I started writing this months ago…
My life has changed a lot since packing everything I owned in my sedan and moving across the country from Colorado to California on October 27, 2018. Since my move, my focus has completely shifted from a deep focus on my social life going to events, concerts, and parties pretty much 24/7 to dolphin diving deeper into what I believe is my SOUL WORK. I have found myself starting to seriously ask myself the question – WHAT IS IT THAT MY SOUL WANTS ME TO DO WITH THIS LIFE??
Why is it that I have spent YEARS of my life promoting shows? What about me has learned to accept this #ProductionBabe life of richly rewarding experience yet very little pay? The truth? After careful contemplation, it seems the foundation and mission of my business needs to be revisited, rewritten, and reborn. I suppose this is “natural” for someone who is 26 and only 7 months in to being “fully self-employed”. All the cards say that self-employment is my magic path. Yet I will admit, sometimes the thought of a “normal job” with health benefits, a 401K, and other ruby red perks seems tempting.
I really never thought about or “planned” to become a digital concert marketer or event promoter. I am just a live music lover, a born and raised #Austin girl who ended up in the right place at the right time. As a freshman in College I started my journey in the streets of Denver in 2011 when #Colorado was on the brink of marijuana legalization and about to “blow up” as the “electronic music capitol of the world”. I started out as a street team member for AEG Live Rocky Mountains, promoting Avicii shows and other huge EDM names like Bassnectar. As my work ethic, network, and passion for live music and EDM grew, so did my opportunities to promote and work with music industry organizations like Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom, ARISE Music Festival, SONIC BLOOM, Bus To Show, The Black Box and several others.
While I LOVED working and living in Colorado I had something of a “spiritual awakening” after my house burned down on 2/6/16. Ever since, I have been more focused on rebuilding and redesigning my life for maximum balance and harmony. Harmony with spirit, harmony with the earth, and most importantly harmony with myself. This refocus of my energy and intention guided me to ALOHA Kaua’i YOGA & PEACE Festival in Kauai, HI. Through this event I met a group of special people that have changed my life completely. One of them, connected me to my last job working with the producer of Mayan Heart Festival.
Mayan Heart Festival was a beautiful concept and well intentioned by the original lead producer. When I first met the team I got that little inner “ding” that let me know I was in the right place for the right reasons. I started working on the event the week I moved to California. It was the first week in November 2018 and I was initially committing about 20+ hours a week to the festival. The amount of work to be done between November 1st and the first day of the festival December 20th was enormous. The scope of the job spanned across every different aspect of my experience in events production. There was also a lot of aspects of the festival I was never talked to about or ever “questioned” as I was lead to believe by the producer verbally and energetically that “everything was taken care of”. While I noticed some “red flags” about what was happening with the core production team and lead producer right away, I decided to continue anyway. I felt inspired to help accomplish the “mission” no matter what. I had also just moved across the country and really needed the job/paycheck and loved the overall concept for the event. The lineup and marketing materials made the festival “look” really good.
Unfortunately, the reality of what Mayan Heart Festival advertised and what was actually produced and presented were worlds apart. This effected almost every aspect of the events production and significantly challenged our tiny team of unprepared staff in many different ways. Without getting into the details about what exactly went “wrong” I will say just a few words about my own personal experience.
One of the major challenges of this experience was that I was very clearly discriminated against for not speaking Spanish. A deep ancestral wound that dates back generations considering my grandmother was born in San Jose, Costa Rica and grew up speaking Spanish. When she immigrated to America she was forbidden from speaking Spanish due to discrimination in the public school she was attending. I have always wished I could speak Spanish and despite many classes and opportunities to learn, it just hasn’t ever fully “clicked” for me. When I confronted the producer about why he had hired a only Spanish speaking box office ticketing company for the Mayan Heart, which had primarily Americans and English only speaking attendees, he said something to the effect of “IT IS YOUR FAULT FOR NOT SPEAKING SPANISH”. As you could imagine, this took the wind out of my sails and caused me to loose a lot of respect for him.
Instead of following my initial gut reaction to quit working completely in that moment I continued to work hard and help the event in anyway I could. I clearly communicated this “burn” to him and let him know how I felt about what he said in hopes that it would help me feel better to get it off my chest, but I still felt sick about it.
For the 1st time in my career working events I was stiffed to the tune of just under $5,000. The producer did not pay me for any of the time I spent working to produce the festival on-site starting on December 13th a full week prior the the festival start. He also failed to pay my fathers company approximately $3500 for the merchandise that he purchased through me and sold at the event. Causing a riff not only between myself and the production but also between my father and I. The raw cost of the merchandise was taken directly out of my Dad’s paycheck and set him back financially in a major way. To put this in more perspective: my dad has been helping me with merchandise like t-shirts and stickers for my projects since I was on the swim team at 8 years old. To my knowledge we have never be ripped off like this before.
Additionally, I was not fully paid for the 17 tickets I sold through the festival affiliate program. I was also blatantly lied to and lead to believe that the festival had an investor to pay the artists they booked, this was obviously not true. I have inside information that many of the artists still have also yet to be paid. I do not and cannot support stealing and blatant false advertising/lies. I also do not support the concept of someone selling tickets to another “purification” event when they haven’t paid for the 1st event they produced. I am not sure if “purification” event even ever happened as I wasn’t invited to help or work on the event at the event in any capacity.
Believe it or not, this blog post isn’t about bashing a project I put a lot of time, energy, and heart into. This blog post is to celebrate and say I have fully recovered emotionally from the deep depression that this painful experience sent me spiraling into.
The point of this post is to say A BIG THANK YOU for the countless hours of love and support I received from THE AMAZING TEAM OF PEOPLE WHO I MET AT THE EVENT who continued to work hard despite many intense psychological, physical, and emotional “tests” of faith.
I have chosen to leave names out of this post but I feel the people who this thank you is directed to will know in their hearts.
I bow at your feet humbled and grateful for the love and support you showed me in this challenging transformational experience.
The result of this experience sent me thinking about “quitting” the music industry and getting a “real job” very seriously. After talking to several friends who work in events production and hearing stories of similar things happening in other productions, I had the heart to finally let it go. I have fully accepted now that in life and in business we sometimes experience “failures” as part of the process. I prefer not to think Mayan Heart as a failure, a financial failure maybe, but I have chosen to think of it more like that quote, “either you win or you learn”, this experience I learned a lot from. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn, for the connections I made, and for all of the experiences I had that ultimately made me a stronger person.
I am excited so say we are coming up on the next event I have been helping to promote called Portal to the New Earth gathering in Joshua Tree, CA! I am SO EXCITED to be heading to that May 3-5th.
Limited Tickets are available and I would LOVE to see you there!
Such abundant gratitude today to you for reading this!
Live in BLISS, LOVE, AND TRUTH,