, Rich Brian, ITZY, beabadoobee, DPR Live & DPR Ian, MILLI and XG are all on the bill.

  • 3 Days of moe and 3 days of Umphrey’s McGee, plus Willie Nelson & Family, Goose, and more, will take to the stage at this year’s Summer Camp Music Festival, May 26 - 28 in Chillicothe, IL. 

  • Willie Nelson is celebrating his 90th birthday during the Outlaw Music Festival Tour, and he’s bringing some friends, including Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, The Avett Brothers, John Fogerty, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Whiskey Myers, and more, along with him. The tour starts June 23 in Somerset, WI, and ends August 13 in Cincinnati, OH.

  • Laketown Shakedown Music Festival, taking place June 30 - July 2 on Vancouver Island in BC, will include headliners Shaggy, Portugal. The Man and Third Eye Blind. 

  • Live Nation’s latest festival launch, FairWell Festival, will feature Turnpike Troubadours, Zach Bryan, and Willie Nelson & Family, July 21 - 23 at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds near Bend, OR.

  • Pitchfork Music Festival, July 21 - 23 at Union Park in Chicago, IL, announced The Smile (Radiohead’s side project - making its US debut), Big Thief, and Bon Iver as headliners.

  • After being canceled last minute due to weather in 2022, Oceans Calling Festival hopes to finally debut in Ocean City, MD, September 29 - October 1 with John Mayer, The Lumineers, Jack Johnson, Alanis Morissette, and co-founders O.A.R. 

  • Danny Wimmer Presents announced Foo Fighters, Tool, Weezer, Limp Bizkit, and Green Day as headliners for its Louisville, KY rock festival Louder than Life, September 21 - 24.

  • Avenged Sevenfold, Tool, and Korn have been added to the Aftershock Festival lineup, joining previously announced Guns N’ Roses at DWP’s October 5 - 8 fest in Sacramento, CA.

  • Country Bay Music Festival, promoted by Loud and Live, will be headlined by Thomas Rhett and Sam Hunt, November 11 - 12 at Miami Marine Stadium on Key Biscayne, FL.

Already hailed as a must-read by the industry, Touring and Mental Health–The Music Industry Manual, officially drops on Thursday, March 23rd. The book is written by health and performing arts medicine professionals to provide robust clinical advice, cutting edge research, practical strategies and resources. The book will help musicians and those working in live music to identify, process and manage the physical and psychological difficulties that can occur on the road or as a result of touring. Each chapter is underpinned with personal recollections from artists and professionals in the industry. 

This timely and essential book provides robust clinical advice, cutting edge research, practical strategies, resources and detailed illustrations. Editor Tamsin Embleton is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and ex-music industry booker based in London, UK, and working internationally online. She is the founder of the Music Industry Therapist Collective (MITC).

“Artists and crews spend their lives on the road, bringing shows to life for fans around the world. But that dedication can come with sacrifice. It’s critical that we provide support to ensure that everyone can maintain sound mind and body while on the road. Live Nation is proud to join the Music Industry Therapist Collective in providing new resources for mental health and wellness for the behind-the-scenes heroes who make it all happen.” -- Michael Rapino, CEO & President, Live Nation


With so many shows across so many different streaming platforms, it is not easy to know which one to subscribe to (or cancel) and when. Axios has you covered with its Streaming Optimizer.

 Has tipping culture gone too far? Not far enough? Pocket has assembled articles covering all sides of the tipping issue so you can decide for yourself.  So was all the ticketing drama and hype around Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour actually worth it? 

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