LouFest 2017: A Behind-The-Scenes Look from the Media Relations Team
2017 marked LouFest’s eighth year in Forest Park, its first year on the Upper Muny Grounds and Festival Plaza, and CGPR’s second year of coordinating all things media. As such, we were prepared for the textbook list of responsibilities that comes with working a music festival – drafted press releases, tracked placements and impressions, handled media credentials, and coordinated media interviews and television segments.
What kept our work exciting throughout the weekend, however, were the unexpected behind-the-scenes shenanigans.
Maggie Hallam, CGPR Account Executive turned LouFest Private Investigator
Credentialing media is a big part of pre-fest management. Giving the media access so they can do their jobs and making their lives easy is important, yet moderating who gets the few most coveted photo passes can require stealth ninja skills. Maggie thwarted many attempts – everything from “the dog ate my application,” to “someone requested the wrong credential for me,” to an outright sticky-finger attempt to swipe a photo pass. Not on Maggie’s watch!
Denise Bentele, CGPR President turned LouFest Firefighter & Air Traffic Control
Meanwhile, back in the media lounge reporters have a quiet space to charge phones, write stories, interview artists, and relax with some water and snacks between performances. Idyllic, really. Until a gust of wind caused a table cloth to shake hands with a candle, starting a small fire. Denise dumped a table over and started stomping – a reporter aided in the dousing and all was well…until a slight buzz was heard overhead a little later. A well-intentioned guest brought a drone. Dear future LouFesters: we have a no drone policy. Let’s keep it that way 🙂
Kelsey Arends, CGPR Assistant Account Executive turned Broadcast Journalist
As our team was scattered across the festival, we stayed connected via two-way radio. Learning walkie lingo is required…here’s a handy guide for those following along at home. Kelsey also stayed glued to her iPhone, at-the-ready for KSDK Channel 5, the exclusive media partner of LouFest which had crews on the grounds all weekend with Kelsey catering to their every need. From tracking down interview subjects for live segments or making sure the crews had dinner, she became so indoctrinated she now greets us with, “Kelsey Arends, 5 On Your Side.”
Colleen Barry, CGPR Account Executive turned LouFest Security
Honoring artists’ requirements for media access and exposure goes with the territory, and while there was excellent security at the festival, Colleen jumped in to support their team in managing media in close proximity to artists. As mentioned above, photo passes and access to photographer-only areas like stage pits are in high demand. Where Maggie left-off in credentialing, Colleen picked-up on the ground keeping an eye out for transgressors and guiding them to less restricted areas.
In the midst of executing our media duties and channeling our alter egos, CGPR had a blast working our second LouFest. From returning attractions such as the Nosh Pit and LouKidz, to new endeavors like LouFest U and the Hail! Hail! Chuck Berry! tribute, LouFest 2017 was a great success, catering to 60,000 festival-goers throughout the weekend. We even found time to enjoy a frozen drink from Narwhal’s and meet the famous Jake Jagielski from One Tree Hill (a.k.a. STL native and singer-songwriter Bryan Greenberg) – all while securing over 6 billion media impressions for our client.
As PR pros, it’s in our nature to take on the unexpected, and it’s safe to say that we can’t wait to see what LouFest 2018 brings out of our team! Roger that.