When Jonathan Mayers started interning at Jazzfest he didn’t exactly know he would one day helm a company responsible for putting on some of the biggest and best music festivals in the United States. But that is exactly what happened.
While living in New Orleans, in addition to interning he was booking a club called Tipitina’s where he met Rick Farman and through him Kerry Black. The three of them started thinking about doing their own events and Mayers brought in Richard Goodstone, a friend from high school who moved down to New Orleans. And Superfly was born.
They started with concerts and concert series around special events like Jazzfest and Mardi Gras. The four focused on creating unique one off events, “thinking about it almost like an art project,” as Mayers told Business Insider, putting extra effort into getting cool art for the posters and creating engaging environments at the concerts.
With their expertise growing the four decided to launch Bonnaroo in 2002 and it quickly blossomed into one of the premier summer festivals. As that event has grown over the years the group has added more festival and more staff.
The 4-man team has grown to around 60 full time employees in offices in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. And on top of festivals the company also creates special events for brands and companies and they’ve also moved into artist management.
To stay grounded and continue the fun, family feel they started with, Superfly has created an open and relaxed office environment. This keeps it easy for people to work together and collaborate and come up with the new and exciting ideas that keep their events fresh.The occasional late night karaoke session helps too.
But at the end it is about the music and show and when we stopped by their office they were gearing up for this year’s the Great Googa Mooga which will take over Prospect Park on May 17-18.
A souvenir from last year's Great Googa Mooga, a fun way to kill time if you have to wait in the waiting area.
Kacee Womack is an intern with Superfly working on booking and programming. She saw Chris Sampson, general manager for music programming, give a talk at her school and she thought it sounded like a cool place to work. One thing led to another and...
And here is Chris Sampson at work in one of the company's small meeting rooms. As general manager for music programming Sampson is the man responsible for selecting the artists at Superfly's festivals. For Googa Mooga the idea is a New York focus but also an eclectic and fun mix of music that will appeal to the wide ranging music tastes of attendees.
And here is the length of the office. An open working space is an important part of creating the company's work culture which stresses collaboration and creativity.
Superfly is probably best known for Bonnaroo, the massive 3-day music festival in Tennessee that they started in 2002. This aerial photo by Doug Mason is from the first Bonnaroo.
And then we realised it was because the man in the picture looked remarkably similar to Neal Cohen...in fact it is him! Cohen handles Social Media for Superfly and spends a lot of time at festivals and shows...he was heading out of the office to Jazzfest.
Next to the office are som props from Weird Al Yankovich's Bonnaroo 2013 Line Up Announcement extravaganza.
The company got their name from a 1972 film and they were lucky enough to get their hands on one of the film's early posters.
Howie Caspe is the general manager for original programming at Superfly. This means he oversee all the video initiatives that the company does and helps them develop their media assets and properties. This includes gathering content at festivals that can rolled out year round to keep fans engaged - like behind the scenes footage from festivals or special private recording sessions that they do at some of their events.
And as we made our way out we caught co-founder Richard Goodstone at work. He heads up the Superfly Marketing Group and does a lot of work on building their non-festival businesses which include special event production and artist management.
And the walls are lined with iconic photos taken by Danny Clinch, reminding us of the exciting festivals coming up this summer.
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