An interview with RealMusic Events
Article by: Brandon Castro
Image Credit: Clark Terrell
Seismic Dance Event will be the first independent festival undertaking from RealMusic Events, and it’s got a lineup to compete with the some of the best house music festivals in the country. I sat down with Andrew Parsons and Kelly Gray to discuss everything from the vision of the festival, to the self-sacrificial pain of putting something of this magnitude on.
With their expertise firmly rooted in club events, moving to a festival-sized event meant the opportunity to create something unique. As Kelly put it, “we’ve known that we wanted to work up to being able to do this for years now. Ultimately everything we have done exists because we’re music lovers first and foremost . . . We can’t stop thinking of all the ideas that we have and how we want to produce something for people to enjoy.” The vision of the festival holds true to what RealMusic Events has built a devout following on, “intimate experiences with quality artists and quality production, but with a slightly different spin on it.”
That spin turned out to curating an event with musical direction that Texas has never seen before. While the biggest festivals in the state continue to focus on mainstage EDM and crossover crowds, RealMusic Events chose to stay true to their belief in house music and book across the spectrum. Every style is represented, from Green Velvet’s tech-house bangers to melodic deep-house with Lane 8. In their own words, “we’ve found that our sweet spot has definitely been within the niche of the house music scene.” This lineup will be taken a step further by making sure that the event isn’t solely a stage with music on it, but rather a combination of music and community inspired by events like Dirtybird Campout and Holy Ship. Their target audience, described as “folks that are really big aficionados of dance music but they also like to get weird and vibey and quirky” sound like the kind of people you definitely want to party with. This all ties in with their overall mission of curating an event in line with their vision as promoters. As Andrew put it, “We are going for more boutique kind of feel, not trying to blow it out with ten, twenty thousand people, that isn’t what our vision entails. . . keeping it more intimate is important. “
Even though Seismic will be the first time RealMusic is throwing a new festival by themselves, they earned some crucial experience through producing DirtyBird BBQ and Anjunadeep Open Air earlier this summer. These highly coveted outdoor events were both a major honor and significant undertaking for introductory festival executions within a 3 week time span of one another. Kelly opened her explanation of producing them with a playful “you know when people say they want to teach someone how to swim by just throwing them in the water?” RealMusic was picked to host the event for a reason, and threw two successful events while granting the chance to identify “what what we want to focus on and continue to work towards in our future large scale events.” It was clear they were happy to have gotten the chance to work with top label brands like Anjunadeep and DirtyBird, saying “they turned out great and even more so were both wonderful learning experiences to jumpstart our start in the festival space. It was definitely high intensity and high stress but we’re super grateful that we were able to host those in preparation of Seismic” while Andrew chimed in “it’s like taking a crash course on how to throw a festival, so I’m glad we did that.”
While RealMusic is able to look back fondly on the experience, they also can’t wait to charge forward onto the next endeavor. Working independently means more freedom in how they carefully craft their musical utopia, since they aren’t sharing the direction with an established brand. As Andrew put it, “now that we get to do our own thing and make it our own way, it’s going to be way more rewarding.” Kelly agreed, stating “for Seismic we got to fully curate the lineup together from the ground up. That was really fun and collaborative, and it truly felt like your brainchild – something we didn’t get to do the full extent with the other two.”
While the entire experience is rewarding, that doesn’t mean it is without hardship. It is easy to romanticize the experience of the promoter. After all, you’re throwing the best party in town! That said, throwing that party has shown to take hundreds of hours of planning, and even sacrificing the ability to enjoy the event itself. Andrew described during-event responsibilities as “a whole lot of running around and making sure things are running smoothly” and went on to explain “these larger events are a whole different world for us that we’ve been trying to get to for ten years now and something we put a ton of time and effort into, and we don’t really get to enjoy it. We’re working the whole time making sure everything’s running well, you know?” Hearing this broke my heart, but it is nothing short of admirable that they’re adopting a “man of the people” approach in their event creation.
Aesthetically, Seismic stays true to its name. Kelly explained how Seismic went from a name to a theme, giving birth to a volcano stage and a tsunami stage, the latter of which located at the beloved Carson Creek Amphitheatre. Additionally, a third stage will also be included as a smaller area with a unique atmosphere, and the experts at Art Seen Alliance will be coming on board to help in executing the decoration on the stages.
Andrew and Kelly aren’t cutting any corners in planning Seismic Dance Event, and I have no doubts that we will all understand just how passionate they are when we walk through the gates on September 21st and 22nd.