Three-Day Breakaway Columbus Announces Migos, Halsey, Odesza; Promoters Primed For Growth
Breakaway Music Festival has expanded its flagship Columbus event to three days and announced a lineup topped by Migos, Kaskade, Odesza, Khalid, Halsey, Quinn XCII, and Jaden Smith for Mapfre Stadium Aug. 24-26.
The event runs alongside Breakaway Grand Rapids, which two days Aug. 24-25 on the fields of Belknap Park with a similar lineup, topped by Odesza, Khalid, Borgeous, and includes recent WME signing Kayzo and up and coming rapper Maxo Kream.
Breakaway producer Prime Social Group is expanding quickly, with about 16 different festival events taking place in 2018 as either Breakaway, Prime, Haunted Fest, and #Fest brands. Most are in Major League Soccer stadiums with capacities capped between 10,000 and 15,000 per day.
Adam and Zach counted Avicii as a close friend.
Adam and Zach counted Avicii as a close friend.
“Really the difference is the types of markets they’re in,” Prime Social Group managing partner Adam Lynn told Pollstar, explaining that Prime Music Festivals are specifically hitting college markets whereas Breakaway hits secondary markets that happen to also have colleges.
“Our model is really bringing these festival events to underserved markets, whether it’s college towns or secondary markets that are just not getting these types of shows,” Lynn added.
Other artists on the just-announced Columbus Breakaway this year include Blackbear, Flosstradamus, Gryffin, Chris Lake, Drezo, Phantoms, Jack Harlow, Yung Pinch, Ekali, Grey, Rich the Kid, Kayzo, GG Magree, Nessley, London on Da Track, Shoreline Mafia, Anders, Loud Luxury, YBN Nahmir, Flatbush Zombies, London Richards, Charlotte Lawrence, Blaise Moore, and Yung Bans.
While the lineups are similar in both genre and artist across both Prime and Breakaway lineups, with mainly electronic and hip-hop artists, there are some differences.
“On the Prime festivals you sometimes see some more of the rising and the up and comers and developmental artists, whereas on the Breakaways we have a little larger talent budget so we can get a little more established and larger acts, given that the markets are bigger and the ticket prices are slightly more expensive,” PSG managing partner Zach Ruben added.
Prime Music Festival, now in its second year, is staging in Lansing, Mich., Sept 14-15 at Adado Riverfront Park and Sept. 14-15 in Urbana, Ill, at the Champaign County Fairgrounds.
Ruben and Lynn got their start in college and, although at different schools, they competed for college dates that were hitting the Midwest. They also together booked a Steve Aoki college tour in 2010.
“We learned a lot (from the Aoki tour), and Zach asked me to move to Columbus, which was really hard for me as an Ann Arbor, University of Michigan, grad, Lynn said. ”So one long weekend turned into seven years in Columbus.” Lynn’s company at the time was called Social Studies while Ruben ran Prime Productions, leading to the current name.
Joking that they’re the biggest concert promoters no one has heard of, being based in Columbus, PSG has found a niche putting in the work developing underserved markets.
Breakaway started in 2013 with events in Columbus and Dallas, but took a break after “we learned our lesson as first-time festival promoters, we went a little too big and stretched too thin,” Lynn said, with Ruben adding that maybe it wasn’t the right venue. Last year’s Breakaway Columbus was headlined by Chance The Rapper and RL Grime over two days, with a strong bill that also included Lil Uzi Vert, Rae Sremmurd, Dillon Francis, Young Thug and Ty Dolla $ign among others.
Now with multiple brands and a strong reputation, they have some added leverage when booking talent.
“Since we’re not just a one-off festival, we can buy in a similar to manner to how Live Nation or AEG do, with almost bulk festival buying,” Lynn said. “Because as you know, and we know, artists are getting paid more to do a festival event than a hard-ticket show.
“It is frustrating, because our average ticket price per day is $50, but we’re selling to college students. The difference between a $40 and $50 ticket to someone who is saving beer money is huge.
“That’s where we get stuck a little. We can’t raise our ticket price, as the cost of talent goes up and up and up. We just create a brand, a good experience and the kids keep coming back.”
Ruben and Lynn say they’ve put on more than 900 concerts and have gone international with the Abroadfest in Barcelona.
The growth and platform has led to the team taking on artists for management as well.
“We have such a unique live platform to build artists – and we have a really good eye for talent, having The Chainsmokers and Chance The Rapper when they were nobodies, Kygo’s first show in Colorado – so we’re finally trying to grab a couple of these acts so when they blow up we don’t have to pay a Chance The Rapper his massive quote now, and if we do, we can be on the inner side of that,” Lynn said.
Lynn added that they’ve signed two acts as management clients –- one called Harley Boys from South Carolina and the other called Emogee, a DJ duo that PSG says is sitting on tons of hit material.
“We’re not slowing down anytime soon in terms of adding outside of the business,” Lynn said. “There’s going to be more and more opportunities to get our own clients out nationally.”
They’re also opening a new office in Nashville focused on sponsorships, with two staff focused on the Breakaway Nashville festival project and another on management.
For 2019, they’re announcing three new festivals, including one that will be in San Francisco, “the first crypto-currency, decentralized music festival,” according to Lynn, taking the PSG festival total to just under 20.