I am going to try to recreate this the best I can.
My story is about a complete flop of a festival called Desiderata Music Festival at the Gelston Castle Estate. It was in 2009. This was one of the best, worst, most amazing, eye-opening experiences of my life. I had been dabbling as a DJ, playing at Club W…. Nothing serious….. I met DJs there from the WNY area I have since become friends with. Honestly, I forgot I had seen them there until I look at the flyer to reminisce.
So, in my early 20s and all I wanted to do was f$%^ party. I had attended the Great Blue Heron Music Festival but I had not been to an electronic music festival before. Not like this one… So I reached out to the group throwing the festival who were based in NYC. I told them I would do whatever promotion in Buffalo they needed in exchange for a ticket to the festival. I began talking with a man on Facebook with an exotic name, one you don’t hear everyday. I don’t remember the name exactly but we began talking about the festival and what it took to make it happen. He informed me of a bunch of problems they are having with the venue.
One day, I get a frantic message on Facebook from him about the venue. The venue is now unavailable…. BUT they found a new one: the Gelston Castle Estate. There were now many issues to overcome, especially getting the word out that the venue had changed. The Crystal Method and Infected Mushroom were headlining this party, so people from all over the world were planing to be in attendance. At the time, I wasn’t very savvy with social media. I told him I would do what I could. I then went into explaining what I did for a living.
At the time, I was co-owner of Loyalty Detail Inc. We were a mobile automotive detailing service–we had a truck and a trailer with on-site detail. I had access to power generators, power washers, and a trailer that housed 100 gallons of water (which is a lot…). I told him I have all this stuff I could get down on site to help with the logistics. He ended up telling me to bring everything except the power washers, in exchange for entry and food for 3 guests and I.
This later turned into only one guest and I as I found out the other guys weren’t into the idea of giving away any free tickets with the cycle of problems they were having. I had already made it onto the guest list but I wanted to help more. I didn’t have to offer my corporation’s help. We were a small growing business with A LOT to lose but I put it all on the line. I had to do something. In my heart, I knew I had to do this for these people. It was in this moment that I realized that I loved the music business. Planning, Problem solving… Work. Anything to do with making the party happen… I wanted to help.
Now we are only a few days away from the event. My friend Pauly was coming along, and he parties harder than you or anyone else you know.
I am driving my truck to one of my customer’s houses and I hear a POP! Get the unit on site, do the job, pack up, leave. My partner needed the truck so he took it and left the trailer at my house. I get a call from my partner. “Hey man, did the truck make any noises or vibrate on the right side?” “Yeah, I think it made a pop noise.” “Yeah, well, you’re lucky you’re alive…. This truck ain’t going to no music festival bud….” Now, my business partner was not too keen on the idea of using all this stuff at the festival as it was… I don’t blame him.
Now, as a more mature adult (at least I think I am LOL) I wouldn’t be ok with it either. NOT in the least bit, but he let it slide…. just this once. The truck could have possibly been fixed in time but he wasn’t having it. So what do I do? Tell my girlfriend I’m taking her Acura TL type S…. Disassemble my $10,000 detail trailer, STUFF what I could fit in that sedan, put it in drive, go, and prayed to god that they didn’t have a problem with me showing up with only half of the stuff I said I would bring.
I said that I was going to bring the water tank on the trailer (which later on we could have used to put out a fire…), 3 power generators of various sizes, and 2 laser machines. I had enough room to squeeze in my biggest power generator and the lasers, as well as my camping supplies. I threw a bag of change into the glove box just in case. I WAS GOOD. I knew I had to help. In my young mind they were going to turn me back and spit in my eye for only bringing what I could fit in my poor girlfriends car, whom I was leaving at home….. I didn’t have to do any of this. But I did…. I had to.
When I arrived, I try to find my contact who had gotten me on the guest list…. Can’t find him anywhere. No one has any clue who I am or what I am doing in this car with all these odd items in it. There are guys talking in a language I believe to be Russian. Finally, the guy shows up and argues with these guys. The one bald dude is staring at me like he is going to find my tent and kill me quietly in my sleep. Then the guy I “know” asks me what I wanted… I said “dude… I’m mike, I own that detail company ca….” he cuts me off and says “OHHHH ITS YOU!!!!” hugs me, tells the guys in Russian what I think is “its THAT guy!”…. They all go “OH, ITS YOU! HEY MAN!” They asked, “Where is that trailer?” I squeezed out the best explanation I could. I finished it with “… but i brought my best generator (which they DESPERATELY NEEDED) and the lasers your lighting guy was interested in.” Then I told them the bull shit I had gone through to get it all there including pissing off my girlfriend and leaving her car-less. They were all really nice and accommodating after that. Except for the bald guy. He was not amused, and to this day I cannot tell you why.
I got home safe, to a pissed off girl friend…. pissed off family…. and pissed off business partner…. I had to piece my life back together with band aids but it all worked out. Now looking back would I change anything? No. I learned so much… I learned a lot about myself! I learned that I wanted to be a part of the music business. I learned that I like to problem solve, and any problem CAN be solved. I learned about how to deal with people in that industry. I learned that sometimes there are opportunities you have to just CREATE, they aren’t just laid out in front of you. You have to MAKE it happen. Anything is possible, you just have to apply yourself. All of these lessons, and there are more that could probably be listed…. have made me who I am today.
I’ve taken SGM way further than I thought I was going to, and it has been an amazing experience. This festival made me who I am today. A fearless, problem solving, caring, loving, experienced, asshole. This festival is a part of me.